How To Love Someone Without Supporting Their Problematic Behavior
In the age of cancel culture and calling out people, places, and things that are deemed problematic, you may find yourself in the tricky predicament of deciding how to navigate these issues when they involve your loved ones.
We don’t believe you have to completely cancel someone you love just because they currently (or previously) exhibit problematic behavior. However, what should do is find ways to still love them without also co-signing, excusing or ignoring their problematic tendencies. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of ways to still show that special person in your life love, even if their behavior is sometimes cringe-worthy.
Call Out Their Behavior
Make no mistake, problematic behavior deserves to (and should be) called out, regardless of your relationship to the person responsible for it. So, don’t hesitate to call out behavior that you feel is problematic.
Voicing your opinion in this way lets the offender know your stance on the issue at hand, while also making it clear what you will and won’t tolerate in your life–even if it’s from someone you love dearly.
Attempt To Educate Instead Of Belittle
As the old saying goes, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” After you’ve called out your loved one’s problematic behavior, use it as an opportunity to educate them instead of belittling them.
Maybe they don’t understand what about their behavior is problematic or why you called it out. If this is the case, calmly explain to them why you took issue with it and open up the floor for a mature discussion. Who knows, you may be able to make them see things from your point of view.
Focus On Their Good Qualities
Everyone has good qualities and bad ones. When you have someone in your life who has problematic behavior, it’s important to focus on the good things about them so you don’t become solely wrapped up in what you take issue with.
It’s totally understandable if it’s difficult to do this in the beginning because you’re so riled up about their behavior. However, once you take a deep breath it will be easier to remember why you love them in the first place.
Understand The Importance Of Differing Viewpoints
Differences make the world go ’round and make each one of us unique, so differing viewpoints should also be welcomed no matter how far apart they are on the spectrum.
Also, remember that making room for a differing viewpoint doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with problematic behavior. It just means that you are mature enough to understand everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Avoid Certain Topics
This is a simple way to ensure that no heated arguments, intense debates or hurtful encounters occur. If you want to keep the peace between yourself and your problematic loved one, just avoid certain triggering topics.
If politics, race, religion and/or sexuality are known to rile them up and produce the same problematic behavior you’re trying to distance yourself from, then avoid those topics completely.
Don’t Make Them Feel Like The Enemy
When someone feels like the enemy or that people they love are against them, it can cause them to act and lead with even more problematic behavior.
Instead of doing this, make it clear that your loved one is not your enemy despite you disagreeing with the problematic behavior. Make them continue to feel loved and respected.
Keep It Simple
You don’t have to brace yourself for a verbal battle every time you’re around your problematic loved one.
It’s perfectly fine to keep the time you spend together as simple as possible. Dance, laugh, play games, etc., just enjoy each other’s company as much as you can by keeping the atmosphere light and conflict-free.
Remind Them You Care Despite Your Differences
If you’ve had intense arguments with your loved one regarding their problematic behavior, they may feel like you no longer care about them. It’s important for you to assure them that’s not the case.
Call them up and offer words of encouragement if they’re going through a bad time, spend some quality time with them having fun and verbalize exactly how much you care, so there’s no confusion.
Recognize You May Have To Love From A Distance
If your loved one’s problematic behavior is just too much for you to handle, you may have to come to grips with the fact you have to love them from afar.
Loving from a distance means that while you’re always there if they need you and you still love them, you’ve decided to limit the amount of time you actually spend together. Choosing this road could actually be the saving grace of your relationship.
Always Remember, You Don’t Have To Like Them To Love Them
At some point, all of us have been faced with the fact that while we love certain loved ones…we don’t necessarily like them.
On the surface it may seem a bit harsh, but it’s actually just honestly understanding your feelings. The best thing about understanding this, is that you can adequately show love to your problematic loved one without feeling conflicted about their behavior.