As a rule, I don’t negatively comment on my friend’s significant others. Regardless of my personal feelings about him, if she’s happy then I’m happy for her and if she’s pissed then I’ll commiserate. If she wants revenge, I’ll Google tips and if she wants to marry him I’ll be a bridesmaid.
I haven’t always been this way. I used to tell my friends exactly what I thought of their boyfriends – good or bad. Although I couldn’t seem to make a good decision in the love department, I was quick to offer my advice if I thought a friend was making a poor one.
This, I learned the hard way, can be disastrous. For one, badmouthing a friend’s boyfriend when she likes him doesn’t make sense. So what if I think he’s ugly, ignorant, too short, too scrawny, too nice, too impatient, or generally not good enough for her? I’m not the one who’s dating him. I don’t determine what it is she should value in a man. If she asks my advice on one situation, like what to get him for Christmas, that isn’t my opportunity to volunteer: “A set of encyclopedias because he’s an idiot.”
Even badmouthing a friend’s ex-boyfriend after they breakup can be dangerous. The rate of reconciliation is incredibly high the days and weeks following a split. If I’ve spent the last few weeks talking about how she dodged a bullet cause he looked more like Katt Williams than Morris Chestnut anyway then what happens when they get back together? She’ll know I thought he had the personality of a doorknob and our friendship will probably suffer for it. The best thing to do is to just not say anything negative about him until she’s clearly moved on (if at all).
Sometimes we don’t do the best thing though. Sometimes, we tell our friend when we think her boyfriend is buffoon. We tell her that she’s making a mistake by dating him (or marrying him!) and that she could and should do better. In those instances, the friendship might fall apart. It’s a rare female that chooses her friends over her boyfriend.
But what happens when your friendship crumbles then she ends up dumping her shoddy boyfriend (or fiancé, or husband)? When the entire reason you fell out was because of your ill feelings toward him does that mean the friendship is back on? Not necessarily. However, if you’re interested in saving that friendship there are some things you can do.
- Reach out to her – Gauge when is the right time then make a concerted effort to reach out. True, you may not want to show up at her house unannounced with Ben & Jerry’s and romantic comedies on DVD, but a simple phone call to say “hello” can be enough to at least crack the ice.
- Make amends – Accept responsibility for the part you played in the demise of the friendship and express sincere interest in reconciling.
- Resist the urge to say “I told you so” – It can vindicating to know that you warned her about him before he turned out to be exactly who you said he was. Still, don’t bother reminding her you told her so. You both already know that and if you’re truly interested in salvaging a friendship then you shouldn’t be rubbing salt in a wound.
- Understand being right about this guy doesn’t make you right about every guy – Giving someone good advice in one instance doesn’t make you her life coach.
- Let go of the past – As far as it depends on you, refuse to rehash what went wrong in the friendship before. Focus on moving past that. If you have to look back, look back at the good times before the falling out to remember why you were friends in the first place.
So many things are said and done to destroy even the most solid of friendships. As a result, it can feel like there is no way to get back to where you were. That’s because there isn’t. We can never go back in time and continue on as if nothing changed. We can however use what’s changed to build something even stronger. And, in the future, we can take care to keep our friendship about our friendship and not allow our opinion of each other’s relationship to destroy that.
Have you ever fallen out with a friend because of who she was dating? Did you reconcile?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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