Help! My best friend is engaged to a jerk. What should I do?
We have received several emails in the last few weeks from women who have terrible concerns about their friends' boyfriends and fiances. They ask questions like, "How can I talk to my best friend about this guy who I feel is completely wrong for her?" We agree that this one is a slippery slope. Most of the advice you will find online suggests that people "mind their own business!" We, however, disagree. Here are some suggestions if you have a friend who might be headed down the aisle with the wrong guy:
1. Many women we spoke to said that they wished their friends and family members had discussed their concerns with them before they walked down the aisle. Often times it came out during a bitter divorce, just how many people close to them doubted the relationship from the beginning.
2. You know your friend best. You might talk to her til you are blue in the face and she still might not hear you. She may even end her friendship with you. But if you sit down with her and share your concerns in a way that does not come across as judgmental, you might also give her permission to finally face the truth-he's not the right one. Saying things to her such as, "I feel so uncomfortable when he puts you down and calls you names." "I really worry about how isolated you have become since you got engaged to him." She is much less likely to become defensive with this approach than say if you tell her what a loser you think he is. In therapy we call this making "I" statements and it is a wonderful tool to use in communicating with others.
3. If your friend has shared her own feelings of doubt, by all means encourage her to find a way to explore those feelings more.
4. Make sure she knows that she can call in the troops if she is serious about canceling her wedding. Get all of your friends together and take over the responsibility of canceling the details of the wedding, so she can focus on canceling the relationship. Many brides who went through with a wedding they knew was a mistake told us that it was too overwhelming to even think about handling the caterer, the florist, the band, etc. There is often too much shame and it is too difficult to ask for help. So don't wait for her to ask.
5. We know of one bride who recently called off her wedding and is making lemonade out of lemons. On the day she was supposed to get married, she has planned a girls day out at the wineries to celebrate. All of her friends will be there to support her decision to not marry the wrong guy. What a smart woman!