How to Confront Your Friend About Her Unhealthy Relationship

Talk to your friend about an unhealthy relationship.
... Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

If you're sick of seeing your BFF cry over her boyfriend’s thoughtless, cheating or abusive ways, confronting her about the relationship is a must. Don't sit back and allow your friend to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Take steps to speak with her about her situation and make her understand that it is essential for her to get out.

1 Careful Clarification

The first step to confronting your friend about her possibly ill-fated relationship is to open the lines of communication. Let your friend clarify the issues. Instead of putting words in her mouth or pointing fingers, ask her what she thinks is going wrong. For example, instead of saying, "John's just going to end up making you feel bad about yourself if you don't leave him," try, "How do you see your future with John going?" Pointing out the issues can have more impact than telling her what's wrong, according to psychologist Jonathan Fader in the article "Rotten Valentine? How to Help a Friend in a 'Bad' Relationship" on the Psychology Today website.

2 Confrontation without Criticism

Similarly, avoid criticism or judgment, Fader suggests. Instead of criticizing your friend’s relationship decisions, approach her in a supportive and sensitive way. Don't say, “Your boyfriend is a jerk and you are blind if you don't see it.” Instead, try something softer: “I’ve noticed that John isn’t kind to you when we all hang out. Can we talk about what’s going on?”

3 Just the Facts Ma’am

Drop the hearsay and ignore the rumor mill when confronting your friend about her relationship. If you’ve actually witnessed her boyfriend’s bad behaviors, speak up. But if you’ve heard about it second-hand, take a step back. For example, if another friend says that she heard a rumor that your BFF's guy is scheming to cheat, don't consider it true. Confronting your friend about a “fact” that isn’t really true may make her lose trust in you.

4 Getting Serious

If you’re seeing signs that your friend is in abusive relationship, confront her immediately. Signs of physical abuse include bruises or other unexplained injuries. Signs of emotional abuse include humiliation or acting in a controlling manner, according to the article "Abusive Relationships," on the TeensHealth website. It is common for victims of abuse to feel scared to tell someone about the situation. Approach her in a caring manner. Suggest that she get professional help. Give her information on a mental health or abuse line for expert advice. Find an adult, mental health professional or school counselor who can help.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.