Make It Stop: “My BFF’s New Boyfriend Is Kind Of A Loser”
My good friend “Betty” broke-up with her long-term boyfriend for a new guy who is … kind of icky. Since they started dating, she’s drinking more and smoking pot almost daily. I’m worried about her, but I don’t want to act like her mom either. She’s really into this guy but I just don’t see the appeal and feel weird hanging out with her when he is around. It doesn’t help that because of my job, I have to avoid illegal activity. She and I have been friends for a long time. What should I should do?
It’s understandable you’re concerned. No one likes seeing their bestie blaze up with a wastoid. What a drag.
The hope is Betty’s relationship proves to be short-lived. The hope is she realizes that her behavior has swung too far in one direction and needs to circle back to a more moderate lifestyle. The hope is her new dude is an unfortunate rebound you two will be cackling about in the near future over chips and guac.
You: Remember when you dated that low-budget Snoop Dog? What was his name? Brian?
Her: Oh my god, what was I even thinking?
You: I don’t know, dude. But you were under his spell for a hot minute.
Her: You know what it was? He was always down to watch those bullshit reality shows on Bravo. That was his one redeeming quality. Should we get another round of margs?
You: Yes! Most definitely.
The good news is that you have an angle: lead with your concerns about your job. That’s a legitimate issue that doesn’t pass judgment on her behavior. Say that while you enjoy spending time with her, her activities make you vulnerable at work. See what she says.
While his habits are annoying, they’re not entirely uncommon for young adults. In the meantime, try to be a support system as much as you can stand. Lots of women don’t enjoy hanging out with their friends’ significant others. It’s fairly common. You can either make the best of it or try to schedule one-on-one time with her. If you know that nighttime hangs with her leads to drinking and smoking, steer your meetups to more G-rated activities. Go to the movies, have a picnic in the park, or meet up for coffee. Stay away from bars or nightclubs.
If you want to check in with your friend to make sure her partying isn’t a symptom of a larger problem, say something like, “You’ve been rollin’ pretty hard lately. Everything okay?” And just see what she says. You aren’t judging her behavior; you’re just noticing and checking in.
Also, this is a good opportunity to reach out to your B-team of friends and make an effort to align yourself with people who enhance your life. You don’t have to sever the friendship with Betty, just take a baby step back and widen your circle.
The last thing to keep in mind is that people go through phases. Maybe Betty is a party-hard phase. Usually with a bit of time, they tend to settle down. Keep being a friend to her and see where the pieces land. You can’t do anything about her dud boyfriend, but you can maintain a thoughtful distance so when she comes to her senses and kicks him to the curb, you’ll be there to happily resume the friendship.
Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected]