Eleven years ago, when I was a corps member, I made a number of bosom friends who are still in my life today. They bring me such joy, comfort and inspiration, I just know we didn’t meet by accident. Maintaining those friendships after service year has enhanced our lives in many ways.
It so happens that one of my friends had met a guy in camp, and they started dating. I did not like this guy. I felt she was dating beneath her in more ways than one. He wasn’t as well-spoken, wasn’t as spiritually conscious, wasn’t as good looking, wasn’t as anything as she was. I couldn’t see what value he was adding to her life besides washing her underwear and showing her a whole new world in bed. She was crazy about him, however, so I kept my opinion to myself. Even when he tried to seduce me (just imagine this character!) I never said a word to her.
A few years down the line he showed his true colours, and the relationship ended. Less than a year after they broke up, she met someone new, they fell in love and got married.
I used to wonder if perhaps I should have told her that I didn’t like that guy, but now I don’t think about it as much. I’m finally at peace with the choice I made.
If a close friend is dating someone you don’t like, and you tell them how you feel, things are likely to go thus:
1. The friendship will be strained, however slightly. At the worst, she may feel like she has to choose, and you can be sure she won’t choose you.
2. She’ll wonder about your perception of her decision-making capabilities. Her choice of partner is one of the most important ones in her life. If you think she chose poorly here, what does that say of her as a person?
3. She will find out he’s no good eventually, but even if you’re still friends you won’t be the shoulder she’ll seek because nobody wants to hear “I told you so” or see it in your eyes though you don’t say it. So at a time when she really needs you, you won’t be able to be there for her.
If you don’t tell her, however, it may play out thus:
1. You will expend quite some effort as you decide to grit your teeth and bear her going on and on about him, and even more effort seeking out something nice to say about him since you can’t just be quiet, but your friendship will be preserved.
2. She’ll feel free to share her heart and life with you, just as you do with her, since she’ll harbour no sense of being judged, and so you can actually enrich each other’s lives in other ways without letting the guy become a hindrance.
3. When she eventually finds out he’s no good, there’ll be no feeling of “you were right and I was wrong” preventing her from seeking you out in her time of need. You’ll be right there doing what friends do; helping her pick up the pieces.
One more thing that could happen, of course, is that unlike in my case, it turns out you’re totally wrong about this guy; he actually makes her so happy they end up together forever. It may not seem likely to you, but it’s a good idea to leave room for this possibility. It’s called the benefit of the doubt.