What do you do when your friends’ relationship is in danger? This has been a problem plaguing friends-as-couples since the beginning of time – with no exaggeration – and it’s easy to see why. After all, when both members of a couple are your friends, it introduces a whole new level of complexity to the situation. Consider the problems that can arise when two of your friends look like they may be splitting up:
· Feeling like you have to pick sides. Males will sometimes be tempted to side with the guy in honor of the “bro code,” but that’s not enough. Sometimes, you’re simply more loyal to one friend over the other because of the history you have together. Picking sides makes you feel like you have to alienate one person – and if you don’t pick sides, then you risk alienating them both. Yikes.
· Offering unsolicited advice can make you seem nosy. You want to help your friends stay together, sure, but butting in on their business can just make you seem like you don’t have a life of your own to worry about.
So how do you know when your friends’ relationship is in real danger, and what should you do about it when this is the case? Keep reading and you just may find out.
Outside Perspective: The Warning Signs of a Failing Relationship
It can be hard to tell when your own relationship is failing because you’re so invested in it – you don’t have the bird’s eye view of objectivity. But when your friends’ relationship might be failing, the warning signs might be a little clearer. Watch for these:
1. Your friends seem to argue more than they seem to get along.
2. When the idea of a double date is brought up, you’re hesitant about it.
3. Either member of the relationship expresses interest in other people.
But there’s still a question remaining: even if you’re clear that a problem exists, what exactly do you do about it?
Actions to Take When Your Friends’ Relationship is in Trouble
Let’s say that this particular couple has been a great pair of friends to you and your significant other for quite a while. You’ve imagined taking boating trips together, sharing holidays, and watching your kids grow up together. When their relationship starts to go south, your instinct is to understandably do what you can to save it.
But this can cause more harm than good. For one, you have to recognize just how hard it is to force two people into your way of thinking. Even if you’re technically right about them, they might resent your advice simply because advice can sometimes be hard to swallow. And even if they know what you know, that doesn’t mean they’re still able to turn things around. Knowledge is power, but it isn’t everything.
The best thing you can do is offer your support for the couple – and then stay out of it. Tell them that you’re there for them, that you can offer them advice if they want…but that’s it. If they’re willing to hear what you have to say, they’ll come to you.
This might be hard for you to do, but it will ultimately leave the best taste in your mouth. Be who you are – a great friend. Don’t turn into Dr. Phil.