The BFF & Her BF
by Corrin Coleman
As best friends we take an unspoken vow to be there for each other no matter what. Being the co-author of risky texts, designated driver at 2 a.m. and Target-run shopping partner are all included in the job description. For better or for worse you are each other's person. But what happens when your BFF gets a BF you don’t see eye-to-eye with? Someone who is a danger to not only himself but her as well. How do you balance being supportive but also honest??
October kicks off Domestic Violence Awareness Month and with that in mind we thought we’d give you some advice on how to help friends in bad, and often dangerous, situations. Domestic violence is not only what can be seen with our eyes. It’s emotional. It’s verbal. And its damage leaves scars often much deeper than the surface. It’s important to remember that you should never put yourself in an unsafe situation. But here are some Dos and Don’ts to best help you help your friend.
-Let her come to you: Never make her feel like she’s being bombarded or attacked. When the time is right she’ll come to you. If you realize that she is not comfortable bringing up her relationship, you need to calmly and respectively have an honest conversation with her before matters get worse.
-Listen: And I mean genuinely listen. This is a lot harder for her to say than it is for you to hear. No matter how silly she may sound or horrible he may be, she needs you to be there for her.
-Seek help: You’re not a professional in this department and that’s ok. Encourage her to talk with someone that is specifically trained in this arena. And remind her that everything said between them is strictly confidential.
-Make her choose: She loves you both. And 10/10 times she’ll choose him. By telling her you won’t be her friend if she keeps dating him, you are causing her to feel even more like she must rely on him.
-Judge: We all know you would NEVER be caught dead in this predicament, but that’s what anyone thinks before they are caught in an unhealthy relationship. Don’t make her feel stupid or less-than because she is suffering. It’s not your place to judge. It’s your place to be a friend.
-Alienate her: Now more than ever she needs her friends. If you alienate her from the friend group you’re playing right into his hand. Let her know her friends are there to support her. Silently waiting in the wing ready for her whenever and wherever she needs you.
Here’s the truth: You both will be friends long after he’s gone and long before the next boy comes around. It is not your place to question her judgment. Each person that enters our lives are here for a reason. As Frank Ocean said, “either you’re a blessing or a lesson,” it's her place to figure out which one he is. Not yours. Now here’s the dare: Remember your unspoken vow. Be her person. Listen. Because IF (and when) this relationship ends your girl is gonna need you. It is our job as women to support each other through the good, the bad, and the unhealthy relationships.
If you think you are in an unhealthy relationship or know someone who is, please visit the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, utilize local resources including the UA Women and Gender Resource Center, or email us anonymously through our “You In?” contact page so we can direct you to more information.