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Telling your friend you think they are making a massive mistake by marrying someone is probably at stupid idea isn't it?

(26 Posts)
Worry4friend Mon 18-Feb-13 17:03:22

I keep having to bite my tongue. Friend has DP which many of her family disapprove of. They actively encourage her to end the relationship.

I don't blame them. Normally I think don't interfere with others relationships, but on this occasion I think he is awful and she is wasting her life on him.

So when she tells me how her family hate him, or yet another example of why he is crap and upset her and generally just nod and say nothing. Im afraid she will cut me off and have no one to talk too if I say what I really think.

Now she phones this morning to say they are getting married. My heart sank. I just know its wrong. She has been through so much already I know this is another disaster.

I really want to say something but it will ruin the friendship wont it?

Im sure he will be pleased as he seems determined to isolate her anyway.

I don't know how much longer I can bite my tongue.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 18-Feb-13 17:11:26

So when she tells me how her family hate him, or yet another example of why he is crap and upset her and generally just nod and say nothing. Im afraid she will cut me off and have no one to talk too if I say what I really think.

Don't tell her what you think of him, and don't tell her what you think she should do.

Instead, validate her feelings when she tells you of another crap thing he has done, ask her how those things make her feel, and ask her what she would like instead.

People in denial about crap situations need to hear the solutions coming out of their own mouths in order to take them on board.

So don't bite your tongue completely, just bite it wrt to your own personal opinions and advice. Let her do the talking - just guide the conversation.

Worry4friend Mon 18-Feb-13 17:14:54

That is excellent advice.

So for an example, she often complains he offers no support when she feels overwhelmed with stress.

How could I guide that conversation?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Feb-13 17:16:33

I would probably cut to the chase rather than try to spare someone's feelings, especially if an opportunity presented itself. Life is far to short to be mealy mouthed and, if you lose a few friends along the way, so be it.

'My family hate him'...
'Are you surprised?'

'He's done crap thing XYZ and upset me'
'And you expect me to dance at your wedding?..'

Worry4friend Mon 18-Feb-13 17:19:32

But there is no way I ever, ever would want to lose her as a friend. She is just lovely. Thats why I want to approach this well.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 18-Feb-13 17:21:34

"He doesn't offer any support when I am overwhelmed"

"Oh poor you, that sounds awful! How does that make you feel?"

"I feel so frustrated and angry, like he just doesn't respect me."

"Mmmh, no-one should have to feel disrespected in their own home. What would you like him to do instead?"

"I want him to do XYZ"

"Have you asked him?"

"So many times! But bla bla bla"

"Do you think it's likely that he will ever do XYZ in these situations?"

etc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Feb-13 17:21:48

The very best friend sometimes looks you straight between the eyes and tells you the thing you really don't want to hear. You do the 'lovely' person no favours at all by lying to them or avoiding saying the truth. Just say it 'more in sorrow than in anger' ... and have faith in yourself.

Worry4friend Mon 18-Feb-13 17:39:09

I see what your saying Cogito... But I think I might try HotDAMN approach first.

stealthsquiggle Mon 18-Feb-13 17:45:33

Some good advice here, I think (wrt to guiding conversation rather than offering opinion per se).

I had a friend who offered unwanted and unasked for opinions on my then DP (now DH). She was probably right, with hindsight, but I didn't want her advice then and still don't think she should have said anything - didn't stop me marrying him, and did end the friendship (not directly, but it was never the same IYSWIM).

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Feb-13 17:49:45

"She was probably right, with hindsight,"

That's always the problem isn't it? It's never the same because you're embarrassed that your friend/family/whoever was right all along. Not because it was wrong to express the opinion.

Publish and be damned....

Worry4friend Mon 18-Feb-13 17:51:23

Stealthsquiggke.

Yes, thats what I fear that it could damage the friendship. The thing is she might not regard it as "truth" at all- just my (very negative) subjectve opinion.

She might feel judged and stop confiding.

MMMarmite Mon 18-Feb-13 17:56:01

But cogito, worry4's aim isn't to nobly speak the truth, but to actually help her friend. It seems that the friend's family have already tried the harsh truth route, and if it didn't work from them I don't see why it would work from worry4 either. I think hotDAMN's approach is a good plan.

Dahlen Mon 18-Feb-13 17:58:20

I think it's possible to find some middle ground. I don't think it's a real friendship if you only ever tell people what they want to hear. A real friend cares more about their friend's welfare than they do about their friend being annoyed with them. I expect my friends to be honest with me and I respect their opinions even if I don't agree with them. I've also been in a similar situation to the OP and voiced my concerns. We're still friends and she stayed with me when the relationship fell apart and she needed to find somewhere new to live.

Just don't be judgy about it and make it clear it's because you care about her. And above all, end it by saying that once you've said your bit you won't keep on about it, tell her you still wish her every happiness and hope that you're made to eat your words, but that if it does go wrong, you won't ever say "I told you so" - that she can rely on your support whatever.

Dozer Mon 18-Feb-13 21:33:48

I had a friend like this and did hotdamn's approach, for a loooooooong time, she got engaged and had a DC with him but didn't marry him and eventually left. She was a close, old friend and vulnerable (emotionally abusive family), Was worried that she would shut off if I pushed views or seemed to judge. We also lived far away so mainly spoke by phone, would've been tricky to sustain the approach if had seen her regularly.

I did eventually tell her some views/challenge more, when she seemed to be nearing - a decision to leave but wavering ( eg "DC needs two parents", "he can be nice sometimes" etc).

Was difficult not going along with minimising things - but not upsetting her - when she said things like "men, eh?" or trying to find parallels in others' relationships.

livingzuid Tue 19-Feb-13 06:26:27

As someone who was married then divorced as soon as the year and 1 day applied (with a £15,000 move to New Zealand and then back again to the UK in between) I wish my friends had shared their concerns with me. The most frustrating thing to hear was them saying they had always wondered but didn't want to interfere. I wish they had! Whilst I may have not discussed the problems with anyone just someone voicing a concern would have given me food for thought and the confidence to not go through with the wedding. Done properly it isn't interfering and is just a friend showing their concern and love for the other person. If your friend is as lovely as you say she will understand and not be offended.

Just think about it from the other perspective - perhaps she is waiting for someone to question her decision? Looking back at it now, I know I was.

Good luck with whatever you decide smile

Littleturkish Tue 19-Feb-13 06:40:13

Hotdamn that is brilliant advice and will use it myself with my friend.

I have tried giving advice when she explicitly asks for it (and says she likes to hear what I think) but your comment that 'it has to come out their own mouths' really resonates with me.

I will try this method this week when I see her.

Good luck OP! Hope it works for you too

springyhops Tue 19-Feb-13 11:21:12

Someone told me in the run-up to my wedding that my husband was a bad 'un. I didn't know what she meant at the time, thought she was a bit blunt - but actually thought she must be jealous or something because he was so wonderful...........

years later, her comments were a peg in the cliff-face that got me out of that hideous, abusive relationship.

I was SO GRATEFUL she said what she said. When I was up to my neck in unbelievable confusion, her comments presented common sense.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Feb-13 11:51:21

"It seems that the friend's family have already tried the harsh truth route, and if it didn't work from them I don't see why it would work from worry4 either"

Wrong... If one member of your family doesn't like your choice you can dismiss them as bitter. If none of them like him, you can accuse them of ganging up. If your friends don't like him either ... especially friends that are not in the habit of speaking out of turn ... then it gets more and more difficult to dismiss the objections.

Doesn't stop anyone carrying on and marrying the nasty bugger of course - 'love is blind' and abuse victims are often very cynically manipulated into standing by an abuser - but at least the OP could sleep nights knowing they hadn't been a coward

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 19-Feb-13 12:06:10

cogito with respect the issue is not whether OP is a coward or not. It is about supporting OP's friend in the most effective way. I'm with hotdamn on this one.

I was very hurt when my 2 closest friends were iffy about me and DH getting married. I asked them to explain their thoughts and there were no specific reasons given, just a general "we don't think he's right for you". It didn't end our friendship and 23 years on I'm still married and still mates with my friends. It was only raised once and I've never queried them on it since, but it still causes a little "ouch" when I think of it now.

If you are going to be straight then you have to be prepared to lose her friendship, but personally I think a roundabout way of trying to get her to see his drawbacks will be more successful.

Loika Tue 19-Feb-13 14:31:17

Hotdamm is a genius!! She will never take advice from you because she is already getting it from her family so has a "filter" for those commments. Make her thinking change and you might make a differance.

Some people are born doormats, my sister and I are, she told me once that she had nothing in common with her BF, he was jealous of her education/career/earnings/friends/intelligence so i asked "why don't you dump him then?", "but i love him" was the reply. He racked up her credit card, dumped her 'cause he had knocked up someone else. If your friend has this tendancy, there is nothing you can do but be there when it goes wrong. Its not cowardly to not tell it like it is, people only hear want they want to hear on the whole.

badguider Tue 19-Feb-13 14:38:24

hotdamn's approach is great. Also if you have a good relationship with your dp/dh then I would try to show what things you are thankful for without being smug about it.
If i had a friend with a dp who belittled her, I would gently mention that I wouldn't be able to handle that, that I need my dh to be supportive because that makes stuff so much easier to bear...
Or if you are single, then i'd say 'Oh, I wouldn't be able to be with somebody who couldn't be supportive, I'll stay single till I find somebody who is supportive..'

snowshapes Tue 19-Feb-13 15:26:00

>>Just think about it from the other perspective - perhaps she is waiting for someone to question her decision? Looking back at it now, I know I was. <<

This. My parents were against my second marriage, but in such a way as to actually mess with my head - they withdrew any support or contact and behaved totally bizarrely towards STBXH, tried to split us up and so on, I will spare you the details, but I got to the stage where I didn't know if it was my own thoughts or not.

I tried to break the engagement for my own reasons, but didn't follow it through, because I had no-one to talk it through with rationally and questioned what I thought (and was manipulated into feeling I couldn't break it off). I honestly think you can open the conversation without being judgemental. The key thing for me was that I stopped seeing us as old and grey together. Ask her how she imagines her life in 20 - 30 years time. There are many ways to get her to think about it without saying outright you think he is wrong for her, which undermines her judgement. But do say something.

I had a friend who told me I didn't have to marry my first husband. I didn't speak to him for over a decade. Now, he is back in my life and Ex-H isn't. He was a good friend and I'm glad he said something. However, it didn't stop me marrying Ex-H and it meant I had one less person to go to when I wanted to leave. It's a real stickler.

Jux Tue 19-Feb-13 18:30:06

I think the Guided Conversation is a good one too (though I usually advocate truth telling).

At some point you're going to be able to offer a summary, too. "So, he does this, that and this, and he doesn't do this, that or this. Is that fair?". Then let her think about it.

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