Saturday, November 25, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Friends wants validation or truth about her relationship

RECOMMENDED READING


If friend keeps asking, she either wants validation or the truth

Q: A good friend of mine is living with a guy, "Adam," who I can't stand, to the point where I try to avoid hanging out with her when he's there. My husband and other mutual friends feel the same. It's not just that he's a jerk; we can see he's totally controlling of her as well.

She seems to sense that he rubs people the wrong way, and asks me from time to time, "What do you think of Adam? You can be honest." Or asking what my husband thinks of him, in the same way. I usually flub my way through it because I feel terrible telling her I don't like him.

Should I be brutally honest with her? A previous boyfriend of hers was also disliked by all. After we all breathed a sigh of relief post-breakup, she constantly said, "Why didn't you guys tell me how much you hated him!?" She is contemplating marriage. I want to be honest, but don't want to ruin our relationship if she ends up with him forever!

Speak up?

A: She has asked you more than once to speak up in the context of an old relationship, and asked you more than once to speak up in the context of this new relationship, and you want to speak up, and you're still asking whether it's okay to speak up. I guess I'm wondering what it's going to take to pry loose your Adam concerns.

Which, of course, are ultimately concerns about your friend and her pattern — so please frame them that way: "You've asked me a few times about Adam. Are you having reservations?" Listening is never a bad strategy when speaking is problematic. Plus, if she doesn't bite and instead turns the question back at you, you get to say you do have concerns but are hesitant to speak. That will give her (yet) another chance to show you if she really doesn't want the truth — and that's what you suspect, isn't it? That her quest is for validation, not truth? It's a legitimate concern with any friend, but particularly for one showing signs of insecurity.

She probably sees signs that Adam is trouble, just as you do, but may be invested in not hearing a truth that will necessitate another breakup with another not-too-nice guy, followed by the humiliation of another audible sigh of relief from her friends. Yet that's why you must take her at her word that she wants to know what you think. You say you don't want to "ruin our relationship," but that's about protecting yourself from a loss. If Adam really is controlling, then please make it a priority to help her find what she seeks.

Slip of the tongue warrants one of two forms of an apology

Q: Hanging out with my boyfriend and some of his friends, I accidentally let slip to one of the friends' dates that he has been seeing someone else, who I thought was his serious girlfriend. Major drama with the friend and his date, and a lot of anger was directed toward me. Truthfully I'm not really sure what the status of his relationship is, so I shouldn't have assumed anything. Did I screw up, and should I apologize?

Baltimore

A: If you concluded from this guy's dating habits that his girl-du-jour needed a rescue, then you'd owe an apology for being presumptuous. Accidents do happen. If you did just step in it — "it" being the friend's apparent deceptions — all you owe is an "Oops, sorry" and an unspoken "Good luck with that."

Comments

Tell Me About It: Shut down sister-in-law’s weight shaming

Shut down sister-in-law’s weight shamingQ: My sister and her wife, "Sue," will be visiting soon. I’m feeling anxiety about Sue’s visit.Sue has a habit of making comments about my weight and what I’m eating — commenting on my portion size, how many he...
Published: 11/24/17
Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

PULLING STRINGS: Lindsey StirlingDubstep violist Lindsey Stirling shot to fame as a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and she has been rocking the spangles on Dancing With the Stars this season as the last woman left . But on Friday yo...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/24/17
5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

1. Gem, Jewelry and Bead Show and Sale: Check out these rocks when more than 50 dealers from around the United States sell crystals, minerals, beads, gems and jewelry. $5. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through ...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/24/17

Tell Me About It: Frequently-visiting sister needs to pitch in

Frequently visiting sister needs to pitch inQ: I live overseas with my husband and two boys. My sister visits often due to work travel and generous vacation benefits. Sounds great — especially as I have no other family member who can visit as often, ...
Published: 11/22/17
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Shopping Black Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’ll open at...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/24/17
Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday isn’t just for stores. Many theme parks and attractions in Florida are also offering up deals that could make a nice gift or family splurge. The smaller the park, the bigger the deal, so Legoland, Gatorland and SeaWorld are toutin...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Mark your calendars: Here are the top holiday concerts, ‘Nutcracker’ shows and parades

Mark your calendars: Here are the top holiday concerts, ‘Nutcracker’ shows and parades

Get out your calendar, set aside the time and get tickets to see the top holiday shows and parties coming this season. Here are our editor’s picks for the holidays:CONCERTS98 Degrees The turn-of-the-millennium boy band brings their new holiday tour p...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you can stop grumbling about it being too early for Christmas lights and decorations. Let the grand illuminations begin! Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when ...
Published: 11/21/17

Tell Me About It: Sister’s partner is a textbook abuser

Sister’s partner is a textbook abuserQ: My sister stays home with her two small children (2 and 1) while her partner works. Recently, during a fight, he took all of their money and left. He has since returned and they have patched things up for now. ...
Published: 11/21/17
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/23/17