Monday, February 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Good friend has obligation to point out mistakes

Tell friend she's making mistake, no matter the reaction you'll get

Q: A good friend of mine, married for four years, has confided in me that she's being hit on by a male co-worker and has reciprocal feelings. Based on the handful of anecdotes she has shared so far, it seems like they are one ill-advised after-work cocktail from making a major mistake.

So, what am I supposed to do? Talking to my friend's husband is out of the question — my loyalty is to her. Issuing judgment and trying to talk her out of her desires seems doomed to failure, and she may resent me for it later.

I have asked her point-blank what sort of feedback she wants from me, and she says she has no idea. She seems to mention it only because she wants someone to talk to about it, I guess.

My conscience is having a hard time standing by while this unfolds. What do you think?

Friend

A: "Doomed to failure"? Cop-out. "She may resent me"? Cop-out.

I'm stunned you haven't once said, "Gah! What are you doing?"

It isn't "issuing judgment" to try to grab someone's belt loop when she's leaning too far off a cliff. It's just the kind of honesty — and integrity — that reminds us all why we bother to make and maintain good friendships.

She trusts you. Be the one who says what she won't want to hear, that a moment of weakness can dog her the rest of her life. If she resents that, so be it.

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