When To Butt Into a Friend’s Relationship
You’ve been listening to the problems that your loved one is going through in their relationship for quite some time now. You feel that you could help in some way, by either offering advice to better serve the relationship or telling them to leave. But is it ever appropriate to “butt in” on a loved one’s relationship?
I posed this very question to my Facebook friends recently. Most people said that an abusive relationship was the only reason that someone should ever intervene. There were a couple of folks who felt that once someone opens their mouth to you about the relationship, that’s the green light to step in and get involved.
One respondent expressed that it’s never a good idea to intervene:
“It’s never appropriate. No matter what they go through, you butt in and you’ll be the blame for EVERYTHING!!! Domestic- ‘I should have never told you! Now he going to be mad at me when he gets out of jail.’ Cheating- ‘If you never would’ve seen him/her, we would still be together.’I’ve learned many lessons through friends and families with their relationships… Once I hear ‘Girl so n’ so is doing me [so wrong]…’ I quickly nip that in the bud!! Nope, you handle your own business. But I still get blamed for not helping wtf!!! Lol”
I understand the respondent’s sentiment completely. I remember a few years ago telling an associate that her boyfriend tried to get my phone number at a party. She confronted him about it, but then completely threw me under the bus and still remained with him for a number of years. To make matters worse, he threatened to have me beaten up for “opening my big a** mouth!”
Needless to say, that friendship was never the same.
Listening to your loved one talk about how miserable they are in their relationship is never fun. As someone who cares, it’s natural to want to protect them. It’s easy to tell them to leave, but how likely is that to occur because we said so? As much as I’d hate to admit it, the truth of the matter is that the only acceptable reason to intervene in a loved one’s relationship is when their life is in danger. Even then, you run the risk of driving them back into the arms of the very person that you want gone.
With that being said, there’s a certain level of responsibility that the loved one needs to bear if they want to yell at everyone for intervening in their affairs. Whenever you disclose details about your relationship to another person, you’re inviting them into your relationship to a certain degree. You’re painting their perception of your mate by talking about how he or she is treating you. So how mad can you really be if your loved one tells you to leave his or her a** after you have complained non-stop to them about this person? You may just want to vent, but realize that a lot more damage is being done with your rant.
The best thing you can do is be a listening ear, but not an enabler. If your loved one is calling you constantly about the same issues, but does not appear to want to work towards a solution, then it’s time for you to evaluate whether or not you can be continuously subjected to their misery. It’s clear that they simply wish to “unload” on you so they’re “well enough” to deal with the next round of bulls***. Still, you are not a garbage disposal.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with your loved one’s best intentions at heart. If they ask for your advice, be honest and truthful with them about how you feel and let it be that. We each have to live our own lives and ultimately, only WE can determine what is best for us. So it’s best not to force your opinions on anyone.
Your turn: When is it ever appropriate to butt into a loved one’s relationship? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment in the section below! And don’t forget to join us on Twitter every Wednesday at 3PM CST for a live discussion on love and relationships. Keep up with the conversation via the #AskShanTellem hashtag.
Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at Amazon.com.