If You Hate Your Friend's Fiancé, Should You Say Anything?


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You hate your friend's fiancé with the same fervor you despise traffic jams. That is to say, a lot. Should you speak up — or forever hold your peace?

First, take personal stock. Do you hate the man, or that fact she's engaged? If you're simply feeling jealous over her engagement and therefore find his goofball sense-of-humor too difficult to stomach, it might be best to stay mum. "You might worry you'll no longer have as much time together, or the nature of your get-togethers will change," describes Irene Levine, Ph.D., psychologist, professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone School of Medicine, and creator of The Friendship Blog. At the same time, if you're single, "you may feel like a third wheel when you get together with her guy. And you may have formed a premature judgment about your friend's fiancé," she explains, that's more based on your own emotions than who he really is. "Bite your tongue if you feel the need to make negative comments — unless you are specifically asked," Levine says.

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But "if you're seeing something about this man or the relationship that you feel in your heart and soul does not serve your friend," says Christine Arylo, motivational speaker and author of Choosing Me Before We, it could be time to speak up — carefully. Warns Levine, "It can be pretty thorny to make disparaging comments about a friend's fiancé, even if your friend encourages you to do so. Although your comments may be well-intended, your friend may not be ready to hear them and may be protective of her fiancé. As a result, she may get angry or insulted and it may create distance between you and her."

Arylo suggests sticking to sharing your feelings, rather than voicing your opinions. "Opinions feel like judgments that need to be defended," she says. "Sharing your feelings comes from your heart, and they are always better received. And you want your friend to be able to hear you." Tell her that you care deeply for her and want the best for her, Arylo advises, then "share what you have seen and what concerns you have. The truth is that if something really is off, she knows it too. She may just need someone to ask the right question or shine a light on what she knows deep down."

But, Arylo cautions, that's all you can do. "Your duty as her friend is just to shine that light and then let her decide," she says. "She may choose the hard road, but at least you were there to give her a choice."

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