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“Steve and I are going out for drinks tonight and we want you to join us. I really want you to meet him.”
The moment I had been dreading had come. My best friend Flo wanted me to meet her new boyfriend Steve. I had not met Steve, yet but I had long concluded he was a tool from stories Flo had told me about their nights out. The thought of hanging out with him made me groan inwardly. I had promised Flo I would keep an open mind when I meet him, but I knew it was going to be really difficult.
Flo had been dating Steve for a few weeks after meeting him online. I took an instant dislike to Steve because of a number of reasons. First off, he would only invite her out to bars. He never took her out on a date to a restaurant or the movies like normal people.
It was always some seedy bar in downtown Nairobi. Secondly, from Flo’s description of his drinking habits, I was convinced he had a drinking problem. Flo had revealed to me that he had blacked out on two occasions when they were out together. Steve also never saw to it that Flo got home safe after their late night outs. With all these glaring red flags, I was surprised that Flo still deemed him worthy of her time. She was adamant that he was a fantastic guy who was just a little troubled. She said he made her feel great and was determined to keep seeing him.
When I finally met Steve, my dislike for him only intensified. He was rude and obnoxious and I had to fake politeness the whole time I was around him. Now, I was a hundred percent sure Flo was making a terrible mistake by dating him.
Before, when I had raised my concerns about Steve, I had tiptoed around the issue and didn’t really come out and say I though he was a douchebag and she deserved much better, but after that fateful meeting, I decided it was time to tell her like it was. When I sat her down and told her I vehemently disapproved of her relationship, she was incensed! She accused me of being judgmental and told me in no uncertain times to butt out of her relationship.
After that, we saw less and less of each other until eventually we stopped talking. I later learnt she had broken up with Steve.
Sometimes we don’t always agree with our friend’s choice of partners, but is it worth risking a friendship to prevent a bad relationship?
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The rule of thumb in this situation is to only intervene if you feel the relationship is dangerous or abusive. In my case, I was right to let Flo know how I felt. My concerns about Steve were legitimate. On the other hand, if your reasons for not liking your friend’s significant other are superficial, for instance if you don’t like the way he dresses or you disagree with his political views or you don’t think he makes enough money, keep your feelings to yourself.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that ultimately, it is her decision and there is only so much you can do as her friend.
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