I need your input. I have a really good friend who I have known for about 5 years. We met in Uni and became close. Recently, she called me gushing about this guy she just met. She lives in the UK and he lives in Nigeria. I don’t know him well but I’ve heard unserious things about him and everything he tells her seems too good to be true. After only being in touch for 2 months, she went back to Nigeria to see him. She called me yesterday to tell me they’ve been intimate already and he is talking about going to meet her parents and marry her. I really care about my friend and I want her to be happy but I can’t shake this feeling that they are rushing things. I want to be honest with her but I’m single and I don’t want her to think I’m jealous or not happy for her.
Good friend in London
Dear Good Friend in London,
Thank you for writing NwaVic at email@example.com. This is a tough position to be in because on one hand, telling her the truth the way you want to could potentially alienate her from you but on the other hand, if you keep your opinion to yourself from her, and things don’t work out and she finds out you had a feeling and didn’t tell her, she may not forgive you. So either way, your friendship is at risk. So, you have to decide which is a greater risk. You also know your friend best and how she reacts to advice. I’ve been in a similar situation to yours a time too many and even lost a good friend because I bluntly opined that she was making a big mistake. From that experience and over time, I’ve learned that there is a big difference between withholding blunt objections and faking total endorsement. The solution is “soft-speak”. You should be honest with your friend because if you are not, the greater pain for her would be later feeling like you lied (by omission) to her.
But you have to thread cautiously if you value your friendship. The best time to tell someone what you think about the person they are dating is in the early stages. I advise you if you bring it up, make sure its the right time/place, maybe casually in the middle of a private conversation using a “concerned” tone. For example, when she tells you about him, you can respond with something like, “aww that’s sweet. Has he passed the research-test? I can ask around if you need me to.” Then, you warn generally that she should be careful. You can also ask her questions that’ll make her assess her feelings. For example, what do you love about him? What makes you think he’ll make a good husband? If you must mention what you’ve heard about him, you have to make sure your sources are authentic and not just idle gossip, and that you use facts not feelings. Make sure you remind her that you’re her friend and as long as she’s happy, you are. And mean it.
Again, the sooner you do this, the better. Once they get engaged, anything else you have to say will just look like you originally feared it would.
I’ve realized that not all my friends will have the same needs and expectations from a man as I do. More so, advice is all you can give-we can’t control the decisions our friends make. A good number of times, people will do what they want to do. Once you give your “soft-speak” advice, you back all the way up and continue to be there for her. If she’s making a good mistake, she’d need you sooner or later.
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