How to Be There for a Friend When They are in a Bad Relationship

“Dude, she’s not that into you.” I feel like that’s a sentence every guy either has to say or hear at some point. It’s probably best said over a beer. Most of the time it needs to be said more than once.

I’ve been on both ends of this statement. Most recently, when one of my roommates was dating a girl who obviously wasn’t as interested as he was. It seemed like she only went out with him when she couldn’t find anything else to do. Whenever they’d talk about their relationship, she’d be non-committal. She would even get mad if he asked her to clarify her feelings.

But he was really into her, so he always explained away her behavior and made excuses for her. He wasn’t seeing things clearly. Because I had been in his position before, I knew that I’d have to be patient in helping him get out of this relationship.

I found myself listening to his struggles, sympathizing with him, and trying to offer him advice. I finally tried to get him to quit dating her. Our conversations were often difficult. It wasn’t easy for me to hear someone complain about the same things month after month. He would get defensive at times, and even mad at me if he felt like I was being too critical.

But we stayed friends. Even when he disagreed with me, he knew that I just wanted what was best for him. Plus, he needed someone to complain to.

It took time but eventually they did break up. Afterward, he thanked me for being there for him during a difficult time. Sharing that experience made us better friends than we were before. Both of us are more willing to listen to each other now because we know that we have each other’s backs.  

Being “in love” is a powerful emotion and is important to any romantic relationship. But it can put blinders on people and make them settle for less than they deserve. Our friends and family can see things that we can’t, and so it’s important to have the advice of people we trust and be open to listening to it.

Those conversations can be difficult at times, and they might even put strain on our friendships and family ties. It’s never fun to hear that you’re in a bad relationship. But when it ends you’ll grow that much closer to the ones that had your back from the beginning.

I know how grateful I am for those who have walked with me when I’ve been in bad relationships, who have told me the hard truths even when I didn’t want to hear them. If we really believe in love, we need to be willing to listen to those who love us the most.



Adam is a proud Iowan who loves to read, be outside, and wrestle with his son.He’s a part of iBiL because he thinks when we stand up for what’s good in the world, amazing things happen.

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1 Comment

  • Relationships are hard. All of them need constant work to stay well. The Untethered Relationship by Christopher Moon is a book that discusses how to know ourselves the best in our relationships then we can know if those with us are the right ones and how to foster these relationships. There are bad ones out there, we need to know the best ways keep the good ones!

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