What To Do After An Uncomfortable Encounter With Your BFF's Partner

It's a tale as old as time: you love your best friend, but you think their partner is not it. Sure, you might be a bit biased — after all, you love your best friend more than anybody. And yes, you've tried to be nice, you've tried to give them a chance. But maybe they did something that simply crossed the line; maybe they said something that feels out of alignment with your values or the values of your friend, or maybe they were rude to you or somebody around you. Maybe, in a more extreme case, they even tried to hit on you. What do you do? After an uncomfortable encounter with your BFF's partner, you might be faced with uncomfortable solutions. Now, whether you talk to your friend about the situation is up to you. Nobody wants to feel as though they are getting in the middle of someone else's relationship. But should you feel genuinely worried for the future of your friend, having a chat could be worth it. 

Assess the issue

First, it is important to parse out whether you have a particular dislike for your BFF's partner, or whether they have done or said some worrying things. While it can be a frustrating facet of friendship, your friends will sometimes make choices that you would not, and that is okay. This is why it's important to be thoughtful as you consider approaching your friend — you do not want them to feel as though you do not trust their judgment. 

Second, remember that, aside from having a responsibility to your friend, you also have a responsibility to your own values. When your BFF's partner acts toward you in a manner you do not like, you have every right to tell them so. Perhaps they made a joke that you did not appreciate, or perhaps they were straight-up unkind to you. Perhaps you feel they betrayed your BFF's trust by saying or doing something flirtatious toward you. Consider telling them in the moment that you do not appreciate their words or actions. Be calm and direct. Then, take account of how your BFF's partner responds. Did they take accountability and apologize? Did they dismiss your feelings, or laugh them off? Did they attempt to swear you to secrecy after you rejected their advances? How they react can say a lot about their character, and can assist you in making the choice as to whether or not to talk to your friend. 

How to talk to your friend

Should you decide that the incident is worth talking to your friend about, remember that you can be honest, and still be kind. Sometimes, when our friends are caught up in love, they simply do not notice red flags like outsiders to the romance do. Have compassion for your friend, trust that your friend will consider your concerns, and trust in the strength of your friendship. 

When it comes to the actual conversation, talk to your friend in person, preferably at their place or somewhere that feels comfortable to them. Then, clearly express the situation to your friend. Anticipate that they will be upset, sad, mad, confused — all of the above, and perhaps even at you. Do your best not to criticize your BFF's partner, which could make you look biased, and also make your friend feel defensive of them, even if they were clearly in the wrong. Simply state the facts, and how your partner's actions made you feel. Then, bring the conversation back to your BFF. Express that you care about them, that you want the best for them, and that you are sharing this with them because you value both your friendship and their happiness. What happens from there might be largely out of your control. Check in with your friend after your conversation about how they're doing. And remember you can always suggest spending time with your friend without their partner, as well.