Relationships are funny.
They usually start as an innocent crush, a fleeting feeling you tell your friends about: “Oh my god, did you see them today?” or “This person said something in class today that made me notice them.”
From there, we start to talk about them with our friends and plan out a course of action. How will we approach the situation? Should we just do it and see what happens? Or do we wait for an opportunity?
If all goes well, we find ourselves in a relationship with our once-crush, and now, we can't seem to stop going on and on about them to our friends.
However, this sometimes evolves into a bit of a problem.
You see, when the relationship first starts, everyone is on their best behavior. We want to spend time with our friends, showing off our lovey-dovey state, but we also start to wrap ourselves up in our newfound love, spending less time out and more time with our new partner.
When this happens, it's easy for us to either spill everything or remain tight-lipped when our friends ask us how things are going. For me, I'm more of a keep-things-to-myself person, as I've learned there are only two people in my relationship, not me, my boyfriend and everybody else.
Obviously, I love my friends, and I value their opinions and seek their advice regularly. I've just come to learn when it comes to relationships, everyone believes what works for them works for everyone, and that's simply not the case.
This is why I think you're not in a place to tell your friend they're in a toxic relationship and that they need to break up with their significant other.
Hear me out.
When you're coming to your friends to vent about your significant other, you're likely coming to them with all the bad parts of your relationship. You're also coming to them with only one side of the story. And your friends do the same when coming to you.
What about your significant other's side? You're probably not painting a stellar picture of your partner because you're mad, hurt or upset.
You might also be blowing things out of proportion, or you're omitting the fact that you actually played a part in the situation. I mean, I have a flair for the dramatic, so sometimes, I can misconstrue something small as big, when it really isn't.
If all you're hearing is bad, you're going to wind up with a pretty low opinion of your friend's partner, no matter what. This sort of thing can lead your friends to believe you're in a toxic relationship, and it might lead you to believe the same about your friends' relationships. This, my fine friends, is not good.
With the power of the internet, we are totally bombarded with articles telling us how to spot the red flags in our relationship, how to know if your friend is in the wrong relationship or how to talk about a toxic relationship.
These articles are laced with ambiguous terms that make you think, “Shit, am I in one?” or “So-and-so said this about their partner. Should I say something?” It can all get a little confusing.
If you're like me, you're pretty protective of your friends. You want what's best for them, and you want them to understand they deserve the world and and then some. So you might confuse something as a red flag, when it's really just your bias toward your friend's well-being.
While their concern is admirable and should be appreciated, as they clearly care about you and your well-being, it's not exactly your friend's place to tell you that you need to break things off, just like it's not your place to tell your friend that.
The bottom line is, you're not in your friend's relationship. Unless your friend is a real Chatty Cathy, it's likely you don't know every detail about their relationship.
Of course, this is not to say you should stay silent if there are obvious signs of emotional or physical abuse. In that case, please, by all means, do your best to get your friend out of that situation.
But if things aren't clear, then it's probably not your place or your friend's place to call the shots on when it's time to get out of a relationship. Everyone has a different opinion on every aspect of a relationship, and what works for you might not work for your friend.
Naturally, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it's not okay for those opinions to be shoved into anyone's face, as if that opinion is the Gospel truth and perfectly applicable to the current situation.
Every relationship is different, just like every person is different. And if you're concerned and choose to offer up your concern, it's ultimately up to your friend to take those words to heart.
Just remember that, as good a friend as you are to your friends, they might not be telling you every single thing about their relationship. And if you only have half the problem, then you definitely won't have a whole solution.