If Your Friend's Partner Hits On You, Here's How To Handle It, According To An Expert
If your friend is in a relationship with someone who lives locally, you probably hang out with them as a couple often. You might grab drinks, see movies, eat dinner, go out to concerts, and so on. If you want to support your friend's relationship, you want to make sure their partner is having a good time as well. But what happens if they cross a line? If your friend's partner hits on you, you may not know what to do.
In all honesty, I wouldn't know how to handle the situation either. I'd be terrified of accidentally misreading the situation or turning my friend against me if I spoke up. It could seem like you'd only lose in this situation, so I talked with relationship expert Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love to find out what to do if your friend's partner is hitting on you.
She says if it happens once, just let it go.
"Maybe they’re trying to impress you or compliment you so that you like them," Chlipala tells Elite Daily. I certainly know I've been extra-friendly to my ex's friends before in order to make a good impression. In that kind of circumstance, chances are it's harmless.
As much as you may not want to go there with your friend's partner, if they hit on you a second time, then it's probably time to say something to them, Chlipala says. She cautions against assuming your friend's SO is hitting on you with romantic or physical interest (of course unless it's something very obvious like an attempted kiss on the lips), because it could just be a misunderstanding. When having a conversation with your friend's partner, vocalize your discomfort first and foremost.
Start the conversation with your friend's partner by suggesting you two may have varying opinions on acceptable boundaries.
"Make it about your discomfort and that you might just have different ideas of what's OK and what's not," Chlipala says. "Something like, 'Hey, maybe you think it's OK being flirty with your girlfriend’s friends but it makes me uncomfortable. I'd appreciate it if you stopped.'" Mention what specifically made you uncomfortable — whether it was the way they touched you or a comment they made about your sex life — so it doesn't happen again.
Another option to handle the conversation with your friend's SO is to use humor, Chlipala says.
"Humor is a great way to diffuse a situation while still making your point," she says. "Even something like, 'Your girlfriend would get jealous if she heard you talking to me like that,' can get your point across." Say it in a joking tone, but make sure they get the idea with your words.
If your friend's partner keeps hitting on you and you've exhausted all other options, it's probably time to say something to your friend.
Chlipala suggests having a conversation with your friend by laying out the facts first. Bring up the words their partner said, how often they said them, and any physical instances that happened.
"You can tell your friend how it made you feel, but it’s up to them to speak to their partner and figure out why they acted that way," she says.
Be sure when you have the conversation with your friend that you don't come off too accusatory. Calmly present what happened, explain that you spoke with their partner, and you just want to feel respected and comfortable.
Once you've vocalized the situation to your partner and their friend, at that point, the ball's no longer in your court. You've done what you can, and hopefully, your friend's partner works toward being more respectful of your comfort.
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