by Nicole Huffman Hollins | Featured Contributor
It’s the middle of the night, and suddenly my phone rings. It’s my girl-friend calling to cry and declare that, “I’m done [with him.] It’s over- for real- this time.” Have you ever found yourself in my position? On the other hand, perhaps, you were the hysterical friend who needed a little support. Many of us have been there. If you have not, your time will come. When it does, the below are five things that your distraught friend does not want to hear at this time.
5 Things Not to Say to Your Friend Experiencing Relationship Drama
1.) “You should respect yourself more than to be with someone who mistreats you.”
This statement is very likely to trigger a defensive response from your friend. Even when she is aware of her partner’s inappropriate behavior, she still may be protective of her companion. It is important to choose your words wisely to prevent her from shutting down on you. Instead, try saying, “You deserve to be respected.” By making this change, your friend is not left feeling as if the mistreatment is her fault because she does not have enough self-respect to leave.
2.) “Why don’t you leave?”
This statement also may be considered judgment and cause your friend to start making excuses for her choices. Try saying, “You are welcome to come over or call me anytime.” This statement does not cast blame on either party. There is a greater chance that your friend will accept this sentiment as coming from concern rather than judgment. This will help her to open up when she feels ready.
3.) “If it were me….”
Stop. It is not you, and the sentiment is very likely to be considered as judgmental. Along those lines, saying, “If I were you…” and “I would never…,” also should be avoided.
4.) “I know how you feel.”
No. You do not know how she feels. Even if you have experienced a break-up you will never know exactly how she feels. While you may say these words out of an attempt to comfort her and show her that you understand, the person on the other side of this comment may be angered by what is taken as an invalidation of her unique experience. Instead, try saying, “How are you coping with everything?” This is an open-ended question that will allow your friend to express herself more freely.
5.) “It will be okay.”
In the eyes of someone who is going through relationship turmoil, it may never be okay, because it is difficult to see beyond the present reality. You may mean well, but when your girlfriend hears something along these lines, it may fill her with resentment and anger. Instead, try this, “We will get through this together.”
Loyalty and support from your girl-friends is appreciated during life’s trials. Your friend will appreciate your love and sincere expression of concern. It is important, however, that you remain thoughtful of how you express your support. Your good intentions could backfire and cause a rift in your friendship.
You may connect with me on Twitter at NowWithNicole.
Attorney Nicole Huffman Hollins from Money Fit Kids Houston, Texas
Hi! I’m Nicole. My life’s purpose is to help children, women, and families bring align their faith, family, and finances so that they may live in freedom. Part of my mission is to help people recognize their worth, own who they are, and succeed in life by being true to self. I am the founder of Now With Nicole where I have had the opportunity to author self-help books such as The Girlfriend Code and Peaceful Pain and appear as a contributing writer for many on-line and print publications. I am also the creator and host of Now With Nicole Radio where I discuss topics regarding your Faith, Family, and Finances.” In addition to my own show, I enjoy appearing as a guest on Internet and network radio shows.
As a former family law attorney, I spent countless hours with fighting couples. Trying to find a more productive way to help these fractured families, I decided that mediation was a better route. While working with women and couples, I found that communication about money was a huge sore spot. After years of helping couples master mindfulness in their marriage and money, I saw a pressing need to educate and empower financial literacy from an early age. As a result, Money Fit Kids was created to encourage children from an early age to align the core values of faith, family, and financial fitness.
I am a lover of the written and spoken word who holds a journalism degree and Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin. I make my home in Houston, Texas with my husband and son.