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Monday Morning Michelle: Should I speak up if my friend’s boyfriend is abusive?


Dear Michelle,

My friend is engaged to be married and it’s really hard for me to sit back and watch it all happen without speaking up.  I’m confused and unsure of what I should do.  He’s just not the guy she thinks he is but I’m afraid if I say something it will ruin our friendship.  What do you think I should do?

I can totally relate to what it’s like to sit back and watch a friend make choices that you deem unhealthy.  Not only have I been there and watched my friends make choices that I would never have made if I were them but I have also been that friend that made choices which my friends, try as they might, could not prevent me from making.  One time, a very good friend of mine, called me to tell me that she simply could not be in my life if I were going to continue to be involved in the relationship I was involved in – so I lost her friendship because I stayed with my then boyfriend.  I understood her reasoning and I valued her friendship but I was not at a place where I was ready to let go.

Interfering in someone’s relationship is never a good idea.  Chances are the people involved in the relationship will ultimately determine you are jealous or intrusive and it’s not going to play out well.  Think about all those movies with the meddling parents etc., and be mindful that you are going to be seen as intrusive no matter how good your intentions are – so it might be best to step away.

What if your friend is being physically or emotionally abused?  What if you know something about the guy she’s with that you think she should know but he has not revealed?  This is a tough situation for anyone to be in – and I totally understand how difficult it is.  It might be a good idea to examine your own motivation and ask yourself what your intentions.  In other words, are you trying to rescue your friend from her own self-destructive pattern or maybe she has a child you are concerned about.

Here’s what I think you should do.  Decide if you think someone is in danger.  If so, you might want to intervene and at the very least say your peace.  If nobody is in danger and it’s just that you think the guy she’s dating is a jerk, well consider that maybe he’s grown and might not be a jerk this time around.    Think before you speak.  Sometimes it’s just a good idea to let go of a friendship when it’s time and only you know if that time has come … Other times it’s good to just be there when and if the world comes tumbling down, not with an, “I told you so” but with a “I’m here anytime you need a friend.”


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]