I don’t like my BFF’s new love interest. Do I tell her that I think the person seems emotionally unavailable? I’m not the only one of our friends who feels this way. Or do I keep quiet, and hope it doesn’t last? Or give it more time and cross my fingers, hoping that eventually I’ll see what she sees in this person?
You bring up an uncomfortable truth: we don’t always get what people see in each other…my mother says, “every pot has a top.” True enough. But when that pot is your BFF, and you don’t like the top, what do you do? Announcing that you don’t like your BFF’s new lover won’t go over well. You will do one of two things with that bomb. Either hurt your BFF in a way akin to punching a hole in the hull of a happy cruise ship, because what is new love if not a carefree cruise? (You want your BFF and her newest lover to cut their cruise short, not shipwreck them, right?) Or the other possible outcome of the honesty card is watching your extremely pissed BFF’s back as she runs further into the arms of the lover you’re not feeling the love for.
Direct communication on this matter is OUT. No matter how politically-incorrect that may seem. Civility and tact still have an important place in our interactions.
Utilizing tact and civility, you could dig politely about, and ask questions like: “So, what do you and so-and-so enjoy doing together?” If the answer details gerat sex and only great sex, just ride out the situation. Six months is the max for mind blowing, never-had-it-so-good sex. If the answer has tidbits of your BFF and newest lover connecting through conversation and doing things, like talking, you might be dealing with a keeper. A person you will need to make peace with, if you want to keep your BFF.
I’ve been on both sides of this prickly situation. I’ve been the BFF with the partner nobody liked and had the BFF with unlikeable partner. I can say that neither side is comfortable. Don’t assume that your friend doesn’t know that other people aren’t keen on their new lover…maybe that’ll help you muster up some empathy for this BFF of yours (as a matter of note, I’m sure I’ve been the unlikeable new partner as well…though I prefer not to think about that).
Most recently I have been, like you Sophie, trying to figure out the choice of my BFF. I started out surprised that I couldn’t muster up warm feelings toward the fellow. And then I sat down and had a heart to heart with my sorry-self. Here’s what I discovered:
1. My BFF chose so differently than I imagined she would that I had to adjust my assumptions. I thought she was an outdoor bird watcher and she’d never be with a guy who plays video games all day and fantasy football all night. I had preconceived notions of my friend. I really thought she liked sand pipers more than shades pulled against the sun and gaming. Who am I to determine the lid my BFF fits on her pot? Nobody. That’s who. Still….I really do, deep down, think I know what would be best for her. Funny, since I can’t figure that one out for myself…
2. I didn’t like the way they cuddled and gazed at each other during an afternoon cup of coffee for god’s sake…like you dear Sophie, I felt the newest lover would not be available to my friend emotionally. But I was also a wee bit jealous. God, did I just write that? I did. Because who doesn’t like being adored and drinking frothy glasses o’ feel good love-onade?
3. And here was the trickiest thing I discovered: When my BFF began to confide things other than the “phenomenal sex up all night” and “never ever had she had so many orgasms in her whole entire life” when she began to come to me with the first rumbles of pros and cons that make up any relationship, I remained neutral and supportive. Why? Because otherwise, refer to the top of this answer, the part about watching your BFF’s back because you’ve pissed ‘em off. How do I know that? From experience on the other side of this equation. When things with the guy nobody liked (okay guys) went amok, I didn’t want to be told how to handle any of my concerns and I really didn’t want anyone to concur. Affirming BFF’s complaints about newest lover will backfire. BFF will suddenly feel protective of newest and simply misunderstood lover. BFF will think she has betrayed them. Out of protectiveness and the need to be the one person on earth who can see the good qualities in newest lover who nobody likes, BFF will stay in the muddle longer. Sophie, keep your face and comments NEUTRUAL.
In summary (and Sophie, you are brave indeed to ask my opinon because I do go on and on… )
In the end, who our BFF’s decide to pot and lid or lid and pot with, isn’t for me or you to decide. Our job as friends is to support each other through shitty lovers, botched hair cuts and hormonal changes. Lovers come and go, but we must bare witness to each others life. Suffer through PDA over coffee and sudden in-love weight loss of our BFF’s, even when we don’t like their newest lover. Because, at the end of the day, life is short, sex is fun and every relationship comes along to teach us something. Even those we aren’t directly in, but looking at from the outside.
I hope you’ll eventually understand what you BFF sees in her new lover. But at the very least, you can celebrate their happiness. And you can practice letting go of expectations, assumptions, judgements and scathing analysis. Unless they are of yourself. In that case, carry on.
Keep me posted about how you navigate this common and uncomfortable truth. Thank you for sharing with our readers and allowing me to ponder right along beside you!
Miri is a licensed social worker and family therapist. If you have a question for her, email her here. Your Q&A will be published on our site. If you don’t want Miri to use your name, please let her know.
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