How to Talk to Your Friends About Problems in Their Relationship

Dating can be fun when you're ready for it, but relationships can also be sticky.

The only thing stickier, though, is noticing problems in your friend's relationship and trying to talk to them about it. After all, we tend to get very defensive about our actions and the people closest to us, especially when it comes to the person we're dating.

Expressively gesturing. Swearing couple having quarrel about their life together and woman raising her hands in strong gesture

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While it isn't easy, sometimes it's necessary to talk to your friends about the negative things you've picked up on in their relationship with their partner. That's not to say that you need to say something every time your friend's boyfriend/girlfriend/partner takes too long to text them back or there is some other minor inconvenience, but there are certainly some things—like toxic behavior or your friend seeming to be incredibly anxious about the relationship—that simply shouldn't be ignored. With that said, here are some tips on how to talk to your friends about problems in their relationship:

Use Open-Ended Questions

A healthy relationship revolves around open communication, and that goes for both friendships and within dating. That means that, especially if your friend has been dating their partner for a decent amount of time, they should (in theory) have discussed important topics already. If it seems like they haven't, an easy way to address that that might be a problem is by simply asking your friend "have you told ___ that you don't want to do that/feel differently about that/etc.?"

This comes from an open frame of simply trying to gauge the situation on your end, but may help them realize that they've been so anxious about the relationship that they haven't been their full self with their partner. This can go for almost anything, whether it be that your friend knows they want to move out of state (or even to another country) for college, has drastically different opinions on social issues than their partner or even that they may never want to get married or have kids in the future. It can also work for any bigger issues you may have noticed with their partner as well, like if their partner has been gaslighting them or showing other toxic traits.

Talkative friend concept. Young black woman tired of her girlfriend talking non-stop while they sitting together on sofa at home

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Try to Keep It Lighthearted

People tend to shut down when you come at them directly with a problem, especially while we're young. So instead of jumping straight into an intervention-style conversation, it might be better to drop in the problems you've noticed in a more casual way. If possible, try using examples from popular media or even a podcast you may listen to in order to bring up whatever issue you've noticed in your friend's relationship. When in doubt, it's okay to play it dumb—think mentioning "I can't believe they would get back together after he cheated on her" if you know that your friend did the exact same thing, or another comparable situation that could be discussed casually.

A group of three teen girls smiles at each other

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Remember To Listen and Offer Support

When you try your best to see your friend's point of view (even if they're wrong), it'll help you to shift the conversation in ways that may help them understand your perspective. If all else fails, just remind them that no matter what happens with their relationship, you're always there for them and they're an amazing person single or not. After all, being single really isn't so bad! In fact, we've got some reasons why being the single friend is actually pretty great—just click HERE to read.


All in all, it's never going to be easy to help your friend see the problems within their relationship—and it might be even harder to get them to actually do something about it. But it's all worth it in the end, and the tips above can certainly help. Passing them along a few resources can help as well, whether that be books on dating or simply some more online articles.


If you think your friend's issues stem from their anxious dating style, click HERE to read about what it's like to date with anxiety.