Q&A: Friendships

September 8, 2014

I have a friend who has a overly controlling and jealous boyfriend. What is the best approach for this situation if the girl knows the situation she is in but feels she cannot talk to him about it?

This sounds stressful. Although it’s hard to fully understand a situation from two sentences, these are potentially signs of someone who could become abusive, so I’m really glad you asked.

Has your friend asked for your help? Does she recognize how problematic this is? It sounds as if she has and does, which makes your job as her friend much easier. Support her to speak to him. This is really the only answer, besides just ending the relationship. If she feels she cannot speak to him because he will be hurt, support her concerns but remind her that all relationships sometimes involve hurt feelings, particularly in the case of one person needing to call another on inappropriate/unwanted behavior. If it’s a good and healthy relationship, though, the people in it can both take constructive feedback without blowing up or having a fit. Feeling afraid to call someone on this type of behavior is another warning sign that this situation could become abusive, if it’s not already.

In practical terms, one way she can bring it up is via email. Sometimes it’s easier to write our feelings out, and it gives the other person time to process them. And it’s always good to focus on your own feelings when writing such an email: “When you check my text messages, it makes me feel like you don’t trust me or respect my privacy. It hurts my feelings and invades my space.” It is harder for any reasonable person to get angry if you are speaking about your own feelings, and it means there’s a greater chance for constructive dialogue.

If the person cannot hear this kind of critique without losing it, they have a problem, and your friend needs to end the relationship and get away. Check out http://survivorsupport.berkeley.edu/ for more resources – Sarah

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One of my friends is always too “busy” to hang out but I see her on FB and IG hanging out with other folks. Should I keep checking in with her to see when/what hanging out might work with us or is she trying to give me a hint that she doesn’t want to be my friend any more??


Friendship is a two-way street and reciprocity is definitely important in building/maintaining a relationship. That being said, if you are the one continuously reaching out, Mama Luv would suggest holding off for now. Perhaps your friend is busy with prior plans that she made, but if she is interested in maintaining your friendship, she will initiate a hang out. In the meantime, be sure to use your precious time by making new friends or building new relationships! Keep your chin up, strut with confidence, and shake what your mama gave ya! Mama Luv is here to help.

Mama Luv