We all want the best for our friends. We want them to be with someone who has a great heart, and treats them like gold.
Unfortunately, they don't always choose the people who value them in the way that we want them to. One of the hardest things in the world is to stand by and watch your friend get hurt, or know that they are going to end up heartbroken and have no choice but to tag along helplessly on the roller coaster ride of emotions leading to the inevitable heartbreak that awaits them. You want to jump in and stop the madness. You want to protect your friend. No matter what, they will do whatever they want to do and you can't change their mind. With that in mind, here are the things you should and shouldn't do while trying to be a friend to someone who deserves better than the person that they are with.
Do: Be there to listen to them vent.
They will want to talk about their significant other a lot. They will vent and tell you all of the negative aspects of their relationship. It will get tiring, and you will get frustrated, but you need to put your opinions aside and just listen to them. They need to be heard, they need support. They know they're being irrational, they know they shouldn't be dealing with such poor treatment. Just listen to what they have to say.
Don't: Tell them that you don't want to hear about that person anymore.
Never cut them off. Don't tell your friend that they can't talk to you about their significant other. As much as the situation may frustrate you, don't turn your back on helping them through it. They need you. Be a true friend, and stick it out with them. Let them know they aren't in it alone. I know that it's so difficult to watch your friend suffer, but be there for them, listen, never shut them out, and have faith in the fact that they will see clearly one day.
Do: Give them tough love.
You don't have to sit back and let them hurt. When they give you the opportunity, give them sound advice. This doesn't mean that you have to lecture them, but offer them insight to the situation. They are so engulfed in their toxic relationship that they are unable to see clearly, or see anything else for that matter because they are so close to the situation. If they ask you what you think, or what they should do, tell them your honest opinion.
Don't: Tell them what to do.
You can offer advice, but don't tell them how to live their life or get angry at them for not handling their situation the way you think it should be handled. You're not in their shoes, you don't know what it's truly like. Any advice you're giving to your friend is easier said than done. Not to mention, a person is going to do what they want to do regardless of what you have to say about it. Be there, listen, and give helpful advice when needed, but don't boss your friend around.
Do: Have empathy.
It is so easy to get frustrated with your friends when they put themselves in situations that aren't beneficial for them, to put it lightly. It will put a strain on your relationship. It will wear on you as a person and on your friendship, and in those moments that you are at the end of your rope with your friend, I ask you to have empathy. Put yourself in their position, realize that whoever is treating them badly is also manipulating them in an extreme way. You only hear about the negatives, but you don't get to see the reason's why your friend is staying. You aren't there to see the good times that your friend will cling to while trying to justify the relationship. Believe your friend. When they tell you that you don't understand what he or she is like when they're alone, believe them. After all, there has to be a reason your friend is sticking around through the madness.
Don't: Don't talk badly about your friend.
As I have mentioned, it is obviously frustrating to have to deal with a friend who is with someone you don't like. Your friendship will get rocky, and when that happens I ask that you don't talk badly about your friend. We're all human here, but there is no benefit to talking to others about their situation.
Be a true friend, through and through.