One of the toughest questions you can ask yourself is how to tell your friend her boyfriend is a dick. Especially if you have romantic feelings for her. It’s a delicate situation. You’re risking your friend’s happiness, as well as your friendship with them. How can you be sure it’s the right thing to do?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is “Is he really a dick?”. The fact you have romantic feelings for her could be clouding your judgement. You need to decide if him being a jerk affects her. For all you know, he might be horrible to everyone but fantastic to your friend. So before making any hasty actions, give the guy a chance. Try to understand their relationship and if it’s working for them.

The most important thing you need to do is take your romantic feelings towards your friend out of the equation. As her friend, you need to do whatever is best for her. If you’re not romantically interested in her, then it’s a bit easier. However you’ll still need to be cautious in case she takes your warnings as a sign of you being interested in her.

Find evidence

If her boyfriend is a dick, you should start keeping track. You can’t just go up to her and say “I just don’t like him.” or “I just have a bad feeling about it.” These are vague and doesn’t help support you. Even if your whole friendship group decide they have a “bad feeling” if there’s no solid evidence in his behaviour, your friend is unlikely to receive the information well.

Recording evidence doesn’t mean you need to film him or anything like that. Unless he’s cheating on her, then you should get picture proof. Instead, make notes of anything horrible he does. Don’t forget that this stuff is all subjective to a certain degree. If you’ve made a list of only two or three small things such as “He’s rude to waiters” or ” Spends all his time playing video games” your argument is going to come across as desperate.

If your friend comes crying to you when he’s done something bad to her, make note of it. You can bring these facts up when you confront her. Events that genuinely upset her or those that constantly crop up.  If you do make a list, perhaps share it with a mutual, trustworthy friend to go over and decide if you’re right about the boyfriend or not.

Confronting your friend

Confronting is a very strong word. It sounds hostile, as if you’re getting into a fight. You do want to bring it up with her, but you should do it in a more gentle way. The most important thing is to do it face to face. This isn’t a subject you can just send in a text or facebook message. Tell her you want to meet up for coffee for a talk.

When you meet up with your friend there’s two ways to go about the issue. You can bring it up straight away, or you can ease into the topic. Getting straight to the point can be intimidating and put her on guard. However if you think the situation is serious and you’re really worried about her, it can really highlight how serious you are.

For the most part, I recommend going the gentle route. You can start by asking her how things are going with her. Just see how her life is getting on. Is she happy? If she brings up her relationship problems, then listen to her. You can then voice your own concerns, bringing up the facts you’ve collected to back yourself up.

It can be very hard to tell a friend you think their partner is bad for them. After all, it’s not your business. You need to tell her that as her friend, you’re concerned. Don’t forget, you’re simply telling her your opinions.

Don’t ask her to do anything

It can be really tempting to tell your friend she needs to break up with her asshole boyfriend. After all, that’s the best option isn’t it? However people are more complicated than that. If you push them to do something, it’ll make them want to not do it. People are rebellious. They don’t like being told what to do.

By giving her the facts and voicing your concern you’re doing what you can as her friend. You don’t really have any options beyond that. Her relationship is between her and her boyfriend. You need to let her have time for the information to sink in. It’s up to her to decide where she wants to go from there.

The best thing you can do is be supportive. As her friend, she needs to know that you’ll be there for her. That includes if she decides to stay with him. If she decides staying with her boyfriend will make her happiest, you need to learn to be ok with it. If not ok, at least not to bring it up and antagonise her in the future.

You don’t have to like him. But you do like her. So be what she needs you to be. It might be hard, because you believe he’s not right for her. But that’s not your choice to make. If the situation becomes worse for her later on, then you can bring it up again then.