Breakin’ Dishes


Dear Dharma,

I am not the kind of person that asks for advice but I read your column and I think you are phenomenal at showing people a couple of options.

I’ve been known as the “brutally honest friend” ever since high school.  My friends would ask me “how is my makeup?” or “how is my dress?” knowing they would get a very honest straight up answer.

Having said that I need your advice in a situation where I know a very honest opinion from me can hurt a very good friend of mine.

Recently my friend came over with her husband for dinner. I was avoiding the encounter because I met the guy before and is a complete asshole. She was insistent to meet my new boyfriend, so I finally gave in and she came over with the jackass.

In a moment when the guys were chatting outside, my friend’s husband confided to my boyfriend what he does when they get into a fight. Let’s just say the way he calms down is with a prostitute. He also made very disrespectful comments about women that we know.

I’ve decided after much thought that she needs to know.

How do I tell this to my friend?

A Very Honest Friend

Dear Honest Friend,

Another Rihanna song, and a tough spot indeed.

It’s great when friends can respect you for your candidness, as that has seldom been my experience.  Often people don’t like the truth, but perhaps it’s all in the delivery…

I agree with you – your friend needs to know how her husband cools off, both for the sake of her health, and the fact that being a john is, well you know, illegal.

This information needs to be delivered oh so gently and in a completely non-judgmental way.  You need to be calm when you tell her, because if you escalate, she may go in the opposite direction in defense of him.  In other words, if you are hysterical and accusing of her jackass – I mean, husband – she may just shut down and think you are overreacting.

I would start by saying you’ve been troubled for some time now, and you weren’t quite sure how to go about telling her, but when they were last here for dinner her husband shared some information with your boyfriend that… concerned you.

I would say to her that maybe it was just guy talk, maybe it was blown out of proportion, but nonetheless you thought it was something she should be aware of.  That way you are giving her a bit of an out as to how to react, but you have indeed planted the seed.

I’m guessing the reaction you want is that she go nuclear on him and maybe even dump his douche-y ass… but I don’t think that is going to happen immediately.  Very few people are that quick to take an action of such severity (not saying he doesn’t deserve it), so you may just need to be patient as she absorbs this information and decides what to do with it.

By staying calm with her, you are giving her a safe haven, a place where she won’t be judged and feel stupid for trusting this guy.  This will allow her to confide with you in down the road, when she is probably going to need it most.

From there on, it’s all in her court.  Harping at her could very likely push her away, so let her handle things the way she’s going to handle things.

There is, of course, the possibility that she doesn’t believe you and that the friendship suffers.  That’s something you need to weigh before telling her – are you willing to take that risk?

I would be.  Because I believe, in time, she would find her way back to you once she can no longer deny that the man she married is a jerk.


p.s. thank you for the kind words… I know that the giving and receiving of advice is seldom black and white, so it’s nice to have options.  Oh! And I have to ask, is my skirt too short?  🙂


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  • VivienneH says:

    for sure you have to tell her. if it was you, wouldn’t you just die if no one told you?
    she may not take it well, but who cares? she needs to have this information.

  • Vern says:

    Unless this guy is some kind of kindred pathological lying spirit to the women from the last letter, it’s not just “guy talk”. because really, this isn’t something most guys would be eager to share with random strangers. So assume it is true, and then imagine it was your boyfriend who confided to your friends husband, would you want to know? Forget the legal issues for a moment, what about health issues? Every time she yells at him for not wiping his feet, he gets a $10 blowjob from a toothless meth addict behind a dumpster? (at least that’s what I heard, I don’t KNOW of course).
    The problem I see would be if your friend has picked up on your dislike for hubby by now, and will attribute anything you say to just trying to split them up.

    • Dharma says:

      I think it is very strange that he would choose such a close connection to “confide” in… did he honestly think the information would stop there? What a piece of work.

  • Doug says:

    Wow. My relationship now seems… normal….

  • Human says:

    I agree with the last commenter about that not being ‘guy talk’. I also hope your boyfriend called him out on being a useless douche. I’m a guy, and if any guy said that to me – ANY guy, I don’t care if I know him at all – he’d be out of my house and life immediately.

    It doesn’t even matter if it’s true or not . If it’s true, then there’s too many reasons to list as to why you need to tell her. What she does with the information is her choice. If it’s not true, then he thinks that it’s somehow cool, or impressive, to pretend it is true when talking with other guys, which still means he somehow thinks it’s acceptable, which it isn’t, on any level, even if he’s just making it up. A guy boasting about doing something awful – whether he did it or not – is still condoning the behaviour, and anyone that thinks that behaviour is something to boast about needs some professional help, and is not fit for a committed relationship of any kind.

    Also, he said a bunch of other disrespectful stuff too right? About women you know? Even if it was just about women in general (which it is, really) isn’t it clear this guy is a mysogynistic piece of crap that will hurt your friend? What you’re talking about are what I would call the warning signs of abuse – emotional for sure, but also potentially physical. This smear of a human being clearly has no respect for women. So yes, you need to find a way to speak to her about it in a way that she will really HEAR what you’re saying and know you’re telling her out of love, and you do have to tell her, for sure, because if he hurts her you’d never forgive yourself.

    Maybe, if you think your dislike for him has tainted your ability to talk to her about it, your boyfriend should be the one to tell her – after all, it was your boyfriend that Douchey McGee was bragging to about it. Honestly, I don’t know how you tell her, but not telling her shouldn’t be an option. She needs to know.

    • Dharma says:

      Interesting suggestion to have the boyfriend tell her friend… he may have more “credibility” since he hasn’t shown signs of immense dislike for Douchey McGee… Thanks for the comment and for sharing your opinions!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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