The Right Way to Be Brutally Honest With Your BFF

For most of us, there's often a scary, invisible line that exists between telling your best friend you hate her favorite jeans and telling her you hate her significant other. She may be your closest confidant, but when it comes to being 100 percent honest about the touchy things, you often shy away from telling her how you really feel out of fear of being insensitive or harsh. Every relationship needs open and honest communication in order to function. One of the worst things that can happen is when either of you holds back on telling the other something she really needs to hear. Keep quiet, and you could run the risk of drifting apart or seeing her get hurt.

While it's important to have these tough conversations to sustain the relationship, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Whether you want to address her dead-end romantic relationship or warn her about her obvious fast track to financial ruin, below are a few tips on how to dole out the cold, harsh truth.

Know when to speak up

First, it's important to identify if an issue is really necessary to bring up or if it's better to just keep quiet and move on. Is the issue at hand truly about her and her well-being? Or is it about you? Dig deep and figure out if your concerns about her worrisome habits or unhealthy relationship are legitimate or if you're prioritizing your own insecurities or selfish needs by addressing them. If it's the latter, it may be best to solve these issues on your own.

Delivery is key

Now that you've identified what has value in sharing, the next step is addressing it together with her. There are a variety of ways you can bring it up. You can send a text and ask her to meet up for the two of you to talk alone. You can write her a heartfelt letter that she can read and digest privately. You can show up at her door when she's free with a smile and a bottle of wine. Whatever the scenario, these thoughts should come from you directly and not delivered through a mutual friend or third person.

Don't attack her character

During the conversation, try to steer clear of judgment. Instead of starting the discussion with accusations of her being completely selfish or making the totally wrong choice, keep it centered on your sincere concerns for her using I-statements: "I care about you and don't want to see you end up in a bad situation" or "I'm really bothered by your recent habit and fear it may have a negative impact on your future." This way, it's less of an aggressive confrontation of her fault in character.

Listen and be open minded

Once you've offered your opinion, give her an opportunity to share her point of view, even if it takes a while. She may get immediately defensive, or she may choose to ignore you for a few weeks. Whatever the case, allow her the chance to process what you brought up and react in her own way and in her own time. When she's ready to discuss, lend an open ear — and an open mind.

Let her know you're there for her

Last, but certainly not least, make sure she knows that you're there for her and willing to provide whatever support she needs. It's worth reiterating that you value her immensely as a friend and are shedding light on the issue because you only want the best for her.

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