Skip to Content

Worried that your friend is in an unhealthy relationship? Here’s how to help


There’s always those friends you can talk to about anything – from the cute boy you saw at the supermarket to the weird rash on your armpit. But no matter how close your friendship is, nothing will stop how confused you’ll feel when you see your friends going through an unhealthy relationship. You know you need sit them down and have a talk with them, but you’re not really sure how to go about it.

But when you do take the time to talk to them, keep these things in mind:

  1. Check for signs of an unhealthy relationship

Not all unhealthy relationships involve physical abuse. Two years ago, it was reported that nearly 60% of all women have reported being in an abusive relationship and out of that 60%, 94% have reported emotional abuse.  Look for signs of controlling behavior, like the demand of all your friend’s time, as well as off-handed put-downs and name-calling.

  1. Make sure to offer support

We’ve all been in the situation with our friends where we tell them exactly what we don’t like about their significant other – “He’s too crass,” or “She doesn’t have a good sense of humor!” – but when it comes time to sitting your friend down and talking to them about their unhealthy relationship, do not put down their partner. If you’re throwing out snide remarks about them about why he or she isn’t a good person, then your friend will refuse to listen to you. How would you feel if someone continually put down the person you loved?

Make sure your friend knows that you’re there to help, not judge. Judgment is one thing that will turn your friend against you and your words immediately.

You need to be patient with your friend; they might not open up right away but it’s always essential that they know your door is open to them. It’ll take time for them to be ready to talk about it, just let them know you’re there.

Often times, women in these unhealthy relationships are reported saying that the reason they do not leave the relationship is because of love. Love makes people do crazy things, but it’s your responsibility to help your friend in making sure this isn’t one of those crazy things.

If your friend needs more help then you are able to give, have them talk to the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1−800−799−7233, where they have trained advocates to take calls toll-free. They can also contact New Beginnings help line at 206-522-9472.

Trust your gut instinct when it comes to problems like unhealthy relationships. Talk to your friend with carefulness and ease, but make sure they know that they are loved and that you care for them. That is, perhaps, the best way to help them.

Photo via Flickr

About the Author

Anna Bailey

Anna attends Creighton University and is majoring in English and Communications. She loves watching Downton Abbey, reading Robert Frost, and listening to Between The Trees. She hopes to one day work in the music industry as an Artist Manager.