Tempestuousness

11 Nov

Dear LetterBalm: This started out as nothing, but it’s become serious, and I need help. My best friend “Clarissa” was having problems with her boyfriend “Jake.” They’ve been together a long time, and I know both of them well. Their relationship has had its ups and downs. After a serious fight recently, Jake came to me to talk about it several times and see what he could do about making things right with Clarissa. A few days ago, she confronted me and accused me of wanting to steal Jake! Believe me, I’m not at all interested in Jake romantically, and I’d never date him. Clarissa and he are meant for each other, everyone knows that. Now, she’s really angry and not speaking to me. I’m afraid our friendship is damaged. What can I say?

–BFF, Yes?

Ms. L.B. has a hunch this isn’t the first time Clarissa and Jack have dragged you into their drama. Not to make light of her distress, but their relationship doesn’t stand much chance of success if they keep up their jealousies and insecurities. Your best defense is to remain calm and reassuring in the face of Clarissa’s latest histrionics. Give your friend time to cool down, then call her and arrange to meet on neutral ground. Stick to the basics, and remember that you have leverage because, at heart, you’re her best friend and she really doesn’t want to lose you:

Clarissa, thanks for meeting me. I know you’ve been upset that Jake and I have been spending time together. He wanted to talk about making things better with you, and he needed a neutral ear. Sweetie, you know me better than anyone. I love you as my best friend. Do you honestly think I’d try to steal Jake from you? He’s yours, and everybody knows you two belong together. But I gotta say, it makes me feel sad that you go through such pain in your relationship. You might think about talking with a professional who can help you work out some things that cause you grief. You love Jake and he loves you. You guys should be happy together.

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