Misbehaving Best Friend
Q: This past weekend my fiancé and I had a get together at our place. Both his and my friends were there. One of my fiancés best friends is known to be a bit of a flirt. He has a girlfriend, but that hasnt stopped him before. Ive seen him flirting with waitresses in front of his girlfriend. Anyway, while the party went on in the other room, I excused myself to go into the kitchen to prepare the dessert. While there, this friend of my fiancés walked in and began talking to me. He was very close to me and kept touching me on the shoulder. He eventually said something pretty inappropriate about the dress I was wearing, and the whole scenario made me really uncomfortable. Im debating on whether I should tell my fiancé or not. Part of me wants to because I really dont want to ever tolerate that nonsense, especially in my home. Then theres that part of me that worries that it could mess up their friendship.-Brittany, 25
Dr. Anna: I am 100% with you. You absolutely should not tolerate that nonsense. Its unfortunate that your fiancés friend did that. In the moment, it is okay to be calm and direct and stop unwanted comments in their tracks. You could say something like, The way you are standing too close, touching my shoulder, and speaking to me is making me uncomfortable. Please back off. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using your voice to enforce and maintain your own personal space and boundaries. You can also consider enlisting the help of your fiancé. Why keep it a secret from him? Tell him what happened without being overly dramatic and ask him if hes willing to keep an eye on his friend next time. Its okay to tell him you dont need him to protect youyou can take care of yourselfbut that youd like his help in avoiding future similar situations.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.