How To Tell a Friend About Their Relationship Red Flags

An image of friends discussing red flags in a relationship. The entire background is light teal, and two female friends are sitting on a dark teal couch, chatting over coffee.

How To Handle Red Flags in a Relationship That Isn’t Yours

When done right, friendship is a mutually beneficial dynamic in which both parties enjoy each other’s company and want to see each other grow, thrive, and achieve their dreams. This is a sweet and tender connection to have with someone, but like all good things, it takes work. Friendship isn’t always easy, but it’s usually worth pursuing.

While it might not seem so initially, telling your friend that you’re concerned for them can be a delicate task. When people hear that someone is worried about them, it can make them feel extremely vulnerable, and most people don’t respond to vulnerability in a productive or gentle way. That alone can strain a friendship.

And when you add in another volatile element, such as telling a friend that the source of your concern is some red flags in a relationship that they’re in, the stakes get even higher. Romance is an aspect of life with so much cultural pressure that people are even more likely to react poorly.

Luckily, there are some ways to strategically navigate this situation. By approaching the conversation carefully, you can hopefully make it easier for everyone involved if you decide to tell a friend that you’re concerned for their wellbeing because of the red flags in a relationship of theirs.

Consider Your Motivations

First, take some time to consider your own feelings. It’s important to reflect on whether you are truly worried about your friend or whether you just don’t like their partner. It can be hard to understand why a friend would choose a partner you dislike, but it’s important that your friends feel supported by you even when you don’t understand or agree with their choices. Spend time analyzing whether the things you’re seeing are real red flags in a relationship or if this person just irritates you.

A good exercise, which can help you fight confirmation bias, is to challenge yourself to find something positive about your friend’s partner. This will help you be more empathetic, and it can give you a better understanding of your friend’s perspective. Not liking your friend’s partner is tough, but it’s ultimately different from needing to alert a friend to the red flags in a relationship of theirs. If you’re really struggling to tell, you can also get an outside perspective from someone with insight, whether that be a therapist or a spiritual guide like a Love Psychic.

Starting the Conversation About Red Flags in a Relationship

If you still feel genuinely concerned for your friend after you’ve stopped to reflect, then the next step is to find a time to connect with them one-on-one. Doing this in-person is ideal, but if that’s not an option, a video or phone call works too. The one method of communication to avoid is text. Text is risky because there are many elements to communication that can’t be identified through text, including tone of voice, body language, and pace, among many other things.

Try to start your conversation with open-ended questions. For instance, you could ask your friend how their partner is doing or how they’re feeling in the relationship. If they start to talk about things that concern you, ask them some more specific questions about those details — have they shared their feelings with their partner? If so, how did it go? If not, do they want to? Why?

Hold off on sharing your opinion right away. Immediately saying that you’ve spotted red flags in a relationship they’re in could just overwhelm them. Instead, give your friend space to expand on their experiences and feelings. Try to get a clearer picture of what support they might need and what headspace they’re in.

Ease Into Sharing Your Thoughts

As you learn more about the situation, try reflecting your understanding back to them. You can say things like “you seem confused” or “you seem unsure,” depending on how they describe their situation. If you’re worried about making your friend feel boxed in, you can always preface your statements with disclaimers like “correct me if I’m wrong” or “I may be off base here…”

This is an especially important tactic because if you use harsh language that maybe seems judgmental of your friend’s partner, they’ll probably feel compelled to come to their partner’s defense. That can hinder your long-term goal of helping them identify the red flags in a relationship they’re in, as it will actually reinforce the relationship in their mind instead of causing them to question it.

At this point, try to gauge whether your friend is in the right mindset to hear your opinion. If it seems like a good idea, go ahead and gently offer your thoughts. Try to use phrases like “I’m feeling a little concerned for you” or “this doesn’t sound like the best situation.” This is the time to communicate that you think that your friend is experiencing some red flags in a relationship. However, don’t call their partner names or tell them how they should proceed. While your intentions may be good, your friend is probably feeling tender right now. Such intense declarations may hurt more than they help.

The exception here is if you think your friend is in danger. In that case, you should still choose your words carefully, but you may want to include some slightly stronger messaging, like “I’m worried about you. I don’t want you to get hurt.” You can also try to find a way to gently ask if they’ve thought about what leaving the relationship might look like and if they want help or support doing that.

Treat Yourself With Compassion Too

Remember that your friend may not take your advice, and that’s out of your control. As long as you’ve done your best to listen to your friend, gently offered your honest feedback, and will continue to make space for them to share their feelings, the rest is up to them.

It can be hard to tell a friend that you’re worried about their wellbeing due to the red flags in a relationship they’re in. Remember to give yourself time and space to decompress and recuperate. It is easy to second-guess or scold yourself, especially if things didn’t go the way you were hoping. As long as you’ve done the necessary reflection and communication, and are motivated by care and love, you do not need to look for reasons that you’re the problem. If you’ve made a mistake somewhere along the way, you can always apologize. No one will be perfect in this situation — that’s to be expected. Treat yourself with the same kindness and care that you’re trying to show your friend.

There’s nothing worse than romantic uncertainty, but you don’t have to navigate the ebbs and flows of love alone. A Love Psychic is always available to help and a Psychic Love Reading is exactly what you need to get your relationship on the path to forever. Learn more about our psychics from real testimonials. For more insight about love and your astrological chart, get your free birth chart report or check out your Weekly Love Horoscope.

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