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Sadie Says

Dear Sadie,

I have a dilemma. My best friend is cheating on her boyfriend and has been pretty much since they got together a year ago. I usually just operate under the “it’s not my relationship, it’s not my problem” line of thinking when dealing with these kinds of things, but recently I’ve started hanging out with her boyfriend more (we have a class together now). I can’t help but feel awful. He’s a genuinely sweet guy who doesn’t deserve to be treated the way she treats him. He really has no idea about it either — he always talks about how great she is and how much she loves him, and I can’t help but feel icky. I don’t want to stop being his or her friend; I just want to stop feeling so weird. I can’t tell my friend to stop cheating, and even if I asked her to stop telling me about it, I’d still know that it is happening, so what do I do? If I tell him, he might not believe me, and then I’ll look like a horrible person, and if he does believe me, he’d probably break up with her, and I would lose her friendship. What do I do?

Confused Carrie

Dear Carrie,

This is a tough one, and I’m afraid there really is no way not to feel “icky” about the whole thing if you continue your friendship with both of them. As you get closer to your best friend’s guy, you’ll just feel worse and worse about knowing her indiscretions and eventually lose respect and liking of your bestie for hurting someone else who is now close to you.

That said, it really isn’t your place to tell the boyfriend. As you said, there’s the chance that he won’t believe you, and at that point, your do-gooder action loses you two friends. And if he does believe you and leaves her over it, your best friend may never forgive you for what she might see as a slight against her. Telling him is a lose-lose situation all around.

If you really do want to continue to be friends with both your best friend and her boyfriend, my advice is to pick one and loosen up your friendship with the other because you can’t be that close to both of them and help (by proxy) one cheat on the other. It might seem unfair, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. More than likely, your friend’s relationship with this guy will come to an end at some point. She’s been cheating since the beginning, and that’s never a good sign. When or if it comes down to them splitting up someday, who would you rather be friends with? Who are you closer to? Who can you rely on more? Ask yourself these questions, and don’t hang out as much with the other person. You’ll find that keeping an acquaintance in the dark about something like this is a lot less heavy on the conscience than keeping it from a close friend.

All my best,

Sadie

Dear Sadie,

One of my guy friends just recently told me that he likes me (romantically) and wants to date me. I have absolutely no feelings for him that aren’t platonic. We’ve been friends for a few years now, and he’s never before indicated that he might like me as more than a friend. Suffice to say, I was a bit shocked by this new development. I haven’t really talked to him much since he told me, and I hate avoiding him like this because we usually hang out all the time. So basically, how can I let my guy friend down easy but still be his friend?

Friend Zone Farrah

Dear Farrah,

Just be straight up and honest with him. Don’t beat around the bush or lead him on with false hope (i.e., telling him that you aren’t into him now rather than saying that you aren’t into him period). Tell him that you value his friendship immensely and like him as a person, but you just don’t feel the same way about him. Then give him space for a few days. Rejection hurts no matter how you phrase it, so leave him to his own devices for a bit before trying to hang out again. Then hang out again and revel in the friendliness.

A word going forward: do not act differently toward him. Catch yourself if you find yourself being more distant or acting strangely toward him. It probably took a lot of guts for him to tell you what he did. He’d probably been mulling over it for a few days (if not longer), and he put himself completely out there. Just keep being friendly toward him, and let him know through your actions that his revelation doesn’t have to change the dynamic between you two just because you don’t feel the same way about him. Keep in mind that he may want to distance himself a bit after this whole thing, and that is completely OK.

So remember: Be up-front and honest while remaining kind. Give him a bit of space, and keep acting as you usually do.

All my best,

Sadie