What to say when your friend is dating someone who’s using them

Handling conversations with friends can be delicate, especially when it comes to sensitive topics like their relationships. When your friend is dating someone who’s using them, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy and tact. You want to support your friend without being too pushy or judgmental. Here are some strategies and example sentences to help you navigate these tricky conversations.

First, acknowledge your friend’s feelings and validate their emotions. Let them know that you care about their well-being and are there to support them. You can say:

Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been going through a tough time in your relationship. I want you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what.


I can tell you’re really invested in this relationship, and I want to support you, even if it means just being a listening ear.

Next, express your concerns in a non-accusatory way. Avoid making your friend feel defensive or attacked, as this can lead to them becoming more entrenched in the toxic relationship. Instead, focus on specific behaviors or actions that have raised your concerns. You can say:

I’ve noticed that your partner has been canceling plans at the last minute a lot lately. How does that make you feel?


I’ve seen some pretty controlling behavior from your partner on social media. Have you talked to them about how that makes you feel?

It’s also essential to encourage your friend to reflect on their own feelings and boundaries. Help them identify what they want and need in a relationship, and what they’re willing to tolerate. You can ask:

What are your non-negotiables in a relationship? Are there any deal-breakers for you?


How do you feel when your partner does/says X, Y, Z? Does that align with what you want for yourself?

Offer resources and support without being pushy. Let your friend know that you’re there to help them explore their options, whether that means couples therapy or individual counseling. You can say:

If you ever want to talk to a professional about what you’re going through, I’m happy to help you find someone or go with you to a session.


I’ve heard great things about this support group for people in toxic relationships. Would you be interested in checking it out?

Remember to respect your friend’s boundaries and decisions, even if you disagree with them. Avoid being judgmental or critical, as this can drive them further into the toxic relationship. You can say:

I understand that you’re not ready to leave the relationship yet, and I respect that. Just know that I’m here for you whenever you need me.


I may not agree with your decision to stay in the relationship, but I want you to know that I’m here to support you, no matter what.

Lastly, be prepared to have multiple conversations with your friend, as it may take time for them to come to terms with the reality of their situation. Be patient, empathetic, and supportive, and remember that your role is to support, not to fix the situation.

In conclusion, navigating conversations with friends in toxic relationships requires empathy, tact, and patience. By using I statements, expressing concerns in a non-accusatory way, and encouraging your friend to reflect on their feelings and boundaries, you can support them in finding the strength to make positive changes in their life. Remember to respect their boundaries and decisions, even if you disagree with them. With time, patience, and support, your friend can find the courage to take control of their relationships and their lives.

Be kind ❤

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