I have definitely said, “You can do better” to a friend before and I have also had it said to me. I realize it is a friend trying to support, compliment, and look out for you. That’s how I meant it when I said it, along with “You deserve so much better” and “Forget him, he’s nothing but bad news anyway”. What I’m also willing to admit is that I’m passing along a lot of judgment while saying these ‘encouraging’ comments (read: critiques).
I’m judging her taste and ability to choose lovers/boyfriends by calling them ‘bad news’. I’m telling her that she has no authority over her own life and I’m going to make better decisions for her since she can’t seem to pick the right guy for herself. I’m judging her self -confidence and worth by telling her what I think she deserves; how much I think she is worth. All in all, I’m criticizing her personal choices.
I’m also telling her that our friendship is no longer a safe place to openly be herself. I’m telling her that this friendship is about me. I am not here for her to voice her concerns and lessen her burdens. I am here to praise myself for not making the same foolish mistakes that I am judging you for from where I sit on my high horse. I’m telling her to not trust me with her vulnerability.
She knows any other girl would try and leave him, but her feelings are outweighing her logic. And Love is rarely logically. She doesn’t need her friends pointing out the logical and less ’embarrassing’ option. She needs support so that she never feels trapped or shamed. She needs support so that she can finally come to a new decision on her own in due time. Or she might never change her mind! And then she has to choose between you and him. Trust me, you’ll lose her then because she will always choose Love.
So when I tell her “Wise up, he’s no good for you” I’m also telling her “Wise up, I’m not much better.” Because if a friend needs to tear you down in order to build themselves up, then that’s not a friend you need to be around.