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Context

My friend (f) is trying to start another long distance relationship with a second person in our extended group of friends (I am neither of these people). The first relationship (w/ Person 1) had been going on for a month when the new one seems to have started and still seems to be going well. The new one (w/ Person 2) she is trying to develop is with one of that person's IRL friends who knows about the first relationship. I sense that most of the people involved will get hurt when this eventually comes out, and I would like to avoid that. The issue comes in that I am not sure how to approach her about this, since this is a personal topic. I am worried that being too direct about this could be seen as being rude or judgemental and damage our friendship, but I see a problem brewing here and would like to try to intervene before things go south.

Some Notes and Background

  • This group of people is a mix of a few sets of IRL friends and a few other people
  • The IRL friend in question and I both live in the US while Persons 1 and 2 live in Australia. I don't see there being much of a cultural issue here.
  • We are all older high school students, but not exactly social butterflies.
  • She seems conflicted over the whole thing, but still seems to be pursuing both relationships
  • I haven't tried/done anything yet and the approaches I have thought of seem likely to offend her, but I could be wrong and a direct statement may be the best idea. I am not sure how I would do that from a cold open though.
  • I have a few other IRL friends in this group, but it is only those two in their IRL group
  • We mainly interact through a Discord server that I own, with the information on my friend's relationships coming from a locked channel that only me, my IRL friend in question, one of my very good IRL friends, and another internet friend having access to. Neither Person 1 or 2 have access or will ever likely gain access.
  • The best outcome for me would be to keep all of these people as friends, but my IRL friend is my highest priority, with Person 1 being second since I have personally known him for longer. Any response that would negatively impact my relationship with my very good IRL friend would be a no-go, but I could possibly get him on board with a solution to this.
  • I am not seeking a relationship with my IRL friend, I just want this situation to be resolved well.
  • I am very worried that if I simply say that I think this is a bad idea, she would be upset with me. This assumption could be incorrect though, I am not sure

Finally...

My Question

How do I tell this friend that this may not be a particularly good idea in such a way that I am able to get my point across without damaging our friendship? No action may be the best option, but I would like your input.

  • Hey J Cover. Interesting question. But the notes and information you are giving are more of the nature of who is connected to what extend in this network, and it is still very confusing (at least FMPOV). You mention kicking people as part of the solution, how would kicking someone from a discord server help you telling you friend how you think about this? Since you are asking us for how best to tell your friend, could you try to focus a bit more on what actually is the hurdle with telling her? As right now it reads more like you are trying to convince us and want us to help convincing her. – dhein Feb 11 at 6:07
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    Depending on your friend and your relationship with her, broaching the topic may inevitably lead to a dent or break in the friendship regardless of the tone you use. Are you prepared for such an eventuality? If not, it may be better to stay out of it altogether. – Flater Feb 11 at 9:41
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    The question title asserts that she getting into a long distance relationship isn't a good idea. I tried looking for why so, but couldn't find that in the body of the question. Would you mind describing why you think it's not likely to be good for her? And also, why you think it's your responsibility to warn her? – Lost Soul Feb 11 at 11:16
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    Do you have reason to believe their first ldr is not aware of and okay with the second one? – AsheraH Feb 11 at 11:58
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    But is the problem that your friend is pursuing another long-distance relationship, or that she's pursuing two relationships at once? And is the intention of your friend and Person 2 that Person 1 be kept in the dark about all of this? – Upper_Case Feb 11 at 19:29
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I’ve learned that telling people I disagree about something is always going to carry the chance of upsetting them. It’s just going to be a risk; whether or not it’s worth it is up to you and your considerations.

If you do decide to tell them, and feel they’re open enough, they’ll listen to your concerns. They might disagree with it, but trust and bonds are formed with mutual respect and comfort in being able to have civil disagreements.

It’s very important you word your argument in a helpful, non-accusatory format. You want your friend to know you understand their feelings and want to help them... not blame them.

So in your particular case you could phrase something like:

I feel that X and Y (person) might discover they’re both in a relationship with you. This might really upset them and I don’t want to see you strain over a large argument/problem. It might be worth it to consider choosing one person over another so you don’t have to deal with that later.

Use your own observations and feelings. Don’t direct attention to them specifically, but the situation itself.

As to whether or not your concerns will be realized— for me, people have responded in one of two ways when it comes to an argument on how they’re managing a relationship:

  1. They’re too wrapped up in their own feelings to really listen (often redirecting the conversation); ending up having to realize when it’s too late
  2. They’ll genuinely listen to my concerns and provide additional feedback and help us both consider different options. They’ll make a decision based on how they feel after further thought.

Realize that emotions can be overwhelming and every bit of logic in the world can’t do much to convince someone to change their mind. Try and be there for your friend as best you can and make sure they know you’re on their side. They’ll appreciate that you care about them enough by displaying your genuine concern.

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You disagree with something your friend is going to do and you would like to warn her that she is probably making a bad decision.

First, I would recommend to not be so blunt. People don't like when someone else is disagreeing with them, even more when the disagreement is about their life (and does not or has very little impact on the other person).

What I would suggest to do instead is to ask questions. Here, you want to make sure that your friend have think things through before taking the decision. So asking question about the points you worry about will help make sure of that.

For example, you can ask her:

Aren't you afraid that X will happen?

Where X is something you worry will happen.

However, before asking that, you will need to bring up the topic in a neutral way. If you sound judgmental or if your questions sound judgmental, then your friend will "close herself" and this will only bring bad feelings (when someone talks to me and I feel judged, I tend to want to do more of what the other person is badly judging me about).

Once you have start the conversation and ask your first question/worry, check how your friend seem to respond to the conversation. If she seems annoyed, I would suggest dropping the subject. If someone don't want to talk about something, trying to push more is very likely to end up in a "just mind your own business, would you". I know that my mother does that a lot to my big sister, and she is never happy with that.

If your friend is responding well to the conversation, you can start asking more questions. However, make sure to don't ask too much in a row or your friend might start to feel like she is a suspect being interrogated (my mother does that, it's annoying).

Hopefully, when the conversation is over, your friend will have plenty to think about and you less to worry about.

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