Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Part of being a good friend means confronting your friends about their “bad” behavior. 

We’ve all been there before. You’ve become really good friends with a person and it seems to be going well, except for one thing: they keep saying prejudiced things about other people, or they have self-destructive behavior that makes you uncomfortable, or they make jokes that you find offensive. All of a sudden, interactions with this person become something that you dread. The only thing that seems worse than staying friends with them is confronting them. 

Calling out your friends about their “bad” behavior is daunting. People tend to get defensive when they’re confronted with a hard truth about themselves. It’s natural to worry about their reaction because no one wants to sour a friendship. However, real friendships require work; you rarely meet people whose opinions you agree with immediately. Real friendships help both individuals become better people – a part of that process requires confrontation. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. If you let the issue fester, it can create resentment within you, which is worse for your friendship in the long run.

Here are some tips for how to best call your friends out: 

Do it in person.

Receiving a long text about how you’ve been making another person feel bad is jarring, to say the least. This kind of message might automatically put someone on the defense, which makes it hard to have a productive conversation. Also, these sorts of confrontations don’t really translate well into text because texts take time to draft and send. It would be smoother in person, where you can see them and interact with them quickly. 

Try to be impersonal.

These conversations often go awry because people feel like their character is being attacked. Don’t mention their character, even if things get heated. Stick to the objective truths about how their actions made you feel. Focusing on their behavior, rather than their character, helps to diffuse some tension. People can grow out of bad behavior easier than they can grow out of bad characters. 

Listen to what they have to say.

Often, these disagreements come down to a difference in the way you two perceive the world. This is bound to happen – you likely grew up in different circumstances that emphasized different values. In order to move on from this tension, you have to be able to talk through these differences. It can be easy to decide that your side is correct – and it might be – but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to understand why your friend thinks the way that they do. This will help you find a middle ground that suits you both; it can also help you show them exactly where their reasoning is faulty. 

Don’t hold it against them.

If they promise to do better, and actually become better, let their behavior stay in the past. If you keep bringing it up, they will begin to feel as though they can never fully change in your eyes. It sucks to change for the better and still have your past behavior thrown in your face. It makes you think, “What’s the point?” Be supportive of their change. 

In the long run, calling your friends out is something that’s only temporarily uncomfortable. In the best-case scenario, your friendship becomes stronger. In the worst-case scenario, you end up losing a friend that you probably didn’t click that well with anyway. Sometimes, losing bad influences in your life is better for you in the end. So, what are you waiting for? The next time you get the chance, call your friends out about how they’re acting. 

Nadaroopa Saraswathi Mohan is a student at the University of Florida. She was born in India but raised in Boca Raton, Florida. Nada is interested in politics, women's rights, and literature. In her free time, she reads, writes, and listens to music. Her favorite musical artist is Mac Miller.