WWYD – wrong crowd

So you find out that a friend has started hanging out with someone that you know is bad news. You know for a fact due to past experience with him / her that this person has the morals of an alley cat and that your friend will end up used and or hurt. Your friend is actually a principled person but cannot see the bad in their new association. You know that if you speak up you might lose the friendship, but sitting idly by while your friend puts him / herself at risk is something that feels alien to you.

WWYD? Speak up and risk the friendship? Stay quiet but take some distance? Warn your friend anonymously?

10 responses to “WWYD – wrong crowd

  1. Perhaps tell a story you know about “bad news” without telling the name and then revealing it was “bad news”.

    As a matter of principle, if you want to keep a friend/child from harm, but they won’t listen to you, the only thing you can do is stay close by and be ready and steady to catch them up when the great delusion sets in. They are allowed to make their own choices, even if they are wrong.

  2. i agree with fille, you have to be available to help once “the great delusions set in” whether they’d be willing to listen or not. but it also depends on the person. especially if it’s a kid who may not know all the evil things that people can do. if that’s the case i might say some stories about other people who’ve been caught up with the wrong friends before and been burned, just so they know a little more how to recognize it.
    also if i would say somethign to this friend i’d have to be careful not to make them feel so ashamed of not seeing what i saw that they wouldn’t be able to come to me for help later on. pride can be a dangerous thing.

  3. aren’t you permitted to alert your friend [lashon harah, otherwise] if you are keeping that friend from harm?

    my grasp on the halacha is admittedly loose, but i think warning your friend is a higher priority than avoiding conflict. better to be open and honest about your experiences than have said friend come to you later, after he/she has been scorched by alley cat morals, and ask why you said nothing at the time.

  4. As a good friend, i think it is important to share the info with said friend who may be headed for heartache. once you share the info with your friend, it then becomes her choice to decide what to do with that info. If your friend is an adult she should be able to decide what to do with that info even if you feel she is making a mistake. i don’t think you risk losing the friendship by showing your concern for your friend & if you do then it doesn’t sound like much of a friendship in the first place. you shouldn’t stand by idly & not say anything while your friend is possibly headed for disaster b/c that is not being a good friend.

  5. If it’s a matter of the heart (i.e. dating) situation, there is NOTHING you can do or say that will have an overall positive impact. Either they will drop you as a friend saying “I can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t approve of who I date”, or they will ignore your advice and then drop you as a friend later when it all blows up because of the perceived “I told you so” attitude. Worst of all, if they take your advice, then still single a year later say to themselves “I really should have given it a chance, darn that Hadassah for stopping me” and resent you for dissuading them and stop them from potentially meeting the love of their life.

    If it is some other matter, you have a fighting chance of influencing your friends behavior. But still all the above scenarios could potentially apply.

    It’s a no win situation. I agree that as hard as it might be, you have to stand by, wait for it all to blow up, and then be a good friend through the recovery from the blow up.

    What’s worse? Getting used and hurt AND losing a friend or just getting used and hurt AND keeping a friend? Those are essentially the choices here.

  6. While not in the same situation, I did have a good friend, who had just become good friends with a coworker. When I met this coworker at a shabbos meal with many other people, I found her to be incessantly teasing my friend publicly about a personal matter. I did speak to my friend about her, and just said I was concerned and didn’t think that this coworker was treating her appropriately or with respect due to a friendship. I didn’t say anything more, and she continued with the friendship for a little while; however, at least she was aware of it, and could use the objective information to make her own decision.

  7. The place to start is how do you know this person is bad news? If it’s from first hand experience, that’s one thing, if it’s just something you heard from someone else, it may be untrue or unfair, and you don’t want to be spreading lashon hara.

    Next, examine your own motives. If you’re really doing this just to help your friend, go ahead. If it has to do with revenge or power, maybe it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

    My advice would be to sit down with the friend and say something like, “Your friendship is important to me. I don’t want to hurt you or to see you get hurt. I want to talk with you about something, but I’m afraid it will harm our friendship. Are you willing to listen to me and to work with me to make sure this conversation doesn’t come between us?”

    Then, tell the friend exactly what you know, and whether it’s first-hand experience, conjecture, or hear-say. Don’t embellish or exaggerate. Apologize for any pain the conversation is causing your friend. Listen to what your friend has to say about it. Don’t argue.

    Good luck!

  8. The only thing I would say is… weighing the situation & what you know of this “bad news” individual, make sure you are being fair to him or her & taking into account the fact that people can & DO change. I could be considered one of those “bad news” people, if you asked certain individuals from my past who still refuse to acknowledge that five years later, I have changed – a LOT. Make sure you’re giving him or her the benefit of the doubt & that you are absolutely certain he or she is, in fact, still “bad news” before moving forward with this.

  9. Of course you should tell your friend; but only once.
    Why would she dump the friendship over that????

    Now if you keep nagging her day and night about it, then yeah, she might decide she prefers to avoid you. So tell her your experience, and then move on to shopping (or whatever).

    PS But be careful the behaviors you are talking about are actual, objectively crummy stuff. Some things are simply matters of personal preference!

  10. I have lived this situation and I gave my friend a warning. She told me she would take it under consideration and that was that. I was not expected to be friends with the other person, and had my friend had a bad experience, she was prepared and I was prepared to hear about it. BH, nothing major happened either between them, or between my friend and myself. Approaching it in a mature way, not an emotional, ownership, jealous way is the best way to convey your concern.

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