Hey, Chantal: My BFF Is Kind Of A Jerk To People. What Should I Do?

Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk dishes out some tough love in her advice column for Chatelaine. This week: How to deal with that totally rude friend.

rude friend advice chantal kreviazukQ: My best friend is rude to other people when we’re out – doesn’t say please or thank you, doesn’t tip, doesn’t hold the door open for other people, doesn’t care if she talks loudly on the phone in a crowd. I see other people reacting to her, and it makes me embarrassed to be around her. Should I say something?

You absolutely should let your friend know that you find her behaviours disrespectful to others and to you and it stresses you out. You have to set a boundary here: That when you are out together, a standard of manners must be upheld.

That’s not exactly something you can just toss easily into conversation, or it’ll land like a bomb. So think about how you want to say it. Maybe start from a place of concern, and say something like, “Hey I just want to check in… is everything okay? I noticed at the restaurant you were really short fused with the server . . . Is anything up?”

Give your friend a chance to be reflective and self aware. See how she processes your question, and give her time to do so. If you’re impatient, she will likely feel attacked.

The next step is letting your friend know how you felt in certain situations. Again, don’t give 10 examples — just one is good.

If you are respectful and give her some space and she still gets defensive, then maybe it’s a battle you need to rethink. I am curious what you have in common with this person, and what you enjoy about your time together. What are you getting from this friendship?

Because there is another option here: Life is short and if you don’t feel good when with her maybe you need to assess whether this is someone you would like to invest your time and energy in.

Perhaps I am missing a big piece here! Personally, I have always been a loyal type, someone who loves fiercely, and always wants to find ways to resolve issues. But as I grow and my responsibilities mount with my own children and so on, I notice that I can take on only so much. So sometimes, for the sake of my own capacity and health, I have to ease off of relationships that are frustrating or negative. It’s sad, but that’s a part of growing up.

It’s possible to do this gracefully. I have myself been sorta ditched before — and while you should be firm (“I have decided to give our relationship some space. I need to focus on other priorities right now and I hope you can let go and respect my needs.”) it can be done with class and kindness. That should always be the goal. Good luck!

Chantal Kreviazuk is an award-winning singer songwriter. She is married to Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida. They have three kids. 

Got a question for Chantal? E-mail us at letters@chatelaine.rogers.com