Being a friend to someone is a great thing—you guys can talk trash about the same people, eat diarrhea-inducing food together, and make terrible life decisions while egging each other on. But when you find out their garbage, soulless, piece of living donkey excrement significant other is cheating on them... then what do you do?
You're going to tell them of course because that would be the respectful thing to do and you would want your friend to tell you, but it's an awkward conversation (to say the least). So here are some tips on how to have it.
Ask Them What They'd Define As Cheating In Their Relationship
Some people consider watching porn as cheating while others consider developing a deep emotional connection with someone as that. Every relationship has different definitions of the offense—so ask your friend where they and their partner have drawn the line.
Ask Yourself If You're Ready For Everything That Happens
Your friend may be casually seeing someone or they may be on their fifth year of marriage—so you have to accept that. Prepare yourself emotionally for what follows and understand that you could be breaking up a family, so just make sure you're confident in this and doing it for the right reasons.
Make Sure What You Saw Actually Happened
Sure, you may have been walking down the street and saw someone that could've been your friend's partner holding hands in a restaurant with someone who wasn't your friend... but don't go running to your friend based on that. Be 100% sure you saw what you thought you saw because confidence is key in this situation.
Go Full Spy Mode And Get Some Evidence
Don't break the law for God's sake, I'm not taking that heat. But get some solid evidence that their partner is cheating before you bring it to your friend. It'll make your story more believable and stop their partner from denying what happened like the lying snake in the grass they are.
Don't Wait Forever
If you find out someone's cheating don't wait 10-14 business days to tell your friend—you're not UPS. Tell your friend as soon as you can and make plans to meet ASAP because the sooner they know the better.
Don't Tell Anyone Else
It should be obvious, but don't go telling Ashley, Brenda, and Sam down at Starbucks your juicy information before you go to your friend. Because that's a complete betrayal of trust and it would hurt your friend so bad if they heard about their unfaithful spouse through the grapevine.
Don't Break The News In A Public Place
Your friend is probably going to want to cry when they hear the news—so don't do it when you're the middle of Macy's in line at the cash register. Do it at their place or yours so they'll feel comfortable.
For God's Sake, Don't Do It Over Text
Even though it is so freaking tempting because we all hate having awkward conversations, don't break the news over text. Be there emotionally and physically for your friend because they might need a serious hug after you tell them.
Make Sure You Tell Them When It's Most Convenient
There's never a right time to tell someone that their partner is cheating on them—Monday at 3 pm isn't also known as "break some hard news o'clock." But just make sure your friend doesn't have important stuff like a test or a presentation coming up ten minutes after you tell them. That's just considerate.
Try To Get The Cheater To Admit What Happened
Even though this one is a shot in the dark and you're risking it all by letting the cheater know that you know, if you can get them to admit they cheated that makes the whole process easier. If you can tell them in a way where your safety isn't compromised then that's ideal.
Don't Tell Them In Front Of Their Partner
This seems obvious, but don't casually let your friend know their partner is a cheater when the three of you are out for drinks together. Unless you want to potentially fistfight with their partner, then go ahead. I don't know how many MMA kickboxing videos you've been watching on YouTube.
Don't Blurt It Out As Soon As You See Them
Even though the new is THE ONLY THING ON YOUR MIND you can't just walk into your friend's house and tell them before you've even got your shoes off. Delicacy to spare your friend's feelings is key here, so try and create a CALM environment before you tell them.
Tell Them That It's Hard News For You To Break Too
Even though you may not have any stake in whether this toxic waste dump of a relationship lives or dies, you still want your friend to be happy. So before you break the news let them know how sorry you are that you have to do this and it hurts you to see them like this.
Let Them Ask Questions And Be Doubtful
Everyone's going to take the news differently—that's because it's a hard freaking thing to hear. So don't expect your friend to be immediately accepting of it. Let them ask questions and be skeptical because it might not have sunk in yet. Remember, they're not doubting you or your friendship. They're just trying to figure this whole thing out.
Ask Before You Send Them Every Piece Of Evidence
Don't assume that your friend is made of literal steel and would absolutely love to see a picture of their significant other making out with another person. Ask before you send them a slideshow, Google doc, and photo-collage of everything you learned because they might just not need it to believe you.
Assure Them That What They're Seeing Is Real
Sometimes it's easier to live a lie—this is especially true if your friend planned their life around their partner. If your friend starts to doubt the reliability of your evidence because they don't want to believe it, you have to hold firm and assure them that this is real and this is happening.
Tell Them That No Matter What They Do, You Respect Their Decision
Look, even though the obvious thought process that would follow from news like this would be a breakup, don't expect that from your friend because life can be much more complicated than that. Tell them you don't care what they do with the information and you'll love them regardless because the last thing you want to do is make them feel embarrassed for not breaking things off.
Don't Make It Into A Joke
Even though a lot of people's response to an uncomfortable situation is to laugh or try and lighten the mood, you're just going to have to accept that this isn't the appropriate time here. It's funeral rules: no laughing, a lot of hand-holding, and a good cry is an appropriate response.
Make Sure They Know You're Here For Them
You're the one who told them, so you've got to see this thing through to the bitter end. Let them know that whatever they need, whether it's a shoulder to cry on or support during the breakup, that you're not going to abandon them when they need it most.
Don't Gossip About It After
Just because the hard part is done and you feel a lot better doesn't mean you can go ahead and break the silence you've been keeping about the issue. Your friend is still in so much pain and it only makes it worse if you treat their life as a piece of gossip.