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Health & Sex

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Do You Hate Your Friend’s Mate?

You love your friend, but can’t stand his or her new love interest. How can you clear your conscience without ruining the friendship?

Scripting Your Relationship Advice

There are certain precarious situations where you must say something, Jaffe says. In those cases, "It's a very tricky business [and] tact is essential." Such situations include:

Bad behavior: Let's say your best friend's new man propositioned you online or on the dance floor. Should you speak up?

"The thing about Internet dating is that it's right there in black and white and not like at a party where they can always say, 'I was just kidding,'" Daily says. "If this person has emailed you, just forward it to your friend without comment and let her make her own decision," she says.

If it's some other type of bad behavior, you can ask questions that make them think, says Alison Arnold, PhD, a therapist in Phoenix who is also known as "Doc Ali," the life coach on the VH1 series Scott Baio Is 45 ... and Single. For example, ask, "Did you feel comfortable with how he was last night or with how much he is drinking?" she suggests. If they don't want to talk about it, then you have to let it go.

No matter what action you take, "You still run the risk of losing the friendship because your friend might know what's going on on some level and not want to confront the problem," Jaffe says.

Personality clashes: Let's say your friend keeps pushing you and your significant other to go on a double-date, but you just can't stand her new mate.

This is a balancing act, Daily says. "You have to balance how obnoxious this person is versus how important the friendship is to you," she says. "If you are not sure the relationship is going to go the distance, you can beg off of couples activities for now and instead say, 'We can't do next Friday night, but maybe me and you could do lunch next week.'"

If your friend is in jeopardy: The stakes are raised if you feel that your friend is in jeopardy because of his or her choice of companion.

"If you feel that your friend is in danger and there is something that you can't keep your mouth closed about -- like he made a pass at another friend, is ... using drugs, or you saw him on a child molester web site -- then you owe it to your friend and the friendship to tell them what is going on without making a judgment," Daily says.

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