I feel like my best friend is constantly changing for the guy she’s dating. Like if he’s super into football, she starts a fantasy league, if he likes Italian food she’s making homemade pasta. She throws herself into so many new hobbies and things for each guy within the first few weeks of dating and I feel like she isn’t being true to herself at all. How can I talk to her about this without it turning into a fight? I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but it really needs to stop. I think it’s part of the reason that so many of her relationships end after about a month.
It takes a lot of love to be honest and open about the hard things with someone. Conversations like this are immensely difficult as it can feel like a personal attack and turn into a fight. That being said, just because a conversation is difficult doesn’t mean that it should be held. Your friend is only doing a disservice to herself by chameleon-ing herself. Start with what you just told me: You don’t want to hurt her feelings, you care about her. And then let her lead the conversation.
It’s important that you listen as much as or more than you talk when it comes to things like this. You aren’t her parent, you aren’t her conscience, and you don’t get to dictate how she behaves. A good friend is a mirror, they ask probing questions to help you find the answers yourself. Something like “I noticed you started getting really into football when you were dating X, but haven’t heard you talk about it in a while. Would you want to go to a game sometime?” Maybe she will! Maybe it is a new passion of her’s that you just see less now that she isn’t dating someone who shares it. Or maybe she won’t because it was because of the guy. In that case, it’s a matter of following up and asking her the questions she should be asking herself. Keep them open-ended. There’s no wrong answer, you are just there to help. You are there to be a friend.
A final thought for your friend: We are happiest when we are presenting our authentic selves to the world, single or in a relationship.