I have an awesome friend who just started dating an awful girl. Before they got together she befriended mutual friends solely to get him to start dating her, then ditched them as soon as she had him. Now she acts sulky at group events if he isn’t always paying her attention, and is rude to anyone who can’t directly benefit her, especially girls. She’s not someone I want to be around if I can help it. 

But I do still want to see him. Problem is, any time I invite him, he brings her along. I don’t want to lose my friend to this witch, but I don’t want to see her, either. Help?

-Ditch the Witch

 Sounds like she isn’t the only one acting sulky. 

I’m sorry you hate your friend’s girlfriend, especially if she really is as awful as you say (I could be wrong, but I’m detecting a bit of “I don’t want him but you can’t have him” cross-gender friendship jealousy coming off of you, so it’s possible she’s only MOSTLY terrible). 

But you have to acknowledge another problem: your friend’s taste. He’s chosen this terrible person as his partner, and is (so far) sticking with her despite evident awfulness. 

Anything you say about her is going to reflect negatively on him for making that choice (even “you got duped” is pretty insulting, let’s be honest). That’s probably a huge part of the reason so many of us hate hearing negatives about our partners in the first place (okay, fine, also love, but there is definitely an element of self-love, too). 

You can’t cut her out from invitations–it would be shockingly rude, and it would most likely turn your friend against you. 

If you feel compelled to take action, though, you can do one of two things: 

Ask him to occasional low-key one-on-one things, like a coffee or lunch (something people don’t usually attend as a couple), in order to maintain the friendship, and wait this girl out, at which point you can tell him what you observed.

Or tell him what you think now.

Let’s be clear: I don’t advise the second route, for purely practical reasons. People shoot messengers all the time, and until he’s ready to ditch her on his own, he’s not likely to want to hear any negatives about this girl. Forcing them on him COULD result in him seeing the light…but it’s more likely to end with him kicking you to the curb. 

Permanently. Even if the relationship ends, chances are the chilliness between you won’t. Sorry, but them’s the breaks. 

So bite your tongue, invite the couple to the largest-group affairs , where you have a good chance to avoid her, set up occasional low-key playdates, and hope for the best. 

Or, better yet, if you really care about this guy, accept that he might choose to care about terrible people. If you can’t handle that, then you should move on from the friendship.