In the 1960s there was a show Lost in Space. In the first episode, Will Robinson, the youngest child saves the robot from destruction during a fire. The robot had no given name and soon formed a tight bond with Will Robinson. The robot was capable of superhuman strength and futuristic resources, a friend.
We may not have superhuman strength and all the resources, but as a friend, we don’t have to stand by when someone we care about is in danger or going through a difficult experience, like a bad relationship.
You notice they don’t seem like themselves, and you want to warn them, but you may feel awkward talking about your concern because you are afraid of saying the wrong thing.
All the Robot said was, ‘DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER,” and Will Robinson heard the warning and responded accordingly. It doesn’t always go so smoothly with friends who are in new relationships.
You have a gut feeling a friend might be in a dangerous situation. You notice that their partner doesn’t like it when they spend time with you. You notice that they start dressing differently and begin to abruptly, change plans, noticeably unhappy more often. They put their partner’s needs before their own, and then you notice cuts or bruises not related to a hobby or employment. They’re clearly afraid to admit there’s a problem.
Sometimes a seemingly perfect relationship is playing out very differently behind closed doors. No one likes to admit they are being treated poorly by someone they might love. When dating someone new, it’s all too easy to look at the person through rose-colored glasses—and miss the glaring signs, red flags that indicate they’re not right for you.
A red flag is essentially a signal, like a robot, that goes off when something’s not right, intuitively telling you to steer clear.
If you are concerned about a friend, and you are seeing red flags in their current relationship, it’s important to ask what’s happening and ask what they need without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. Let your friend know that you want to help but let them tell you what they need. Friends bring different characteristics to the table. What is your role in the friend group?
- Listen – When people are going through something difficult or confusing, simply providing a space for them to share their thoughts or talking through their experiences is helpful. Many people just need someone they can talk to, someone to support them, not someone quick to judge.
- Attend – Remember, it is not up to you to have all the answers or to solve the very problem. Accusing or confronting a friend likely isn’t going to help anyone. Approach them with care and compassion. Ask if they need any help. Attend to their needs, remember to be supportive, calm, and non-judgmental.
- Watch – Keep your eyes on the situation, be that friend who will help first and ask questions later. Be ready to provide resources and solutions.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a superhuman robot of your own? A protector, bodyguard, a friend who is always there for you. A friend who looks out for your best interest and is willing to sound the alarm when you are blinded by the red flags in your life.
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