Overly Flirty Friend? Here's What To Do

double_date_from_hell_slide4Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
My husband and I double date with another couple often. She’s super flirtatious in a way that makes me uncomfortable. Last time we hung out, she was asking us very direct, very specific questions about our sex life. I told her straight up that she was being inappropriate, but she just laughed it off. The guys didn’t seem to mind, but I did. Should I just stop hanging out with them?
Christina Zampitella, Doctor of Psychology and Family Therapist
This is definitely an uncomfortable situation, and you probably have many feelings about your friend's inappropriate behavior. I can see why the idea of going slap-happy and dropping them like a hot potato would be the first one, but that could ruin a potential long-term, valuable friendship, so let’s back up a bit and see if this can be saved. First, I'd like to say that you did a great job with your attempt to assert yourself with her. Believe it or not, that's not an easy thing to do for a lot of us. It may not have worked the first time, but there is a way to get her to respect you and your boundaries.
I’d recommend meeting up with her without the boys so she can hear your message loud and clear. So, set up a girls’ night and just have fun, then toward the end of the night, let her know how much you enjoy that side of her, and ask why she gets all seductress when the guys are around. Taking a problem-solving approach versus being emotionally reactive will make her less defensive. Some people are not very aware of other people's boundaries, and will sometimes violate or test them carelessly. There may be mischievous intentions, or just a lack of awareness on her part. Either way, the best way to get her to cut the BS is call her on said BS, and lucky for you, that’s what friends are for. Hopefully you can get her to see the error of her ways before she alienates all of her girlfriends.
There are many reasons adults test boundaries, such as unhealthy parenting as a child, abuse, poor social skills, etc. I say this not to take her side, but in hopes that you can try to maintain a compassionate approach to asserting yourself, should you choose to do so again. It's more likely to get you a positive outcome if you do. One of your next steps would be to talk to your husband about your feelings and elicit his support, because no matter what, he should definitely be on your side. And, if he’s not and thinks she was “just being funny,” tell him your favorite joke about him sleeping on the couch.

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