DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends refuses to leave a toxic relationship. They have been together for two years, but during this time, there has always been drama. He is very protective of her and will freak out whenever the relationship is threatened. He even threatened me once, as well as a couple of her other best friends, and she never did anything about it. Recently, she has been cheating on him with multiple guys. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for her to end the relationship, but she refuses to leave him, claiming that she loves him too much. I have continually tried to get her to end things, but she refuses and gets defensive. I do not know if I can be friends with her if she continues seeing this guy. How should I approach her about leaving him for good? -- Fed Up, Cincinnati
DEAR FED UP: You know already that you have no control over your friend's choices. That said, you do have control over yourself. If you fear for your safety because her boyfriend has threatened you, speak up and tell your friend that you choose not to hang out with her because of that fear. If you are simply tired of all of the drama between your friend and her boyfriend and the stress that it has placed on your friendship, say that to her.
Your focus in the conversation needs to be about you in relation to her behavior. Asking her to leave her boyfriend won't work. Telling her that you have decided to leave the friendship because of her behavior and how it makes you feel is your best option. Perhaps she will reconsider her choices if the repercussions mean that she might lose a dear friend.