Calling your friends out on their shortcomings is extremely hard to do. I am not going to lie and say it is easy, nor is it always necessary. If your friend keeps wearing a hideous shirt, it’s not necessary to call them out on it. But, if your friend is participating in rape culture, it might be time to call them out.
Why is it necessary? Well for many reasons. We want to live a world where sex crimes are not tolerated. So we have to start with those around us. They will (hopefully) listen to us. Your friends are more likely to listen to you than to a stranger on the internet. It’s also important to make sure our friends are living up to their potential. It is our job to make sure our friends are being good people and living a good life. If they are saying or doing potentially harmful things, we should call them out on it, for their benefit too.
Another reason is when your friends can read and learn all about what they should and shouldn’t do, but sometimes they are not aware that their actions are problematic. As their friend, and someone who is there, you can make them aware that what they are doing/ saying is not okay.
It isn’t easy to tell your friend that what they are doing/ saying is an issue. Sometimes it is hard and scary. You don’t want them to gang up on you and make you look like the bad person. You do not want to offend them. You don’t want to seem like a “know-it-all” or someone who “can’t take a joke.” But here are some tips on how to approach your friends when they aren’t acting as they should:
- If they are in a group, ask to speak to them separately. This will allow them to not feel as embarrassed.
- Send them a text. This is similar to number 1. You don’t want to make your friend feel like you are out to make them into a villain.
- Keep educating them. Send them articles, tag them in posts. Keep their education going.
- Redirect them. If your friend is going to engage in some risky behavior, bring them somewhere else. Later explain why you did what you did.
- Do not accuse their character. People will shut down if you start accusing them of bad things or having bad intentions. Do not attack them when you are discussing.
It isn’t easy, it might be hard. But if you don’t keep your friends accountable, who will?