When you hear the word intervention, you usually think about family members sitting around in a circle trying to get a loved one to change their ways, admit they need help, or just get over something that’s been causing the people in the room a whole lot of headaches.
But there is such a thing as a friendervention, which can be bringing together two people in your crew that need to patch up their problems or just one person who needs to hear some good old wholesome truth from the rest of the friend group. While sometimes it can bring out more blood, sweat, and tears than we’d like, it might be necessary.
On the season premiere of The Real Housewives of Dallas, Stephanie Hollman and Brandi Redmond orchestrate this type of event to help clear the air between LeeAnne Locken and D'Andra Simmons over cheating allegations. (See more in the clip above.)
“As a friend, you have a unique opportunity to approach someone you care about from a purely equal, respectful place — to say, I don’t want this for you, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want this, either. We can both use this to grow as people and improve our relationship,” says Natalie Burtenshaw, LCSW, LCDC, a therapist at Own Your Colors Counseling.
If you’re considering planning one of these, here is a guide with everything you need before you find yourself leading a friendervention.
1. Pick the Location
Figuring out where to host this friendervention can be more stressful than deciding where to have your next birthday. Why? There’s a lot to think about in terms of finding a neutral location and making the people involved in the intervention comfortable.
“It is important to consider how the intervention will take place and how you will get the person to come to the intervention,” says Lin Anderson, a psychotherapist. “For location of the intervention, it is important to consider a place that is private, but also where the individual being intervened upon will feel comfortable. It is often encouraged not to conduct the intervention at the person’s home, as they can ask everyone to leave and even threaten to call the police for trespassing if they become defiant and combative.”
If you plan to do it at someone’s home, Anderson says it’s important that those involved arrive before the people getting intervened on.
2. Come Prepared with a Script
The more organized you are for the intervention, the better it will go. You don’t want it to turn into an all-out fight between everyone there. That’s why in the days leading up to it, write down what you want to say and choose your words wisely.
“Come prepared with a written statement of what you have noticed. Just the facts, ma’am! Talk about what you have seen and how you felt. In therapist jargon, we call this using 'I' statements,” says Burtenshaw.
Some of those statements can go like this:
Change: “You’ve been scaring me with your drinking,”
To: “I’ve noticed that a lot of times when we’re going out, you’ll say that you’re only going to have two drinks, but it’s hard for you to stop when you said you’re going to. When I see you starting to lose control, I feel sad and afraid for you.”
Change: “You make me so angry when you don’t remember our conversations,”
To: “I feel more and more disconnected from you lately, and I want us to get back on track with being able to be real with each other.”
3. Decide Who Should Be There
There’s no right amount of people who should be present for the friendervention. But there are wrong people you can have there. It’s OK to be the only one there. It’s also OK to bring in help, like a therapist.
“Invite people who are loving and supportive. You might try to include your friend’s family members if their relationship is pretty good. If there’s a lot of conflict and criticism there, then maybe keep it to a smaller group whom she trusts,” says Burtenshaw.
When deciding, Burtenshaw says to pick people who your friend would consider important and supportive.
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