As tough and strong cheerleaders can be, they aren’t immune to the pains of a bad breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or the toils of a bumpy relationship. If a teammate is hurting from either a bad breakup or relationship, be a pal and know how to help him or her recover. Situation #1: You think your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend is bad news This is probably one of the most common questions people ask about friends and relationships. Is it okay to step in and say something to your friend if you think her boyfriend is a jerk? First of all, why don’t you like the boyfriend? Is he mean to your friend or do you just not like him? You could cause a wedge in your friendship if you complain about her boyfriend for no reason. While you should be open with your friend, try to fix the situation yourself, first. Try to get to know her boyfriend better or talk to your friend about why she likes him. If you think the guy is a bad influence on your friend, then you should definitely speak up and talk to her about why you think she should reevaluate her relationship. Don’t attack her for dating the person; instead, kindly explain why you’re worried and why you think she deserves better. Situation #2: Your friend just went through a bad breakup If your friend just experienced a breakup, understand that she is in a very fragile state. Don’t expect her to “get over it” within a couple days. Along the same lines, don’t take it personally if you can’t quickly and easily cheer her up. First, give her time to mourn. Bring her ice cream and watch girly movies. Let her cry and join in when she complains about the guy. She needs to vent and you need to be there to support her. When you’re not at cheer practice or school, keep her busy with fun trips shopping or to the movies. Whatever you do, don’t force her to try to get over it and forget the guy. Breakups are hard! Situation #3: Your friend is in an abusive relationship Whether it’s physical or emotional, an abusive boyfriend or girlfriend is never okay. First, talk to her. Remind her how much you care about her and her well-being. Don’t let her make excuses for the person’s abusiveness; it’s never acceptable. Next, remind her that you’re available for support. If she decides she needs to talk to a parent, coach, or school administrator about being abused, offer to go with her or to help her talk about the situation. She may not have yet done so because she was afraid of doing it alone. Remember, don’t force her to do anything and don’t get mad at her if she doesn’t do what you think she should do. If she doesn’t see her relationship as abusive and you believe she is in danger, talk to your coach, a parent, or a school counselor about getting her help. Have you helped a friend with a bad relationship before? How did you help him/her?