I'm inclined to think a maligned young woman would like an adult to speak up and rally to her, rather than expecting that she will know how to fend off a verbal aqnd attitudinal- hopefully not YET physical- threat of this nature.
If they are being rude in an offensive manner and i can hear it, it becomes my problem. I then tell them that I think.. they should not act that way and why. They usually have something to say back but they know that it is not acceptable by everyone.
I suppose it depends on how old the parties involved are. If they are teenagers and this is their first relationship I think you should step in much more than if they are in their 20's.
If it is a pattern of verbal or emotional abuse that I observed then I would express concern and offer support to my relative but ultimately they have to decide they are not going to stand for being treated that way. I would suggest the young woman/man go for counseling.
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