Relationships
A woman who doesn't like her boyfriend's friend

How To Deal With Hating Your Partner's Friends, According To Experts

The struggle is *so* real.

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Tell me if this sounds familiar. You've finally found the perfect boyfriend. A soulmate-level connection. Everything about them is a perfect fit for you. You honestly wouldn't change a single thing about them — except there's one little thing you can’t stop thinking: “I don’t like my boyfriend’s friends.” OK, fine. You’re actually thinking, “I hate my boyfriend’s friends.”

You’re really not trying to be mean but they're the worst, and if it were up to you, you'd never have to see them again. But here's the issue: You don’t want to lose this amazing person just because of their awful friends. So what to do if you don’t like your partner’s friends? You don't want to be that person who expects their SO to drop all the people they care about just because they're in a relationship... but you also shouldn't have to be put in a situation where you are made to feel really uncomfortable by their friends either, right? Right.

In situations like this, when it seems like there really is no right answer, there's only one place to go for advice — and that’s to the pros. Here’s how expects suggest navigating these emotionally treacherous relationship waters in a way that doesn’t involve biting each other’s heads off.

01
Try To Find Common Ground With Your Partner’s Friends
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If your partner’s friends made a really bad first impression, your instinct may just be to avoid them as much as possible. That’s certainly understandable, but before you give up, try to find some common ground so that you can at least be cordial when you are around each other.

"Think of yourself as an interviewer," relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter previously suggested. "Ask them questions about themselves: their hobbies, passions, and dreams. Nestled within those topics you'll find their heartbeat and this is where connections are made." You may even find that over time, you'll see what your partner sees in them, and maybe a real friendship can develop.

If the idea of talking to Brad and Chad for longer than two minutes makes you wanna barf, then maybe start small by just accepting that they are going to be a part of your life whether you like it or not, simply because you love your partner.

02
Be Present When You’re With Your Partner’s Friends

It’s OK if being around your SO’s friends makes you feel nervous, awkward, or even straight-up uncomfortable. They’re not your friends, after all — but if you hide behind your phone or make no effort when you’re around them, then it’s hard to tell your partner you don’t like them.

As dating coach Diana Dorell previously told Elite Daily, "Pay attention to why you feel nervous. If you're nervous because you really care for your partner and see a future and worry that [their friends] will like you or not, that's pretty normal." She added, “Being yourself and trusting that that is enough helps you feel confident and puts them at ease to be themselves, too.”

Take the focus off your discomfort and point it in a positive direction by making an effort to engage with your boo’s friend group. If you still don’t like them, then at least you can say you tried.

03
Be Honest When Your Partner Asks Your Opinion Of Their Friends

Chances are, if you don’t like your partner’s friends, you’re trying to keep it on the down-low. But eventually, your partner is going to catch on, especially if you're avoiding group settings. If they ask what's going on, the best policy is to just be honest — don’t gaslight your partner on the subject.

As Erica Gordon — dating expert, founder of The Babe Report, and author of Aren't You Glad You Read This?previously told Elite Daily, “The most important thing to do is to control and contain your emotional responses. Have a calm conversation with your partner about your concerns. Explain that the way their friends act makes you feel slightly insecure, and explain to your partner that you may just need some reassurance that their friends are not swaying them when it comes to decisions about you or the relationship.”

When having this conversation, you should also be open to listening to what your partner has to say. Maybe there is something about their friend that you are missing, a traumatic event, a weird quirk, anything. You won’t know until you ask.

04
Only Spend Time With Your Partner’s Friends When It’s Important

There are going to be important moments in your partner's life — like their birthday, or family reunion, or even your wedding — where it may mean a lot to include this friend or friend group. In those cases, it may be a fair compromise to include them.

“To preserve your sanity, don't volunteer to hang out with them unless your partner says the event is important," psychotherapist and founder of Love Victory Dr. LeslieBeth Wish previously told Elite Daily. "It’s all about limiting your exposure strategically and diplomatically.”

Sometimes the best strategy is simply limiting the amount of exposure you have to the person (or people) you aren't fond of, save for those occasions when you have no choice.

05
Encourage Your Partner To Spend Time With Friends Without You
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Sure, you may want to spend every moment with your partner, but that’s not actually super healthy for a relationship. Giving each other space to spend time apart is another way to avoid hanging with a friend you don’t like, while still supporting your partner’s happiness.

“It's important to trust your partner's friends because it's important to feel that their friends respect and support your relationship," Gordon previously told Elite Daily, adding, “Nobody wins when demands are made about who someone can or cannot be friends with, and a conversation like that will never end well.

Remember that you don’t have a right to tell your partner who to be friend with any more than they have a right to tell you, and it’s perfect OK for you to have your own groups. In fact, having that space will likely only make your bond stronger.

06
Resist The Urge To Ask Your Partner To Choose Between You & Their Friends

If you really don't like your SO’s friend, you may be tempted to try and give your partner an ultimatum to get the friend out of your life permanently. But resist that urge. It’s not fair to the friend, and you might end up without a partner in the end.

As Dr. Wish previously pointed out, your partner might be friends with a lot of different people for different reasons. "For example, these friends could be from childhood, work, or school of any kind. They might also be relatives or people who are workout buddies," she said. "You do not have to love and hang out with all these people."

But while you don’t have to like them, you do have to avoid the temptation to ask your boo to drop them. That will only breed resentment.

07
Tell Your Partner If Their Friends Are Toxic

Of course, all bets are off if the friend or friends in question are toxic, make you feel unsafe, or uncomfortable. If that’s the case, let your partner know about the problem and how you are feeling, and make it clear that you don’t want to be around that person anymore.

When you find that your SO's friends simply aren't good people — if they are judgmental, conniving, or toxic — then you really do not have to be around them. Dr. Wish's advice is to "let your partner know — and that you do not want to be with that person."

It’s totally acceptable — nay, essential — to draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to being exposed to toxic people. Your partner will either understand and accept this, or they aren’t the kind of partner you deserve.

One of trickiest parts of a new relationship can sometimes be the fact that it also means entering into relationships with all the other people in your partner’s life. Some of them you’re going to mesh with right away, while others will take some work, and some you simply won’t click with at all. Whatever the case, just be honest with your partner — maybe they can even do something to help.

Experts:

Susan Winter, relationship expert and love coach

Diana Dorell, dating coach

Erica Gordon, dating expert, founder of The Babe Report, and author of Aren't You Glad You Read This?

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, psychotherapist and founder of Love Victory

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.