If you suspect that your good friend doesn't like your boyfriend or girlfriend, group hangs can get pretty awkward. Even spending time with your friend one-on-one can be uncomfortable when you sense that they aren't the biggest fan of the person you're dating. Being a good friend while in a relationship isn't always easy, but balancing the important people in your life is something you should constantly put effort into doing — and doing well.
According to Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. clinical psychologist and host of the Kurre and Klapow radio show, there are definitely telltale signs to look out for, which may indicate that your friend disapproves of your partner. However, he says that you should never jump to conclusions about why (or even if) they don't think you should be in the relationship.
If you want to know whether a friend of yours doesn't like your boyfriend or girlfriend, the best strategy is to talk to your friend directly about the issue. "Acknowledge that something feels different, give them the permission to be honest with you, and don't get defensive," says Klapow. "Hear them out. If you really want to know, and you really want to get to the bottom of this, you can't shut them down by having an argument for everything they say."
Before you discuss your concerns with your friend, here are four signs that they don't exactly think this is a match made in heaven.
In addition to their behavior, your friends might also say things that indicate their unhappiness. They may question you about why you're in a relationship, and they may do it in a passive way, according to Klapow.
"They may not say anything bad about your partner, but they may say something like: 'Do you really want to be in a relationship?' [Or] 'Are you sure this relationship is the right thing for you?' They may be polite in that they don't criticize your partner, but they start calling into question whether or not you should be in a relationship, or whether or not it's a good fit for you," Klapow says.
Alternatively, your friend might be outwardly rude about your partner. This may be more of a selfish act than anything else, Klapow explains. "They don't want you to be in a relationship because it takes you away from them. They may even make up excuses about why they don't like your partner, more so because your partner is taking you away from them."
Other possible warning signs that your friend dislikes your boyfriend or girlfriend include "taking frequent opportunities to say something negative about [your] significant other, assuming the worst of their motives, and not being able to admit their good qualities," says speaker, author, and friendship expert Shasta Nelson.
"Remember it might be less about the person you're dating and more about how she feels like your friendship has changed. Stay open to hearing what's concerning her and keep remembering that she's a friend who ultimately wants your happiness," says Nelson.
Keep in mind that it's OK to be excited about your romantic feelings and also understand that no one is perfect, she says. "The goal of dating is to get to know someone, not to believe they have no faults," says Nelson. "So we can admit our concerns and fears, and also be excited about what we love. The goal is hopefully to be honest with ourselves, and with our friends."
There are three vital things you can do for your friendships when you start dating, according to Nelson. First, tell your friends point-blank how much they matter to you, even if you're dating someone. Next, set healthy expectations so they know what might be changing. And finally, "choose to be more of the initiator for a while — reaching out to schedule time together, texting her and letting her know you're thinking off her, and staying curious and interested in her life," she says.
While you should do your best to spend time with both your friends and your partner, "you're not going to be able to devote 100 percent to each," says Klapow. "Recognize that your choice to be in a relationship is a change for your friends, and recognize that your friends and your friendship with them is a change for your new relationship. Both sides — your new partner and your friends — have to adapt to sharing you, and that takes time."
Klapow stresses that it's up to you to drive the communication. Talk to your partner and your friend about where your head and heart are at, he says.
You can't force your friend to like your significant other, but you can give them a space to voice their concerns, take their opinion into account, and make an effort to maintain both the friendship and your romantic relationship.
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