What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Partner’s Friends, Without Fighting
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You've finally found the perfect partner. A soul mate-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 problem. OK, one big problem. You cannot stand their friends. 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, you worry about what to do if you don’t like your partner’s friends, like, all the time.
You definitely don't want to be that partner that expects their SO to drop all the people who 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?
Yeah, that’s a really tough one.
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 is, to the pros! Here's how they suggest you navigate these emotionally treacherous relationship waters.
1. Try And Find Common Ground Where You Can
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, as relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman told Bustle, you should first see if you can’t find some common ground so that you can at least be cordial when you are around one another.
"Even if you can't connect with them, try [to] really [talk and listen] to them," she said. "Ask them their likes/dislikes, favorite things to do, etc. Perhaps by learning more about the person, you will find something you can connect with." You may even find that over time, you'll see what you partner sees in them, and a real friendship can develop.
2. If Your Partner Asks How You Feel, Be Honest
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, Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex therapist, told Refinery29 that the best policy is to just be honest and definitely don’t gaslight your partner on the subject.
"Don't lie and say that they're imagining things," Marin told Refinery29. "Instead, fess up. Let them know that for whatever reason, there seems to be some tension between the two, and you feel it's best to maintain your distance."
3. Only Spend Time With Them When It’s Important To Your SO
Sometimes the best strategy is just limiting the amount of exposure you have to the person (or people) you aren't fond of, which definitely helps. However 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 hangout with them unless your partner says the event is important," psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, founder of Love Victory and author of Smart Relationships, told Elite Daily. "It’s all about limiting your exposure strategically and diplomatically.
4. Remember It’s OK For Couples To Spend Some Time Apart
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 perfectly OK for your partner to spend time with that friend while you spend time with your own friends," Marin told Refinery29. "You don't need to be spending time with each other constantly. But try to suck it up in group situations."
5. Resist The Urge To Ask Your Partner To Choose Between You...
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.
"It's important to remember that they had that history and relationship [with their friend] before you, and that it's your partner's choice with whom to be friends," Paulette Sherman, PsyD, a psychologist and relationship coach, told Refinery29.
6. Unless They 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, as Dr. Wish told Elite Daily, let your partner know about the problem and how you are feeling, and make it clear that you don’t want be around that person anymore. 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 may never find common ground with. That's totally normal and something that over time, you’ll get better at dealing with. For now, refer to lessons one through six and you’ll be good to go.
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