[Monthly: #3] Best friend VS boyfriend - What to do when they hate each other


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You have a new man, and you want to share your happiness with your best pals, who've stuck by you through thick, thin and lousy exes. But what happens when they don't click with Mr Right Now?

Things didn't go qute as Jasmine expected. When she made a booking at the restaurant, she'd warned the waiter that their table was likely to be the rowdiest and the last to leave. After all, her new boyfriend Melvin and her closest most-loved friends were bound to get on like a house on fire.

Instead everyone was on their way home at 9pm! Melvin, a -laugh-a-minute with Jasmine, sat in stony silence with her pals, answering them with “yes” or “no” only. Why? “I didn't like them. I don't know what you see in them,” he sniffed later. “I bet they're wondering that about you,” she thought.

This kind of situation happens all too often: I consider my pals super-successful, intelligent, warm, loving and a scream. My ex thought they were snotty, over-protective, career-obsessed and humorless. He didn't want to see them, they wanted to see me and there simply wasn't enough time to see them separately. He forced me to choose so I ditched him – quite rightly so, according to the experts.

They say that being able to get on with each other's family and friends is one of 12 major things that makes a relationship work. So you're right to be cautious if they don't get on. But don't give him the heave-ho just yet! Take a good look at the real reasons he dislikes your friends (not the “they're not good enough for you”, “too boring”)...

He feels under fire

“Hurt her and you'll have to deal with us,” your friends announce to him. Even if they do say it with a smile, the message is clear: he's on trial until they decide if he's good enough. It's no wonder he's not jumping at the chance to meet up! First, look at your behavior. Are you waiting for their stamp of approval? If so, why do you feel inadequate to make your own decisions? And maybe your friends truly are being ridiculously over-protective. Friends are often clingy and have a sense of ownership about us. If someone else comes between you – namely him – it can often turn into bitchiness.

If he's reasonably mature, he'll probably figure they have your best interests at heart and laugh it off. But if he's shy and your girlfriends are on the attack? Of course, he;ll feel uncomfortable. It's important to ask: is he being consistent? If he's all bravado with you then crumbles when your friends put him on the spot, he's trying to “fake good”.

Action Plan

  • Plan the meeting: Avoid noisy nightclubs or parties which can be trouble. Instead, take the pressure off everyone by doing something together (play a game, get them to help you fix something at home). While they're focused on a task, there's less bickering – even if they're very different people.
  • Don't make him the focus: Instead of an intimate dinner with just you and your best friend, make it a big group so he doesn't feel like he must perform.
  • Confront the issue in a positive way: Say “My friends are protective and I'm worth it.” That's better than 'They have high standards for me and are seeing if you match up.”
  • Ask why he's uncomfortable: He could have been misjudged before, though he may have nothing to hide.
  • Tell your friends to back off: Say you know they're trying to protect you but you can do that yourself.

He finds them a threat

Are you “dating down”? If he's less intelligent/hip/good-looking than your usual men, he probably knows and may feel inadequate. While you may not rib him about his lack of education, dress sense or bad grammar, friends can be patronizing. He knows they've seen all the other boyfriends and he can't compete against them. Some nervousness around your friends is a compliment: it implies that he wants to do his best. However, avoiding even meeting them is different. He could be afraid of commitment. Meeting your friends means commitment and he's thinking “What's she expecting?”

Also, if he feels threatened because your friends are very different from what he's used to, it probably means you are too. Not a great sign. Statistically, people who are alike have a better chance of making it than people from completely different worlds.

Action Plan

  • Make it clear that he doesn't need to impress your friends, just you: It's what you think that counts.
  • Don't let friends judge him on their criteria: Are you really dating down or actually going out with someone who has characteristics that complement yours?
  • If you have a history of dating men who are threatened by your friends, are you unwittingly dating men who're “beneath you”?: It could be that your self-esteem is low and you feel safe with someone less capable. Or that the person has values you aspire to – maybe he's more carefree? Ask if your reasons for dating him are right.

He fears their influence

He senses your friends don't like him. By saying he doesn't like them he's trying to diminish importance in your eyes and (hopefully) their influence on you. Great theory but it rarely works - he's far better off being honest. If he's nervous about the power your friends have over you, he may just be watching out for you. On the other hand, he might know he's failing the test and be trying to discredit them. If he's worried about their influence, he's worried about losing you, and that's a plus. But if he has to tighten his grip by being nasty about them, he's going to lose you anyway. Be especially wary if he starts playing games like “You don't really love me do you? You're listening to them!” If he's constantly seeking reassurance, send him to assertiveness school.

Action Plan

  • Be honest – do your friends have too much influence over you?: Trust your own judgement.
  • Reassure him but don't go overboard: He should realize if you really like him, your friend's ill opinion won't change that.
  • It's normal for friends to offer an opinion on your new man: Listen to what they have to say; they might see things you don;t.

He's possessive

He gets narky if you dare to have a coffee with a friend, saying “I can't help it if I love you so much I want you all to myself.” He doesn't just hate all your friends, he despises them. By now, the sirens should be screeching out “Warning! Warning!” You're on dangerous ground. If he doesn't get on with anyone, he's on an ownership trip: “I own you, if you really loved me you wouldn't need friends.” That sort of behavior can lead to future stalking.

It's one thing to say he doesn't like them, quite another to call your best friend a slut. If he respects you – and women generally – he's not going to slag them off, rather, he should say something like “I don't like Carol but that doesn't stop you from seeing her.” After all, your friends are really none of his business. It is possible that you might be spending too much time with them and not enough with him. To tell the difference, consider the reasons he gives. A mature guy will say, “Can you change your night out with the girls tonight? I'm working all weekend and won't get to see you.” That's different from “What are you going out with them for? You should spend time with me!” Psychologists call this “controlling behavior” - something you don't want.

Women under 30 who're still trying to “find themselves”, are particularly vulnerable to such controlling. Initially, you think it's wonderful that he wants you to spend all your time with him; later, you'll realize what a loser he is. If he dares to ask you to ditch your friends for him, be firm but clear. A simple “Go away NOW” will do.

Action Plan

  • Set limits: Say “I'll see you weekends, but I need my friends.” For a relationship to work, there must be at least three relationships: time with him, time for him with his friends, time for your with yours.
  • If he's trying to separate you from all your friends, he's trying to make you dependent on him and thus less likely to ditch him: You're letting him? Get a grip, girl!
  • Stop letting one person control your entire life: How do you experience new things if you're not doing them with different people?

It's a personality clash

People clash for all sorts of reasons but there's often nothing sinister about it. We slot people into pre-existing stereotypes, sometimes on sight; maybe they subconsciously remind us of that dreaded ex, that nasty cousin, or it may be a silly reason – like what they're wearing. If it's instant dislike, it's not her fault of his and it may pass once the real person starts to emerge. If we're fair, we'll accept that first impressions can be wrong. And if the impression never changes, the mature man will say, “I don't like her, she doesn't like me. I'll be nice to her but it's probably best if you see her mostly on your own.”

Sometimes, it's the friend you least expected him to click with that he likes. The quiet, brooding romantic might adore your extroverted, outrageous girlfriend. After all, variety is the spice of life!

Action Plan

  • Is it really that important that everyone gets on?: Not every guy is going to be forever. If you're meant to be, it will work out. We're drawn to different people throughout life, go down a little road with someone for a few months, realize we're at cross purposes then split. So does it matter that he doesn't like Sarah?
  • You can't force people to like each other but you can demand that they respect your judgement: Okay, he'll turn his nose up when you mention her name but bitchy comments aren't on. Ditto for her.
  • Use reverse psychology: Tell your boyfriend your gal pal told you how cute he was. Tell her he said she seemed really nice. If he thinks she likes him, he's more inclined to like her – and vice versa. They both start being nice to each other and before you know it, they're buddies!
  • Nothing seems to work: If she's a friend you see occasionally, it's not a problem. Simply see her on her own. If it's your best friend, not so easy. It's all over unless one of them turns around pretty quickly.

He sees what you can't

Deb and Peter nearly broke up over his dislike of one of her closest friends. They're now married – and her pal wasn't invited to the wedding. Peter resented Chris. She only saw Deb when she wanted something. She borrowed money and never repaid it, borrowed clothes and returned them stained. She only use her and gave nothing in return. Deb says that Peter forced her to look honestly at the relationship and didn't like what she saw – that Peter was right about Chris.

Boyfriends can give us another perspective. If he loves you and feels you're being taken advantage of, he may have a point. The trick is to weigh up his comments and make sure he's not motivated by jealousy. Then make up your own mind whether you want to stay friends with her. The bottom line is she's your friend, not his.

Riih Rion

Riih Rion is bashful when facing cameras and video-cams. But she soon realized she is more comfortable behind a PC screen than in front of a lens. Riih is passionate about beauty products, paranormal & folk lore from anywhere in the world and sushi. Especially sushi. Come visit her blogs or drop her a comment :D

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