No matter how great a guy might be, if you cannot get along with his friends, the relationship has a big stumbling block to overcome. If you are getting close to establishing a committed relationship with a guy, you need to realize that he will not be abandoning his social circle overnight, that his friends are part of his life and that he would resent you for making “them or me” ultimatums. And besides, you might not want to really know which he would pick: them, leaving you out in the cold, or you, forever to be blamed for taking him away from the life he loved.
You are going to have to deal with his friends in some capacity until he outgrows them or until you can reach an acceptance of them and tolerance of their behavior. The reasons you might dislike his friends are many. You might have to accept that there are reasons why they may or may not like you. But if you are growing closer to commitment to this one guy as his true love or possible soulmate, you must look at the whole picture. And that begins by looking in the mirror.
Four Things to Ask Yourself
- Are you being too possessive?
Are his friends a symbol for the part of him that you cannot control? Do you also have trouble with some of his family or his parents? Affirmative answers here signal that you need to change your attitude first before his friends and relations are to be judged.
- Are you really ready for a deep relationship?
While friends reflect a lot about a person, there is a degree of social tolerance we should have for those closest to us. If you are offended by the people he associates with, perhaps your aspirations for love are more superficial than those you should have for a great catch of a guy. If your version of love includes him changing for you, but you not changing for him, that is called “domineering” … not “loving.”
- Do you want to be the center of attention?
If your man is giving his focus, energy and attention to his friends, could your negative feelings have to do with wanting all that attention focused on you? Being honest about what you expect is mandatory, but more importantly, it is the first step to being realistic about what you can expect in a relationship.
- Are his friends projecting the wrong image?
Is part of your love for this man the image he projects? If you place a lot of importance on image, you may find deeper love a tough thing to hold onto. His friends might not meet the image you have for your ideal partner, but this idealized image is actually a projection of your ego onto your man. Your attraction to him is a reflection of your self-image being reflected back. His friends might be fogging up that mirror, but to make demands of him based on your ego’s superficial aspirations may be farther from love than a relationship is capable of handling. Is your goal to change him? If your goal is to change him more than it is to love him, what does that say about you? Not liking his friends may be a symptom of not really liking him.
Three Causes Rooted in Him or His Friends
- Are his friends trying to sabotage your relationship?
Did he break up with a girl who was close to some of his friends? This is a warning sign that you might not be imagining animosity aimed at you. Is the attention he gives you coming at the expense of a friend or two who are sensitive and not adapting to this change well? Try to be objective and realistic. Avoid paranoid conclusions. Assume that his friends are operating on your behalf and will be happy for their friend to be happy. How do possibilities of sabotage appear now?
- Is there an objective reason not to like these friends?
Have you discovered that your new boyfriend associates with dangerous people? Is there an absolute boundary being crossed in the character of the people who he chooses to call his friends? While some women have high tolerances for behavior, if a man’s friends pose a threat of danger, that energy will likely be visited on you and/or your man. He may, though, secretly long for a woman who is strong enough to make an ultimatum and relieve him of being in harm’s way in the name of hanging out. But if not, why are you with someone who is associating with these people? Why would you want to be with a man who is spineless about standing up to those who would put you in danger or is apathetic to your needs?
- What is his role in maintaining friendships that are offensive to you?
If you have been with him for a while and voiced your displeasure at some of the company he keeps, he may be as much to blame as his friends for maintaining these annoyances. Is he trying to keep a barrier to intimacy front and center by spending time with buddies of his that you just don’t get along with? Does he prefer you to nag him about his friends instead of risking the possibility that you would criticize other things about him that might be more important to his ego? Remember: some of the negativity comes from you and some of it comes from his friends, but a little or a lot of it also comes from him.
Three Rules to Show You Are Making an Effort
If the stumbling block is not you, the friends are not posing an immediate threat and he is well adjusted to the relationship enough to not be using his friends as a defense mechanism, you must make an effort to go with the flow.
- Allow Guy Time
A man has to get together with the guys. This must be allowed. A weekly poker game or barhop is not the end of the world. Please note that this is not a guys and “some girls” night out. You can draw the line there and keep him happy with the wide latitude of time with just the guys.
- Embrace Mixed Minglers
The problem with not liking his friends is not getting to meet all of them and finding out what situations bring out the best in people. Your boyfriend may spend time with a negative friend out of habit or convenience. When prompted to keep in touch with a wider circle of his friends, you may find that the irritating buddies are the exception and not the rule. You may discover you like his circle of friends. In fact, he might rediscover how much he likes the company of these people.
- Ignore the Troublemakers
There may just be a bad match with some of his friends and you can work to avoid these people. It is easier than it seems; there are errands to be run and friends of yours to be visited whenever this unlikable friend comes around. If he is not creating harm, let the relationship stand.
- Allow Guy Time