You’ve met someone new, and they’re amazing. You want to spend as much time with them as possible, and you can imagine this becoming a long-term thing. But when you meet their friends, it’s clear they’re not fans of yours. What do you do?
Jack and Jill Adult asked a few dating experts for their advice on how to handle things when your partner’s friends don’t like you. Here’s what they had to say.
Decide How Important This Is To You
“Everyone has boundaries, but it can hurt when your partner’s friends don’t want to get to know you, as it can feel like a wall has built before you even had a chance,” states boundaries coach Phoebe Conybeare. “Assess your own needs. Do you need to know all of your partner’s friends? If you do, absolutely share that with your partner. If they balk at your need or refuse to try to help you build a bridge, you may have to make a choice about how to proceed in the relationship. Part of asserting your needs in a relationship is knowing your limits and when to walk away when your needs aren’t being met.”
Learn the History of Their Friendship
“Getting along with your partner’s friends is important,” says Stephania Cruz, relationship expert for Dating Pilot. “A good starting point would be to become familiar with your partner’s history with their friends. How did they meet? What was the turning point in their relationship? What meaningful events formed their bond? These questions will help you understand your partner better and why they have such a close bond with their friends. Which in turn will help you be more accepting of their friendships.”
Step Back a Bit
“If their friends are making you feel awkward, it’s a good idea to step back and walk away from the situation to take a breathe and decompress,” states Mary J. Gibson, relationship and lifestyle expert at DatingXP. “This will help you keep from lashing out in ways that can make things more detrimental. Their opinion about you can weigh heavily on your partner and could potentially turn them against you.”
Be Yourself with Them
Gibson says, “Be authentic and do your best when you’re trying to get to know your partner’s friends. If they realize you’re faking it, they will end up disliking you more. The most important to remember here is you don’t need to go out of your way to impress them. People are going to dislike or like you despite what you do, so keep it simple.”
Make an Effort to Get to Know Them
“Making an effort to get to know your partner’s friends is an important step,” says Cruz. “You can ask them their version of how they and your partner became such good friends to get a full view of their friendship’s history. Finding a common ground can also help bridge the gap between you and your partner’s friends. Any step that puts forth the effort in getting to know your partner’s friends will be beneficial. It also sends the message that you are doing your part to get to know their friends because you truly care about your relationship with your partner.”
Talk to Your Partner
“If all fails after you have made the effort, then you and your partner need to discuss [the situation with] their friends,” advises Cruz. “This discussion is important as the two of you will have to address how to move forward and if any boundaries need to be put in place. Perhaps, you can agree to only be around each other’s friends when you absolutely have to. [Your partner may] spend time with them individually, while also making separate time for your relationship.”
Your partner’s friends not liking you shouldn’t be a big deal, but it can be. As Cruz explains, “Studies have shown that people are more inclined to get divorced if their partner and friends didn’t get along as it can bring uncertainty into the relationship. It becomes a consistent source of tension.” As with everything else in your relationship, be open and honest with each other, communicate, and do your best to find a solution together.
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