I’ve been with my boyfriend for a couple of months now. I like him a lot, but there’s one big problem: I kind of hate his friends. I have almost nothing in common with any of them — they all work in banking, and I work in a creative field — and I just find them to be really unfriendly and sort of arrogant. It’s really important to my boyfriend that I hang out with him and his friends, and I don’t want to disappoint him, so I don’t know how to tell him that I would rather be chloroformed than to have dinner with his pretentious friends. What do I do?
Natalie Ruge, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
If you’re really into your boyfriend, then trust that his friends have some redeeming qualities or they wouldn't be his friends. Take a deep breath then take matters into your hands. Suggest making plans with his friends that have girlfriends, so it's a couples night instead of just you and "the guys." Or, instead of heading to a bar where there's nothing to do but talk, make plans to hang out while doing something active, like hiking, biking, dancing, bowling, etc. It's much easier to have relaxed conversation when everyone has something in common. Next, you can invite some of your friends to meet you out when you are with his friends. This will prevent you from feeling awkward listening to their boring, banking conversations or lame inside jokes. Lastly, ask your boyfriend for some history on his friends or specifically what he likes about each of them. This info will help you think of conversation starters. The truth is almost everyone likes talking about themselves, it’s a secret to why therapists are so popular! Give it time. You may find out that some of his friends are actually pretty cool and they might even end up being your friends as well.
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Bea Arthur, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
I’m gonna go in the opposite direction and call you out a little bit. Yes, finance dude bros can be annoying and arrogant, but you know what else is annoying and arrogant? Thinking you’re too good for people. You mentioned that it’s really important to your boyfriend that you hang out with his friends — I’d imagine that’s because he thinks your getting to know them better will help you get to know him better. Whether you see these characteristics in your boyfriend or not, there is a part of him that identifies with and very much values those guys. If he can see the good in them, you should make an effort to see it, too. When entering a relationship for the long-haul, both parties will have a tendency to try and make the other person fit into their world, when the reality is you’re creating a new world together; that means making adjustments to things you wouldn’t have been open to when you were single. If you are feeling distance from the bros, odds are that they are too so I’d recommend making it right before your boyfriend is put in an uncomfortable situation. Hopefully neither party can talk him into choosing sides, but make it easier for him to bridge the gap so it doesn’t come to that. Sometimes when you’re in love, you want that person all to yourself so take a step back and enjoy the whole view of his life, not just who he is to you. Then, thank your lucky stars that you got the pick of the litter — good luck, lady!
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