When Damon, 18, started dating Claire (not her real name), his friends didn't keep quiet about their feelings. "They told me she would hurt my feelings," he says. "Whenever we would hang out, they wouldn't talk to her, and she wouldn't talk to them. It was weird."
Things can be beyond weird when your friends don't dig the person you're dating - feelings can get hurt, romantic relationships can be cut short, and friendships can come to an end. Here's how to deal when your friends and significant other don't mesh.
Confront the Problem
Before you dump your partner or write your friends off, talk to your pals. Bring it up in a way that doesn't seem like you're attacking them. Try something like, "I've noticed you're really quiet when Terry is around. Is there a reason?"
Then listen to what your friends have to say, without freaking out. Sometimes people have strange reasons for disliking someone - she's a little on the clumsy side, or your shy guy seems snobby. In Damon's case, his friends' concern proved helpful. "[Claire] was cheating on me, but because I liked her so much, I couldn't see it," he says. Damon's friends helped open his eyes, but friends are not always right.
It's also important to make sure you don't blow your friends off to spend all of your time with your partner. It'll make your pals jealous, and by not maintaining friendships, you risk losing them.
So, although it's up to you to decide who you date, it's a good idea to take what your friends have to say into consideration. They're your friends for all kinds of reasons - and sometimes they have your best interests in mind.
Make up Your Mind
If you feel your friends' reasons are out of line in their opinions about your partner, or your partner is out of line in her opinions about your friends, let them know. You can explain how both your friends and your partner are important to you, and how you'd like for everyone to get along. True friends will at least give it a try. Expect your honey to make an effort too.
Even after your friends realize that you're sticking it out with your partner, they may find it hard to keep their negative feelings to themselves. If there's eye-rolling, badmouthing, or the silent treatment, you've got to cut it off early. Even if your sweetie and your pals don't click, they should respect you enough to not put you in the position of having to defend the other side. If your best bud or partner refuses to stop the smack talk, you need to reevaluate that relationship.
A for Effort
If you can keep your friends' snarky comments under wraps, things might work. Maybe they're not getting along because they don't know each other or feel they have nothing in common. This is where you can help.
When you're hanging out with friends, ask if it's OK to invite your boyfriend, or ask your partner if she's up for a double date with a friend of yours. You don't need to do it too often. The goal isn't to make them tired of seeing each other (and hate each other more), it's to get them to spend a little time together. Who knows? They may end up liking each other!
If All Else Fails
If hanging out doesn't do any good, it's probably best to stop trying to get them to connect. But that doesn't mean you have to give up one or the other. Just accept the fact that you'll have to spend time with each of them separately.
When your partner and friends clash, it's difficult, but it doesn't have to make or break your relationships with either. It just requires a little work. And since both sides have something in common - you - they'll likely be up for the job.