When You Can’t Stand His Friends

I recently learned of an out-of-print book called Please Read This For Me: How To Tell The Man You Love the Things You Can’t Put Into Words. I haven’t read it, but I heard an interview with the author on This American Life. The book, from what I understand, gives scripts for various difficult conversations. Ten of these scripts, according to Ira Glass, are about “dealing with each other’s friends.”

I wish I could get my hand on this book because I would love to read those scripts. Not that Matt and I have any problems with each other’s friends—we’re lucky in that area. We each like each other’s buddies. At least we both pretend to.

No, I kid. We really do. We’ve been together so long that most of his friends are my friends and vice versa.

I imagine not liking your significant other’s friends would be really tough. We’ve discussed here about what happens when you don’t like your friend’s man. But what about when you don’t like your man’s friends?

Ugh. Just thinking about it gives me jitters. I can’t decide what’s worse, being forced to hang out with someone who makes you want to gouge your eyes out, or having the conversation where you tell your husband/boyfriend/whatever that you can’t stand his best friend.

Friendships are, obviously, very personal. Telling someone that the guy they’ve known and been friends with for years is a jerk? It’s a little bit like saying he’s a jerk too. At least it can feel like that to him.

Since I don’t have the pre-written scripts, I’ve been trying to imagine what they might say. Or what would I say? I’m thinking something along the lines of “Noah and I just don’t seem to click. It’s nothing about him in particular, we just never hit it off. So why don’t I stay home while you hang out at his place? It might be better for everyone that way. I can do some of the stuff I’ve been meaning to get done and you guys can have quality time watching football/playing cards/enjoying your mancave without my barrage of chatter.”

No matter how much you hate whoever it is you’re avoiding, keep this one piece of advice in mind: Do not make your partner choose between you two. Because he may choose you, but regardless he will almost certainly resent you for forcing such a decision onto him.

There’s no reason that a friendship and a romantic relationship can’t co-exist peacefully. Bonding time without the significant other present is important for the individuals as well as for the relationships themselves. And yes, sometimes you may have to suck it up and see your nemesis—at important functions or couple’s dinners—but that’s just part of the gig. It’s what you do.

Have you ever disliked your partner’s friends? How did you handle it? What did you say?

15 Comments

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15 responses to “When You Can’t Stand His Friends

  1. We have been very lucky in that we generally like each others friends. There are one or two that we haven’t, but we are very tactful about it. Actually it’s the look on the face or the tone of voice, and the other knows that so and so is not liked. Then we let it drop.
    Never do things that lead to rensentment. That is so true !

  2. Lorrie Paige

    My ex-boyfriend’s friend–OH MY GOD–YES!! He’s also his cousin. The type who is very condescending to everyone he meets. Puts down anything you like too. I mean, OK, regarding putting down what a person likes, that’s all fair game because afterall, it’s not the person he’s putting down, but no one likes when a person goes on-and-on, ad nauseam, why he HATES what you like, constantly making insulting jokes about one’s interests/passions. His passion was looking for a negative reaction from people–that’s his cousin, and I’m glad I’m now thousands of miles away from him.

    Anyway, I would just avoid him as much as I could, when dating my ex-boyfriend. But when I was around him, I pretty much took his insults, since they were best friends too….while being pissed off about it…But I’ve grown emotionally/spiritually tremendously since then and would have handled him in a much better way now, like for instance not letting him get to me AT ALL. I can do that now, but it’s no longer necessary with me not being around him anymore.

  3. Pingback: The Guy-Friend’s Girlfriend: A Dilemma | MWF Seeking BFF

  4. Lori

    I c a n ‘ t stand my boyfriend’s friend. I wish he would disappear or worse. He’s a good for nothing. I don’t respect him or his girlfriend. Like you said, feeling so strongly about him, I can’t help but lose a bit of respect for my boyfriend. Never mind it sounds like that, I think that! What does he see in him? Historical friend? I just think useless and full of trouble friend.

  5. Julia

    I’m a newlywed and my husbands best man at our wedding doesn’t live near us, and didn’t come to town until the day before our wedding. So I’ve spent nearly no time with him. He showed up 5 days ago wanting a place to stay. Let me also mention our “guestroom” is in the process of being converted into a nursery – I’m 4 months pregnant! DH tells his friend to stay as long as he needs (the friend is on disability, walks with a limp, blah blah sob story). My husband and I have been fighting since he got here. He does NOTHING. He leaves his dishes out wherever he ate, doesn’t pick up, doesn’t even shower! I asked for help painting a wall and he acted like I had made a joke. I told my husband I was going to go stay at my parents til his friend moved out because I can’t stand it. Putting up with a lazy a** all day and then fighting with my husband about it all evening (we have never had any big fights before). Well, DH finally admitted his friend needed to “get his butt in gear” and told me I was making him choose. I told him I didn’t want him to choose or kick someone out in need, but I’m hormonal and busting my butt all day and I just can’t be around him (plus the friend’s smell makes my morning sickness worse!! He’s so gross!). DH found the friend a place to stay in a matter of hours and helped him pack and gave him a ride. I came home from babysitting my nephew to find my home back to the way it should me: just the two of us.

  6. Kate

    How would you feel if your husband’s friends left you homeless? My husband shared a place with his friends (a couple who he met when he first moved into a house share before we were married) – he still had 8 months of lease left when we got married so we agreed that I would temporarily move in (all parties agreed). The nature of my husband’s job involves a lot of traveling, so most of the time I was left for days alone with his “friends”. From the moment I moved in, and he went on his first business trip, his “friends” would start verbally abusing me. Saying that it’s their place, that it was all in harmony before I moved it, that I’m an interruption in my husband’s life, that I should let him be and leave, that he was better without me (that’s after I have known him for 3 years, and they only 1 – but I studied overseas so didn’t really get to know them). They would do drugs (which I don’t approve off) and even offered me a line of coke once, which I found appalling. I don’t want my family to be surrounded by people with no morals. After I tried nicely telling my husband of how uncomfortable I was living there, nothing had changed (he thought we needed MORE time to know each other and that we will eventually learn to like each other – didn’t happen). The abuse continued, I spent nights crying myself to sleep, and they were telling my husband I was making things up and just wanted to ruin their friendship as I wanted him all to myself. In truth, I absolutely adore the 99% of my husband’s friends besides those two bad apples. It went on for 4 months, until I finally stood up for myself (with everyone present) telling them that I will no longer tolerate this abuse and attitude towards me. The reply was – Get OUT! You can’t stay here – go sleep on the street. I left, and my husband and I now live in a small flat of our own, but he still sees those people and calls them “friends” (he sees them secretly and then lies to me – until I somehow discover the truth – through other people), but for me just hearing their names sends shivers down my spine. I ABSOLUTELY HATE THESE PEOPLE AND DON’T WANT THEM ANYWHERE NEAR MY HUSBAND OR MY FAMILY! Is this wrong?!

  7. Lisa

    My husband and I got together about 7 years ago. His friend ( I’ll call him tommy) was living ou t of country for a year teaching English so I didn’t meet him until we’d been together for about a year. When I initially met tommy I had an uneasy feeling about him, like he could snap at any minute. I pushed this feeling down out of respect for my husband, but it never went away. Over the years my girlfriends started intentionally avoiding gatherings that he would be at ( they only later fessed up to this but it had already become apparent to me). I had good times with a group of friends including tommy but he felt like a loose cannon and came accross as intensely dominating, verging on aggressive in any type of disagreement between him and a women or person of a different race. He thought English as a second language at the YMCA and was fluent in mandarin, I had heard in passing of him sleeping with his students. He had a girlfriend for a while. An Asian girl who told me she was abused by her father. They did a lot of drugs together so I never knew what to believe but she did tell me that he shoved her against walls. Once when he found her confiding in me about her father he flipped out and screened at me so close I could feel his breath. He went away to teach English in anoth country again for a few years and had returned the last two summers for a couple weeks. The first return he told a story about hiring a prostitute in this 3rd world country he now works in who after they did the dead tried to steal his cash and so he beat her up, he later drove him home. I kept thinking how scared she must have been on the ride home that he would kill her. The second return he was bragging to a new girl friend of mine how many of his ESL students he had slept with.

    During Tommys last visit we were meant to go up to a music festival at my husbands home town with a bunch of friends including him, however my husband and and I had planned to do the 14 hr drive on our own leaving a day early to spend some time together and meet the group up there.

    I had vocalized my uneasiness regarding tommy to my husband over the last year.

    All of our friends ditched and tommy was the only person aside from us planning to go and he wanted a ride with us. I told my husband that it was not my idea of a Holliday to drive 28 hrs for 3 days at a festival with tommy as our 3rd wheel the entire time. I asked if there was at least someone else he could find to come to aliviate the 3rd wheel ness of the situation. He said no.

    I told my husband that I didn’t want to go with tommy.

    He got angry at me and told me I was putting him in a harsh situation. And left without me, just with tommy. They stopped at a friends house on the way out of town and that friend decided to go with them. He never called me until they were 2 hours out of town.

    This was this summer and he still thinks that I was being unreasonable. I’m, not sure what to do. I question our future and having children with him because it seems to me that he doesn’t respect me, or care about my comfort or safety.

    I would appreciate any advise.

    • Erin

      Lisa, I know it’s been a few months, but what did you do? Your situation is very similar to mine, though my SO’s best friend is slightly less criminal. Still, drugs, drinking, bar-brawls, name-calling, screaming meltdowns, and a man I love who is really unwilling to deal with it, to the point that I feel hurt and betrayed when his best friend’s insanity is directed at me. Worse, he was our roommate. After the last meltdown, I told my SO him or me, and have left for a few months (as in, physically relocated hundreds of miles away) so he can figure it out.

      A lot of people say don’t make him choose, but I feel like I’ve got to live my life, and I can’t have this guy in it, even peripherally. He’s too much bad energy, and I don’t trust him. Also, I think he’s abusive to my boyfriend, who just takes it. I can’t live with someone who lets himself get screamed at like that.

      I’ve always thought that one of the advantages of not having kids is being able to get out and move on. Whatever happens with me and my guy, I know that I will never have to see this other guy again, and wow that feels amazing. I feel like I escaped from Alcatraz.

  8. Tachi

    My situation is very different as I like my Bf’s guy friends, but not sure why the female friends treat me like an outsider and make no attempts to be friends with me. I don’t have many friends that I socialize with and the ones I do are in other countries or farther away and really busy most of the time so I figured how nice it would be to have some close by female friends to do stuff with locally, etc… nope. 3 years later, after my first attempts to hang out were ignored, I feel like Im in high school again and it’s the clique vs. the “unpopular” girl. When I first met my bf, all he talked about was his one female friend, it’s like this woman walks on air… everyone loves her, talks about her, etc… But from the get go she never made any real effort to get to know me, I reached out in the beginning but apparently I must have done something or wasn’t cool enough because she doesn’t talk to me other than a hello. So maybe you think, I’m just jealous… but the only jealousy I have with her is that everyone else gets to be social and hang out and have fun and I get to sit across the room twiddling my thumbs. I get on well with his guy friends, but at parties, the guys hang with the guys and the women are all together and I wind up sitting by myself staring at the wall thinking “Why did I come here?” They’re all one big happy family and apparently I don’t get to be a part of that. I’m at the point where if they REALLY wanted me as a friend and wanted to include me they would have made an effort a LONG time ago and I’m not going to “beg” them to be included. I don’t want to be hanging on my bf the whole time we’re out and I refuse to sit there looking miserable (because I usually am) so I started using the “i don’t feel well” excuse to get out of going to these things until I explain to him the level of uncomfortableness I feel. I just don’t know the right way to say it.

  9. BJ

    It is so comforting to know others have experienced the same thing. I never even thought I could have so much dislike for a human being. I absolutely cannot stand this one friend of my boyfriend. The thought of him or to hear his name makes my stomach turn. Even though I have my own place, I stay at my boyfriend’s a lot. Well, this friend would drive an hour and a half to stay every weekend. He has one of the jobs that moves every 10 months or so. When my boyfriend wasn’t home from work and I would be there alone, he would just walk in the front door without knocking and begin to make himself at home. Did it ever occur to him that I may be walking around not dressed? Or maybe I was on a private phone call. I finally put an end to it by locking the front door.

    He sits there and passes gas, (I think because my boyfriend prob. told him that I find it disgusting when males fart obnoxiously). A lot of his disrespect is because my boyfriend does not say anything to him. (The reason for that is a long story).

    He does passive aggressive things to irritate me that my boyfriend does not pick up on at all. He is one of those who will observe a disagreement and then try to egg the situation on without being obvious (but it is obvious to me). Another issue was he had a dog he would bring over that was not house trained and did not seem to care that the dog was trying to mark his territory. My boyfriend has 3 other dogs and they would be uncomfortable around his dog. Whenever his dog would snap at them, he never did anything to correct it. I could tell this even began to bother my boyfriend until the dog was out of the picture. He actually did end up kicking him out one night. Then the guy called to apologize and started coming around again.

    My boyfriend has a laptop that he rarely uses but I use it for work that I do for our business. This guy is always wanting to use it just because it is sitting there. I don’t like anyone to use the computer because you don’t know what link someone may click on to get a virus. My boyfriend doesn’t want to tell him no so I have to keep it by my side so it is out of his sight. Next time I am going to tell him he can use my boyfriend’s cell phone to look something up.

    He cheats on his wife, he’s a thief, and i googled his name and see he is a registered sex offender. His explanation is a girlfriend was trying to get back at him and accused him of fooling around with her underage daughter. He said he couldn’t afford an attorney. Isn’t everyone entitled to a court appointed attorney?

    I could go on and on. I think the reason we have such a strong dislike for these people is not because we just don’t click. I think it is because we can sense the bad energy surrounding these people. These people can also sense that we pick up on their bad energy and they don’t like it.

    My boyfriend also has an out of town friend who I have only encountered twice. He does the same crap like walking in before my boyfriend and I are even awake (I was sleeping in the living room) and then being loud and making coffee. It is so ridiculous. I had to lock the front door with him too. What is with such inconsiderate people when it is obvious a women is in the house?

    There is a reason why my boyfriend does not say anything but I’m sure you’re yawning by now. It is just nice to know I am not crazy.

  10. S2203

    I have no issues with my husbands friends. Except for one. Whenever that guy comes in the picture, it’s just the two of them. Out and about drinking. No fixed time for coming home and just going with a flow. When this friend comes in the scene, it’s like I have roommate. Not a husband. After being together for over 8 years and married for a year and a half, I’d hoped there be more of a routine to life. Rather than hearing over the phone “yea hey il be home in a hour or so” which ends up being 3 or 4 hours.
    I just ,don’t know how to handle this. I don’t want
    To fight or argue and I can’t make him choose. That’s just wrong
    So I don’t know. This sucks. It’s giving me severe anxiety and I’m just really perturbed by this.

    • Hi guys love reading your posts. Ok here is my dilemma? I am a recovered addict and I have a completely new life to the point I am back at uni studying to become a psychiatrist to help other people. Everyone in my life that I value that I previously lost has come back into my life, they trust me again, I have my daughter back and things are going great as I constantly work a daily programme to stay on the straight and narrow. The issue is the love of my life and I have rekindled things the last 6 months and things seem to be heading in the right direction. However!!! Her best friend along with a fair few others are dead against it and want nothing to do with me and will constantly tell her not to get back with me. As much as she has been fantastic and standing her ground I can’t help think one day she will get fed up with it all and walk away, secondly I am choosing to potentially live a life new life with people close to her hating me? Is that fair? I understand time heals its been 7 months now and I am prepared to put up with the fact she doesn’t know if she can trust me again? I fully appreciate it can take time to win people over but where do I draw the line? 2 years ? 1 year? Any advice on what to do would be much appreciated. Oh I’m 38 & she is 40

  11. Pauline

    Ah yes. One of the many compromises to be made in a relationship is spending time around people who make you throw up in your mouth a little every time they talk. My ex and I didn’t care much for each other’s friends. The difference was I didn’t try to force mine down his throat, while he was always trying to make me be around his people that I couldn’t stand.

    While he would hang out with his best buddy (a guy I found to be a misogynistic pig), I was expected to chill with the guy’s dipshit wife who would do things like criticize my career path and blather about her kids being “indigo children”.

    Gawd how I love being single and having to make these kinds of compromises.

  12. Andrea

    I can’t stand my boyfriends best friend and his girlfriend. They’re incredibly condescending and disrespectful. A lot of pointless arguments were cause because of his bf. He constantly belittles me, call me bitch, would insult my culture, skin color and just everything else. I never defended myself because I felt as though that is something my boyfriend should do. Eventually my boyfriend made a effort to contain the insults but by that time, this couple completely had no respect for me. Going out was such a drag, I want to be there for my boyfriend, but should take all the insults because of it? No. So, it still continues so I basically told my boyfriend that I would no longer partake in date nights or hang outs with his friend. I have no problem them hanging out and having boys night out but I don’t want no part of it. Of course my boyfriend was upset with me but I feel as though going out was dealing with a bully in which I’m unable to defend myself.

  13. Michelle

    I can’t stand my boryfriends best friend and it’s killing me. I live with my boyfriend and his roommate just so happen to be the friend I do not like. I feel like he freeloads off my boyfriend but by him being the kind hearted guy that he is he doesn’t notice this. He’s a good for nothing….we all work together which is not a problem however my boyfriend has exes that work there also. Well his Bestfriend is still friends with some of the girls and thinks it’s ok to keep them in our presence when it could be avoided. I ended up getting my feelings hurt when his Bestfriend did this the last time and I told him about how I felt and its like he jumped down my throat for my feelings getting hurt like I’m the one that told his Bestfriend to have her around. I’m also disappointed that my boyfriend who is always talking about protecting me and standing up for me would not do so because the person is his friend.

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