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?