“I hate my guy’s friends!”

By Julie Weingarden Dubin

I’ll never forget the guy I dated whose three best friends were like a group of seventh-grade (mean) girls. His pals needed to “approve” me, gossiped way too much and spent more on clothes and hair products than I did. Ick. I just couldn’t get past his high-maintenance trio.

We’ve all been there: Great-seeming guys, nightmare friends. How do you know when to deal with his buddies and when to run? We asked psychotherapist and relationship expert Ellen Chute whether each of these types of friends could be tamed:

Hateful Friend #1—The inside jokester
Elizabeth, 32, of Chicago, was on the fence about a guy she’d been dating a few months, but when she met his friends, she knew that she needed to make a break. “The guy was intelligent, but he had low self-esteem,” she says. When she met his friends (who all worked in the same IT department), they didn’t include her in any conversations but instead made weird inside jokes all night. “It was awful,” she says. “His friends seemed to lack the basic social skills necessary to talk to someone they didn’t already know, and I started to see my date was no different.”

How to make nice: First, let your date know you feel left out. Believe it or not, he may not realize you’re not hanging on their every word. Try saying: “Hey, it seems like you guys are really close, but when you tell all those stories about work people, I feel like an outsider.” If he says, “We just get like that when we’re together”—that’s not good. But if he apologies and promises to steer the topic away from inside references to middle-school hijinks, then you know he has a sensitivity chip. And who knows? You may find his friends are actually more socially-evolved once they get talking about mainstream topics like Barack Obama or the post-writer-strike TV options.

Hateful Friend #2—The Vince Vaughn type
This is the guy who — like the characters Vince Vaughn inevitably plays — tries to convince your date that women are balls and chains and he’s better off without you. Briana, 31, of Los Angeles, can relate. She fell in love with her boyfriend right away, but loathed his best friend. He constantly put her down and tried to persuade her boyfriend to give Briana the boot. But she wasn’t going to let one jerk scare her away from a great guy. So she decided to be the bigger person and reach out to his friend. “When I needed to book a speaker for work, I called him, and he hooked me up with someone,” she says. “He was great and made me shine at work—and I made him shine.” He ended up apologizing and telling Briana he had her pegged all wrong. “I think he gained respect for me when he saw that I was able to separate work from our personal problems.” Now, Briana, her beau and his bud all hang out happily.

How to make nice: Remember: This pal isn’t your guy. And just because your man thinks his Old School-ish pal is amusing, doesn’t mean he values his opinion. Chances are, the VV type is jealous that your man found someone great. Or, he feels threatened that you’re taking his best friend away (really!). Do let your date know if the guy says something truly jerky (“You two will last maybe three weeks”). If he knows his friend is being rude to you and doesn’t do anything, or says something like, “Let it go” or “He talks to everyone that way,” then do yourself a huge favor and move on.

Hateful Friend #3—The player
How do you know this guy can’t keep it in his pants? Because he flirts with you! When Alison, 34, of Philadelphia, started dating Sam, his best friend propositioned her. “I never told Sam about Jude coming on to me because I felt like I could handle it,” she says. “When Jude suggested that we get together alone, I said, ‘No thanks’.” But Jude continued to make her feel uncomfortable, and Alison soon realized she didn’t like Sam enough to put up with his best friend, Mr. Octopus.

How to make nice: If it’s just a glance or two in your direction, try ignoring it (some guys just can’t help drooling over women). But if he makes a clear advance or says something truly suggestive, say something right away: “I’m dating Jason and am not at all interested in you.” And do tell your date, just in case he hears a twisted version of the story (“Man, it was crazy, your lady came on to me outside the bathroom”). Chances are, your date knows that his friend is a dog with women, and will (a) tell his pal to keep his hands off, and (b) keep you two apart as much as possible.

Hateful Friend #4—The mooch
So you’re dating a guy whose roommate thinks it’s fine to tag along for Thai food or to the movies? It happens. Amy, 26, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, was annoyed when her date’s roommate felt it was fine to hang out with them in front of the TV on an early date. She thought: What’s with a guy who lets his roommates join in a date? But she didn’t know how to get the roomie pal to quit hanging out with them.

How to make nice: Some folks are just clueless—and if your guy happens to room with one of these unfortunate souls, you shouldn’t hold it against him. That said, it’s not a good sign if your date can’t let his buddy know he’s not welcome on his dates. Let your date know you’d love to hang out more with him—and just with him. Let him know nicely that you’d prefer if the pal didn’t join. If his friend continues to show up, show your date to the door.

One last word of advice: A guy’s friends are very important to him (just as yours probably are to you). So know that you may have to tolerate some times with a less than favorite person, but if your guy’s a keeper, it’s worth it!

Julie Weingarden Dubin writes for Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Shape. She is the author of How to Plan an Elegant Second Wedding and lives in Huntington Woods, Michigan.

[via MSN]

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At May 16, 2008 at 10:26 AM , Blogger PaytonGirl said...


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