My real problem is that I don't know if I have a problem, and could use some input from you and your readers. For a little background, I'm 33, got married and divorced in my mid-20s, but have since been enjoying a laid-back single lifestyle. However, I'm getting to the point where I'm interested in a longer term relationship.
Anyway, I met a girl this past spring who I'm crazy about. We've spent a healthy amount of time together, she's attractive, she thinks my jokes are funny, we've enjoyed some in-depth conversations, and worked through some minor disagreements - everything's pointing toward the positive. Until I met her friends. We both grew up in the area and both have our own close circle of friends, but hers are about as cool as my Green Line commute.
Let me try to paint you a picture. Most of her guy friends are the simple, meat-headed type you'd expect to see in a Coors Light ad. Funny topics consist of inside jokes from their high school days or making fun of other people in the room. Not exactly my top two interests. Most of her girlfriends are the type who want to date the aforementioned guys. Their lack of personality reminds me of Stepford Wives but without the class or grace. (I should give the girls a little credit though, they do have their own inside jokes they enjoy laughing at.)
I have to reiterate that I do thoroughly enjoy spending time with my girlfriend. Her lamo friends completely blindsided me, and I still can't imagine her spending time with people like them. I've always heard it’s a bad sign if your friends don't like your boyfriend, but what's the underlying message if your boyfriend doesn't like your friends? Can I just avoid them? Should I address this?? Is our relationship doomed??? Or maybe I'm overreacting...
– At A Crossroads (I Think), Brookline
AAC(IT), I don’t think you’re overreacting, but I don’t think this is a relationship killer – not yet.
You're allowed to tell her that you don’t always want to come along for the ride when she visits her friends. And she doesn’t have to come with you when you take a ride on your own personal Green Line. If she can’t deal with that – if she demands that you’re always by her side when she visits her old pals -- then you’re allowed to worry.
The old friends of significant others are like in-laws. It’s fantastic when you happen to like them, but more often than not, the best you can do is learn to accept a group of people you wouldn’t choose for yourself.
Her friends may seem like meatheads, and maybe they are, but you have something in common with them – you all care for the same person, your girlfriend. That should be enough to get you through the occasional dinner party. Also know that you may like these people more over time. When we’re with old friends, we tend to regress. Perhaps some of these people are not so bad one-on-one.
But really, as long as your girlfriend doesn’t expect you to spend oodles of quality time with these friends, I’d say this isn’t a big problem. It’s pretty common.
Try to make the most of it if you can. Stepford Wives who belong in beer commercials? At the very least, it sounds like good people watching.
Readers? Must we like our significant other’s friends? What do her friends say about her? Share.
Speaking of Love
"'I want my books to have their own shelves,' you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together."
— David Levithan, "The Lovers Dictionary"
CAN’T HELP MYSELF is Meredith’s memoir about giving advice, learning from readers, working with an ex, and moms and daughters. It’s also a story about how an online community can become another kind of family.