His friends hate me

I think I have an idea for a very good Love Letters event. Details to come.

Dear Meredith,

I've been dating my boyfriend for over a year. We are head over heels in love, and also best friends. We never get sick of each other and rarely fight. However when we do fight it is always revolving around the same issue -- his friends.

His friends get mad at him if they ask him to hang out and we already have plans. Even if they just saw him the day before, they still get upset that he has plans with me.

I've gone to many parties and events with this crowd of people. It doesn't help that they aren't the friendliest people in the world either. They seem to welcome other friends' significant others with open arms, but no one will even talk to me for more than just a few minutes, let alone try and become actual friends. I have made numerous efforts to try and involve myself and make conversation. This has been going on for over a year and I still don't feel welcome.

Now I'm at the point too where I don't feel comfortable hanging out with them. So when he does hang out with them, it always is without me. I don't ever want him to think that he has to choose between his friends and me.

It's just that the issue of his friends will keep coming up. They give him a hard time when we are together, and they somehow feel betrayed. Yet I also spend a lot of time beating myself up to why his friends don't accept me, and am constantly asking him, if these are his "best friends" why wouldn't they try to make me feel welcome?

Do I try to keep making an effort with his friends? When does it come to the point where it's not worth it? He is feeling pressure from both sides and I know it's hard for him because he doesn't want to ruin his friendships or our relationship.

I would love to hear your advice. I'd hate for our relationship to have this constant strain.

– Outsider of the In Crowd, Boston

Weird. I feel like I'm missing something, OFTIC. Did these people adore your boyfriend's ex? Did you hit somebody's cat with your car? Has your boyfriend given you any information about why these folks embrace others but give you the cold shoulder?

My advice is to bring one of your own friends to a group event. Pick your most perceptive, emotionally intelligent, and winning friend (we all have one, the designated charmer), and bring her to the party. Introduce her to your boyfriend's friends. See how they behave in front of a nice stranger who is on your side. When it's over, ask your friend what she thought of the scene. A more objective third party should notice things that you don't. Your friend will also help you decide if you're being oversensitive, if these people are truly awful, and whether your boyfriend is doing what he can to include you in the group.

My other advice is to ask your boyfriend (again) whether there's something you're missing. Does he have any advice about how to better relate to his friends? Does he have theories about why this has been so difficult? Or does he deny the whole thing?

I don't know how old these people are, but age plays a part in this. These people should be behaving themselves, even if they're in their early 20s -- but they might not be used to friends pairing off with outsiders. You say that you have become your boyfriend's best friend, which means his old friends no longer are. That could be causing their negative feelings about you. Maybe his old friends feel excluded. Maybe you represent their fear of a less-social future. That would make sense.

Bring a friend. Talk to your boyfriend. Continue to take the high road by giving him space with his pals, and by trying to be nice whenever you do show up.

And keep showing up. That sends a message that you aren't going anywhere and that you'd just like to be accepted.

Readers? Am I right about bringing a friend? What can she do to make them like her? Should she have to do anything? Should she talk to the friends about their problem with her? What's the boyfriend's role in this? Discuss.

– Meredith