My girlfriend’s friend is ruining the relationship

I'm having trouble with my girlfriend's friend. My girlfriend and I have only been together for a couple of weeks, but I'm now noticing the trouble with this friend. To start, this friend really dislikes me. She takes any small thing – like the fact that I couldn't get out of a family dinner – and turns it into a problem. She'll tell my girlfriend, "He doesn't want to see you and he's being a jerk," when it's really about me being at a family dinner. It's getting on my nerves.

The worst part is, my girlfriend seems to be falling for it. She believes everything this toxic friend says. They spend a lot of time together, and sometimes it's hard to reach my girlfriend because they often carry each other's phones. I really like this girl, but her friend might be the one thing that ruins an otherwise perfect relationship. Also, the family dinner thing was not an isolated incident; this friend creates conflict all the time.

– Conflicted

Tell your girlfriend about your hopes for the relationship. That you want to respect her friendships without feeling like you're competing with them. That you want her to give you the benefit of the doubt when you tell her about other commitments (like a family dinner).

You're less interested in her friend's concerns because ... you're not dating her friend. If your girlfriend has problems, feels ignored, or wonders where you are, she can talk to you without invoking third parties. You're here for her. You want to be able to work things out together, as a pair.

You're probably tempted to tell her that she's in a toxic friendship, but don't go there. Don't criticize the friend. Instead, focus on new ideas for communication with your girlfriend. Would you rather talk about issues in person? What are your expectations for giving and receiving attention? Ask her to answer those questions, too. Then see if you can respect each other's wishes.

Please know that this is a lot of conflict for a new relationship. Maybe this isn't a good match. You can blame all of this on the friend, but your girlfriend manages her own relationships.

– Meredith

Readers? Ever trade phones with a friend?