What To Do If Your Partner’s Friends Don’t Like You, According To Experts
Meeting your partner's friends can mean a lot of good things for the future of your relationship. If your partner is excited for you to meet the people closest to them, there's a good chance that they're really into you. Ideally, their friends would welcome you into the group with open arms. But that isn't always the case. So what do you do if your partner's friends don't like you and is it really that big of a deal?
"If your new partner's friends don't like you, this can be a major issue in your relationship," Anna Morgenstern, dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "For instance, the opinions of your partner's friends could weigh heavily on them and could potentially turn them against you."
It may seem a little harsh. But a 2017 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that people were more likely to get divorced if their friends and partner didn't get along. According to the study's authors, when your friends and your partner don't like each other, it can bring some uncertainty into the relationship. It can also be a constant source of tension.
As Michael Kaye, dating expert and global communications manager at OkCupid, tells Bustle, "People don't always listen to everything their friends say, but they do trust their opinions when it comes to relationships. When faced with dating a partner that their friends don't like, more than three times the amount of people on OkCupid said they would ditch their partner compared to those who would end a friendship."
The good news is, there are things you can do to ease tension between you and your partner's friends. Here are some things you can do if your new partner's friends don't like you, according to experts.
1. Take A Step Back
If your partner's friends are making you feel uncomfortable, it's not a bad idea to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. As Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, tells Bustle, taking a moment to breathe and relax will help you avoid acting out in ways that can make things worse. When you have a moment to yourself, you can also try to figure out where their negative feelings toward you come from. Is it something you're doing? Are you coming off the wrong way? Or are they judging you too harshly? Since it's early on in your relationship, things can always change down the road. But in the meantime, it's best to avoid any more drama.
2. Look At It From Their Perspective
“When entering into a relationship, it’s important to remember you’re not the only one impacted,” Sullivan says. “Relationships with your family and friends also change.” You and your partner may be ready to start a new chapter in your lives, but their friends may not be. If that's the case, your partner's friends may not be as warm and welcoming as they can be. This can happen if your partner is choosing to spend more time with you than with them. With time, things should balance out. But in the early stages, it's perfectly fine to encourage your partner to spend time with their friends while you spend time with yours. According to Sullivan, it's all about making a conscious effort to find balance and create a healthy dynamic early on.
3. Get To Know Them As People And Not Just As Your Partner's Friends
"Do your best to get to know your partner's friends and be authentic in the way you go about it," Morgenstern says. "If they sense you're being fake, they could dislike you even more." The biggest thing to remember here is you don't have to go out of your way to do something that will make them like you. People are going to like or dislike you regardless of what you do. It's OK to keep it simple. "Offer to have them over for dinner and then do something fun like play some games to develop a bond," Morgenstern says. "The more they get to know you and the more shared experiences you have with them, the more your individual relationships will develop."
4. Be Understanding And Try Not To Take Things Too Personally
People get triggered for all kinds of different reasons. You likely won't know what someone's triggers are until you get to know them. If you triggered your partner's friend in some way, the important thing to do here is to not take it too personally. "Something about you may be bringing up some unresolved feelings of insecurity, distrust, fear, or irritation," Sherianna Boyle, emotional detox coach who specializes in helping individuals work through relationship issues, tells Bustle. "While you can't control how other people feel about you, understand that triggers are a sign that something may very well be coming up in this situation to be healed."
5. Find Something You Have In Common
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. If you get along great with your partner and they get along great with their friends, there must be something you and their friends can connect on. "Find out what that is," Sullivan says. You may like the same band, a certain sports team, or you may just like drinking at the same bar. You don't have to be best friends with them. But if you can find just one thing you have in common, it can really go a long way.
6. Discuss The Situation With Your Partner
One of the keys to a successful relationship is good communication. So if you're having issues with your partner's friends, let your partner know. Try to minimize the drama as much as possible by using "I" statements to express yourself. For instance, "I feel like your friends don't like me" will make your partner feel less defensive than, "your friends hate me!" According to relationship expert and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, this conversation with your partner can tell you a lot about their loyalty. "If your new partner values their friends’ opinions, especially if they talk badly about you, they may actually believe them," Rappaport says. "When this happens, you may be in a situation where your partner does not support you or stand up for you."
7. Don’t Force It And Leave It Be
"No matter how much you want it to work out, forcing things won’t make anyone happy," Sullivan says. You and your partner don't have to share the same friends. While it can make your lives easier, it's not a necessity. "Over time, the pressure of the situation will likely subside and can create opportunity for mended relationships," Sullivan says. "Although it's cliché, if it’s meant to be it will be."
At the end of the day, it's your relationship. If your partner's genuinely into you and they're not easily swayed by their friend's opinions, there's no reason to worry just yet. You can't expect everyone to like you. As long as your partner does, you should be just fine.