Supporting your friends can be hard — especially when you think they’re heading down the wrong path. When that path involves a boyfriend you just can’t stand, things get even more complicated.
But like it or not, a friend’s relationship decisions are theirs alone to make. The only role you should be regularly taking in a friend’s romantic life is that of a supportive confidant. If only it were that easy.
Once it’s clear the new guy is here to stay, though, it becomes an issue of adapting or losing the friendship. So how can you ditch the negativity?
Hang out with his friends.
Meeting your significant other’s friends can be nerve wracking. Consider the possibility that your friend’s boyfriend is so nervous about hanging out with you that he comes across as aloof or arrogant when he’s really just anxious.
Try seeing him in a setting with his own friends, where he’ll be more likely to relax and be himself. If you want to learn what makes someone likable, there’s no better way than to observe them in a situation where they’re surrounded by loved ones.
My parents have a friend who went on a first date with a man she didn’t really like. He ended up convincing her to go out a second time to a party his friends were having. She says she liked all his friends so much, she figured he couldn’t be that bad. They went out again.
They’ve been married for 25 years now.
Examine your own feelings.
Disliking someone’s boyfriend can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everything he does turns into one more reason he’s not the right guy for your friend.
But what if the real reasons you don’t like him have more to do with you than him?
It’s easy to feel jealous and resentful of a friend in the middle of a new relationship if you’ve been single for a while. You might even start comparing yourself to her, wondering why you’re single and she’s not.
Or maybe you’re upset that she’s spending more time with him than with you, and that their dates are now cutting into the nights you used to spend together. That jealousy is a common sentiment, but it never leads anywhere worthwhile.
Dig deep into your own feelings and ask yourself: do you dislike the guy or the idea of him? It can be difficult to realize you’ve been acting petty and unsupportive of your friend’s happiness, but it’s better than continuing to hate someone for no reason.
Don’t tell her.
Unless your friend is being abused in any way, there’s likely no need to tell her what you think. She might already have a sense of how you feel, and if you do tell her, you’ll only risk driving a wedge between the two of you.
It’s hard to be quiet if you think your friend is dating someone below her standards. but you never know what happens behind closed doors. I’ve had plenty of friends whose boyfriends I didn’t like, only to come around on them at some point when I got the full story.
You also want to make sure if your friend does run into problems, she won’t hesitate to turn to you for help or advice. If you’ve been constantly negative about their relationship, they may avoid reaching out in fear of an “I told you so” moment.
At the end of the day, your personal feelings about a close friend’s significant other are just that — your feelings. Yours to know, yours to understand and yours to deal with. So deal with it.