One of the more difficult areas the husband and I navigated was the area of "our" friends. You and your significant other get along, right? So, you would think that you would probably like the same people. However, I can assure you that is NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. Suddenly, you have your friends, his/her friends, "our" friends, and everything in between.
When moving from an "I" to a "we", the husband and I had quite the time navigating "our" friends.
Image Courtesy of: Miranda Laine Photography
There were the old friends that were part of our lives before we were a couple. Some of these friends fit really well now, but some only fit at a specific time in one of our lives. Now your significant other isn't really a fan. Or, you have the couples you primarily hang out with as couples. They're cool when they're together, and you're together, but inevitably there will be segregated events. Guys' nights, baby showers, chick flicks, and more. At those, you learn that you don't like the half when they're without their better one.
So, now what? You want to invite an old friend to dinner, but your fiance(e) has had a few too many bad interactions. Or, your husband wants to invite a couple over to watch the game, but you know that means he'll zone out in man land with his friend, and you'll be stuck entertaining the wife, who you can't. stand. How do you deal?
1) Alone time. Just because your significant other wants to hang out with a friend doesn't mean you're stuck, too. Be agreeable when they want to socialize with their friend, but make it clear, in a respectful way, that you won't be attending. You can tell them that they'll have a better time without you – if you don't like the person who's there, it's probably true! If you're dealing with couple friends, especially in a group, try inviting different subsets of that group to do different things, so events without the whole, entire group (and couple) become normal. That way, if your boy/girl wants to invite the half they like out to do something, it's not assumed that you will automatically be getting together with the other one.
2) Branch out. Is there a specific reason your significant other likes these friends? Maybe they're the only one left in the area who can talk sports, or they come from similar backgrounds. Think about your larger social network and try to find friends you have who fit those needs as well, and hopefully better. If your husband has someone new who can trade football stats with him, he may be less inclined to try to hang out with the ones that aren't such a great fit for you.
3) Decline, with regrets. As a couple, I've found there are some things that come with the territory, like getting invited to showers and the like for people you may not know very well because of their relationship (or their SO's relationship) to your boy or girl. Send a gift, and your regrets. You're reinforcing the importance of the relationship that's there, but, at the same time, you aren't obligated to actually attend. And, if you politely decline, they will likely do the same when you inevitably end up inviting them to something!
4) Negotiate. Just like anything else you don't want to do, it's easier to suck it up and deal with there's something in it for you. So, offer a trade – if you are hanging out with his friends this weekend, hang out with yours the next one. Or, if you have to entertain the wife while he does manly things with the husband, get him to buy lunch for the both of you. It still may not be enjoyable, but you will probably go into it with a better attitude if you're getting something good in return. Maybe that change in attitude will even let you relax and have a good time (doubtful, but you never know.)!
5) Stick to group events. It's always easier to tolerate someone when your friends are there, too. Talk with your significant other about agreeing to limit the 1-on-1 time and to primarily socialize with the iffy friends when you're in a larger group. Just because you're a fan doesn't mean one of your other friends won't be, so maybe the questionable folks will hit it off with someone new – and leave you alone! Win, win!
So, how do you deal with the friends-you-don't-like?