Here was my former dating dream scenario, one I’m sure many of you also share: I’d meet a guy that I really hit it off with, he wouldn’t ghost me, our chatting would bloom into a healthy relationship, and all of my friends and family would love him. Well, here’s what I had to do when that dream situation finally played out—all except for that final, crucial step.
Needless to say, I DID meet an amazing guy that I began to seriously date. In my eyes, he was smart, respectful, ambitious, sexy, and shared my weird sense of humor. So when it came time to introduce bae to my squad, I couldn’t have been more excited. All I could picture were how they were going to give him glowing review when he went to the bathroom and all the group brunches with my BF AND my BFFs that were in my future. It looked so
My boyfriend and my friends didn’t click from the moment they met. The meeting started off awkward, as introducing new groups of people in your life often is. But, to my horror, my squad didn’t even laugh at my boyfriend’s “breaking the ice” joke. Glasses clinked awkwardly and the standard small talk was exchanged, and my boyfriend was pretty clearly miffed that the crew wasn’t giving him the time of day. The next hour was me trying to force uncomfortable conversation and everyone bailing with various lame excuses.
The next day, the reviews were in. My girlfriends sat me down at our favorite breakfast joint and gave it to me straight – well, as straight as they were ever going to be. They confessed that they were “surprised I was into him” because he just “didn’t seem like my type.” When I asked what they meant, my heart sinking, they explained that they found him a little too pretentious for me, saying his sense of humor was “off-putting.” Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
My boyfriend wasn’t a big fan of my friends, either. On the flip side, my boyfriend didn’t have a boatload of good things to say about my girls, either. He felt shut out from the moment he opened his mouth, without even giving him a chance to prove himself. Being a reasonable guy, he knew they had a right to be protective of their friend, but he hated how judged and excluded he felt. When I tried to defend them, he wouldn’t hear it, and basically vowed to never hang out with them again.
I had to give myself a little space from everyone. All in all, I was pretty pissed. I loved my friends and I was beginning to fall in love with my boyfriend, but I couldn’t believe how childish everyone was being. I had wanted to bring together two parts of my life in a harmonious union, and they wouldn’t even WORK with me to make that happen. For the next few days, I took some time to myself to mull over the situation; I didn’t sleep at my BF’s place and I didn’t respond to any of the message in my friend group chat—or the individual, “Are you okay?” texts they kept sending me. I knew that with how annoyed I was, I could easily say some hurtful things, so this distance to sort out a plan was key.
Next, I arranged to talk with both parties to tell them how I felt. Once I had enough space to get my thoughts straight and my blood less-than-boiling, I told my girlfriends that we needed to sit down and talk again over lunch—but this time, I would be leading the discussion. Likewise, I told bae that I would be coming to his apartment after work and we needed to talk about the “friend situation.”
I was honest but understanding with my squad. For starters, I told them all that I loved them and that I appreciated them looking out for me in the dating department, as always. Then I brought the hammer down. Without losing my cool or yelling at anyone, I told my friends that what I didn’t appreciate was how they treated my boyfriend right off the bat. They didn’t even give him a chance and their obvious judgment really hurt his feelings. Then I told them all the things I loved about him and why I needed them all to be civil because they were all such important people to me. Things got a little teary and had their awkward moments, but my emotional transparency and respectful response really got through to the girls, and then all wholeheartedly apologized for their behavior.
Talking to my boyfriend was next. Once I had patched things up with my friends, I went to my BF’s apartment to have a similar talk. I told him that I straightened things out with my friends, that they were protective of me, and that I wanted him to give them a second chance. He was hesitant at first, but when I told him that him trying, at the very least, would mean the world to me, he relented.
Finally, we tried getting together one more time. I made sure to wait another week after our talks, just so everything wasn’t so fresh. But the following weekend, my friends and my boyfriend tried one more time to get along. And, true to their words, everyone actually tried to get along! There was no bitterness, no awkward floundering, everyone had actually listened to what I had to say.
They might not have been destined to be best friends, but it was a start. To this day, my boyfriend and my squad still haven’t quite hit it off, and I’m not sure if they ever will. You can’t force the people you love to love each other. But if they really love you, and you respectfully tell them what you need, you can resolve almost any conflict—even if it means compromising your dream dating scenario.
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