Uh Oh, You Hate Your Partner's Friends. Here's How To Handle It

When you're in a relationship, you sometimes have to make concessions — like putting up with your significant other's friends, who may not be your cup of tea. And, even if you don't really mind them, it can sometimes be hard to warm up to new people hanging out in your life. Even those who make friends easily can sometimes stumble when it comes to being introduced to new friend groups. You feel like an outsider.

There can be all sorts of reasons why some people just aren't your people and why you may dislike (or even grow to dislike) your partner's friends. Perhaps they're controlling, overly boisterous, or worse. Maybe they've been hitting on you behind your significant other's back, or you feel like they're using your partner somehow. There's always the off chance that you feel like these friends are monopolizing the time you want to spend with this important person in your life — but you need to learn to share them, just like they'll need to let you have time with your friends as well.

Once you know why you dislike this person (or people), you can start finding ways to either tolerate them or make other plans for yourself when your partner is hanging out with them. So, let's take a look at why you're just not jiving with these folks and all of the positive ways you can handle it without losing your relationship in the process.

Start by looking within

The first thing we should all do when we feel like we don't like someone is to look inwardly. Our own unconscious biases and beliefs can make it difficult to befriend people who see things differently. What is it about that person that really gets to you?

Reflect on what it is you don't like about them — perhaps make a list of the things that irk you, even if it's something small. To get down to the heart of the matter, even tiny annoyances may help you figure out the issue. Is it that they remind you of someone else you don't like — someone who did you wrong in the past, and you're worried the same will happen to your partner?

Perhaps you've seen this type of person before, and they did something that hurt or annoyed you. Is it the way they treat your partner or you? Maybe the person talks down to you or your significant other. Your dislike for them may be all about how they treat this important person in your life rather than how they treat you. No matter what it is, once you have pinpointed the problem, you can start working through the following ways to deal with it.

Sit down and talk with your partner

Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, and so is honesty. If you don't like your partner's friends, you should let them know. However, you want to go about this carefully — so it's important to take that initial step of looking inward. Writing down the things you don't like and why before you schedule a talk may help. Go into this discussion open-minded, willing to compromise, and ready to listen. Because you don't want to come in sounding accusatory, begin all of your sentences with "I."

"I feel like Tim isn't a good friend to you because he always starts arguments, and it seems like that puts you in a bad mood. When this happens, I feel like you start to shut down, even with me." You want to explain what you see and why it bothers you. Perhaps your significant other finds Tim's arguments fun competition rather than an annoyance, and perhaps their bad mood stems from something else.

Sitting down and talking about this without any arguing or accusations allows you both to tell your side of things and better understand why your significant other stays friends with someone you think is bad for them. Then again, they may realize you see something they don't and can start working on that friendship to better it or end it — but that's your partner's choice, not yours.

Talk to the friend(s) about it

Sometimes the best answers come from the horse's mouth — but you want to be careful about approaching one-on-one conversations with your significant other's friends. If this is the route you want to take, we highly suggest having that talk with your partner first and then letting them know you would like to have a personal discussion with their friend. You don't want your partner to feel like you're stepping on their toes or going over their head. They may not see an issue with this person, and your talking to them may start one.

If you do sit down to talk to the friend whom you're having issues with, approach it in the same way you did talking to your significant other — use "I" statements, don't be loud or accusatory, and be sure to give the friend a chance to stand up for themselves and share their side of the story. You may find that this person has past trauma that causes them to act the way they do, or they're having struggles at work or in a relationship. Of course, there is also the chance that they are a user or abuser and don't have the best intentions toward you or your partner, but they're probably not going to flat-out admit that. Watch their body language and listen to your gut.

Understand their place in your partner's life

Friends in friend groups often have different dynamics. There's the shy one, the loud one, the comedian, the wild one, and so on. What you see as an annoying trait —and not one you'd like to have in your own circle of friends — could serve some purpose in your partner's life.

When you talk to your partner about this person, consider asking why they're friends and what attracted them to this person. That loud friend who is also drawing attention and making a scene may seem embarrassing to you, but to your partner, this might be someone who brings them out of their shell and makes them feel more outgoing than usual.

Someone who corrects your partner all the time when they say something wrong, like using the wrong word or mispronouncing it, could be helping them feel less embarrassed than they would if a stranger corrected them — they may actually like being taught to speak more eloquently, even if it makes you feel like they're being made fun of. Some friends are there to help us feel younger and keep us on our toes, and some are just there to remind us that not everyone is the same. Just remember: Your partner's friendships are about them, not you.

Set boundaries, not ultimatums

You don't always have to hang out with your significant other's friends. If you feel like the only time you get to spend with your person is when they're surrounded by their pals, this is another thing to talk to them about — but don't give them ultimatums. If you ask them to choose between their friends and you, you may not get the result you wanted, and if you do, your partner may resent you for the loss of one of their friends. 

You can, however, set boundaries and make agreements on when it should just be you two or which friends you prefer spending time with. But remember that your significant other also has a say — this is their life too. There's nothing wrong with asking for alone time with your partner or asking them to let you know when friends you don't like will be included in get-togethers so you can make other plans.

Again, communication is the key to a healthy relationship, so improve that communication by expressing your feelings of loneliness when you feel them. Your partner isn't psychic and won't know how you feel if you don't tell them. Plus, if things get really serious, you're going to want to find some way to work through things because that friend is probably getting a wedding invite.

Try to get to know their friends better

So, if you want to try to work things out, you can always spend some time getting to know your partner's friends more, especially the ones you don't like as much. Perhaps your issue lies in the fact that you just don't feel comfortable around these people yet, and the only way to make that happen is by getting to know them better.

Rather than avoiding them, join in on the fun they're having, participate in discussions, and get a better feel for the whole group's dynamic. Ask questions; you may find out you have things in common that you never imagined. And, even if you don't, you may still find some understanding of why they're who they are or why they do the things they do.

You can choose to spend time with all of your partner's friends or maybe spend a little time with the one (or more) you're having issues with on their own, where you can get a better feel for who they really are. You don't want to spend this time grilling them about their intentions with your significant other, and you also want to be sure that your partner is okay with this — you don't want to cause friction in your relationship by sneaking around behind your partner's back, even if your intentions are pure.

Spend time with your own friends

If you prefer not to spend time with your partner's friends, or you've tried getting along with them, and it just isn't working out, consider having nights with your pals when your partner is with theirs. Sometimes we put our friendships to the side while starting a new relationship, and sometimes those friends stay pushed aside — this offers you a great chance to catch up with your friend group and get a little time away from your partner.

After all, they say distance makes the heart grow fonder. The one thing you don't want to do when you're with your friends is gossip about the person you don't like. It's okay to express your concerns to your friends, but don't paint a bad picture of your significant other or their friend by talking negatively about them until you know where their actions come from.

Another thing you could consider doing to add a buffer when it comes to dealing with your partner's friend that you don't like is to bring the two friend groups together or have one or two of your closest friends come to hang out when your significant other has friends over. Not only does this ensure you have someone to chat with if your S.O. is busy, but your friends will get a chance to see if they feel those same icky vibes you get from that person. 

Or learn to enjoy your alone time

Not feeling like hanging out with your friends or theirs? Rather than vying for your partner's constant attention, give them time with their friends and spend some time on self-care or doing things you've been putting to the side to spend time with them. Whether you have some crafting projects to work on or your home is in disarray and could really use some cleaning and organizing, use this precious alone time to get things in order and old projects done and out of the way.

This is also a great time to do a little much-needed pampering. Some self-care time, like a nice long spiritual bath in the tub or a guided meditation, may also help you work through the issues you're having with your partner's friend — a little quiet time to think and reflect might be just what you need. And, when you're done with that, keep up the relaxation by grabbing a book off your "to read" stack or putting on something you've had saved on streaming for a while. No matter what you do with this alone time, enjoy it!

Learn to be more accepting

Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree — you don't like them, but your partner does, and you either have to accept that or move on. If you're in love and see a future with this person, then you're going to have to accept this friend, good and bad. Accepting them doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of time around them, but it does mean that you shouldn't spend all of your time complaining about them, and you shouldn't try to avoid them at all costs.

Accept that people are different, and some just won't be on the same level as you. You've already talked to your partner about it; they know where you stand, now move on. You can continue using buffer friends when you have to be around people you don't like. And, who knows, the more time you spend being accepting of people who you may not like now may help you warm up to them a bit more in the future.

Put your game face on

While you're working on being more accepting of other people who you may not choose to spend time with on your own, work on putting that game face on while you're together. You don't have to pretend to be besties with your partner's friends, but you shouldn't sit around like a bump on a log or let your annoyance or anger take over. You can be annoyed and still put a smile on your face and pretend you're having a good time even when you're really not having the best time.

If you've ever dreamed of being an actor, now is the time to brush up on your acting chops! Fake smiles may not always look real, but if you keep faking it, there's a chance a real one may shine through. You definitely don't want your significant other to feel like you're always in a bad mood when their pals are around. While you may suffer a little to make it look like things are going great, you're doing it for the greater good of your romantic partnership.

Try to be more open-minded

You may reach a happier state if you open your mind more to the world around you and learn to better understand that you won't always like every person that ever crosses your path. You don't have to like all of your friend's friends, so why do you need to like all of your partner's friends?

While you don't want to dwell much on negative thinking, it may also help to look at the bigger picture: Friendships, just like relationships, don't always last forever. If this person is really bad for your significant other, they'll probably figure it out on their own at some point, and you sticking with them through it will make you a better person in their eyes. You cared enough to try to get along with their friends, and you're still there when they aren't anymore.

All of the steps will help you be more open-minded when it comes to other people in your life, both those you like and those you dislike. Also, by trying to get to know new people and understand why some people are the way they are, you may even learn more about yourself in the process. Perhaps that obnoxious friend will teach you to stop being so reserved, or that bossy friend will help you see your own bossy ways more clearly so you can work on being more laid back.