Not A Fan Of Your Partner's Friend Group? Our Tips For Navigating It

Anyone who enjoyed episodes of "Friends" from the '90s knows just how wonderful it is to chill with a fabulous group of people who get along with each other well. Unfortunately, things don't always run so smoothly in the real world. When you start dating someone new, you don't always know what you're getting yourself into with their friend group. It's possible their social circle simply isn't your cup of tea at all. 


Does this mean the relationship is doomed? Not exactly. But it certainly means there's some possible soul-searching you'll have to do. There are a few different avenues you can take when it comes to changing your opinions of your partner's friend group. Going out of your way to create friendly connections with them when you'd rather stay far away is one option to consider. Pinpointing the exact reasons you have for disliking your partner's friends is a good place to start.

Pinpoint exactly why you don't like their friends

Realizing that you're not the biggest fan of your partner's friends isn't the end of the world, but it's pretty important to pinpoint exactly why you're feeling the way you are. Usually, people don't automatically start disliking others without any reason at all. If you can pinpoint exactly where your partner's friends went wrong, this situation will become far easier to navigate. It's possible you overheard your partner's friend say something sexist or you heard them tell an inappropriate joke early on.


Whatever they've done to rub you the wrong way should certainly be addressed and discussed. If they're open to engaging in honest dialogue about what made you feel upset in the first place, there's a chance they will be open to apologizing and changing their behavior moving forward. Settling on the fact that you simply don't like your partner's friends without exploring your reasoning on a deeper level isn't helpful to anyone involved. After all, in many circumstances, it's worth it to give someone a second chance.

Talk to your partner about how you feel without harshness

Your partner deserves to know exactly how you feel about their friends, but that doesn't mean you should lay it on thick with loads of harshness. Anytime you express how you feel in a relationship, you can improve communication with gentleness and kindness. If you don't tell your partner how you're feeling about their friends, your negative feelings will continue to fester and worsen. This conversation is crucial to have, but the way you go about having it can make or break the situation.


Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Candice Wu explains to LifeWorks that you can get started with this tough conversation by taking a pause, breathing deeply, and looking inward. As you begin to gather information from your partner, do so with loving curiosity. Talk about your feelings using "I" statements, rather than "you" statements. After all, the only person whose feelings you should be discussing are your own. 

You don't live in your partner's head, so you can't read their mind. Do your best to acknowledge your partner's feelings and expressions as you discuss this issue. Make sure that you're cultivating an energy of love throughout the conversation. Doing this allows you and your partner to feel at peace about the future of the relationship instead of worrying that your love may be on the rocks.


Try to understand behavior and actions from your partner's friends

One of the best ways to go about dealing with someone you don't like very much is by attempting to understand where their behavior and actions come from. This can be a huge challenge when you're trying to understand the behavior and actions of people who consistently come across as rude, arrogant, aggressive, or immature. Still, take a moment to put yourself in someone else's shoes to figure out why they feel the need to act a certain way. Just about everyone is a product of nature versus nurture. There's a reason your partner's friends always act the way they do. 


Figuring out the reasoning for their behavior doesn't give them the green light to continue acting inappropriately, but it will help you better understand what they're doing. Place yourself in their shoes for a moment to gauge where their sense of humor comes from or where their core personality traits stem from. Having a better understanding of how your partner's friends came to be the way they are may help you start accepting them in a way you never thought possible.

Try connecting with them through mutual interests or activities

Connecting with your partner's friends in regard to mutual interests is a smart way to go if you're genuinely trying to put your best foot forward. It's possible you've already given up on the notion of befriending your partner's friend group, but if you haven't reached that extreme point just yet, give this a go. Figure out what you can do with your partner's friends that would be truly enjoyable for everyone involved. Participating in well-rounded activities as a group could truly make a positive difference. 


A few examples of mutual interests you might consider exploring would be playing video games, going hiking, attending concerts together, or visiting wineries. As soon as you discover one or two things that your partner's friends enjoy that also spark joy inside of you, bring up the idea of collectively embarking on an adventure as a group. Odds are, your partner's friends will start looking at you in a new light as well when they discover that you're interested in some of the same things they personally care about.

Invite your own friends as buffers whenever your partner's friends are around

You don't have to be stuck in misery hanging out with your partner and their friends all the time when your own friends can be added to the mix. Getting your own friends involved can save the day since they can act as buffers whenever your partner's friends are around. When multiple people are hanging out in one scenario, it gives everyone a chance to bounce their energy off of each other. Different conversations will pop up and you might just see your partner's friends in a new light based on the way they interact with your friends. 


It's also a great idea to get opinions from your friends about everything going on since they may provide more positive perspectives. What if you've been overlooking some of the most redeeming qualities of your partner's friend group because you've been so annoyed by them? Having your friends around to see how things are playing out for themselves may relieve some of the tension you've been carrying on your own.

Try to get to know your partner's friends individually

As uncomfortable as this might sound, you can create a 180-degree change by getting to know your partner's friends individually. This means you have to be willing to sit down with them one-on-one and find out what makes them tick. Learn a little more about their backstory, family life, and everything else as you peel back the layers. When you only know people on a surface level, it's easy to form stark opinions about who they are. Once you know someone on a deeper level, losing any original negative judgments you might've developed actually becomes possible. 


Making judgments about people based on what you know about them on a surface level is the worst possible approach to take. It's almost as if you're judging a book by its cover. Ask them how they met and befriended your partner in the first place. Ask them to share a fun fact about themselves. Ask them if they have any pets or what their favorite animals are. Find out where their favorite vacation was or where they hope to travel soon. Get some details about where they grew up, what they like to do for fun, what their favorite foods are, and which TV shows they love to watch. The more you learn, the more your opinions may start shifting.

Refrain from giving your partner an ultimatum

It's crucial that you refrain from giving your partner any ultimatums in connection to their friendships. Using ultimatums "can drastically undermine a partner's feeling of safety and security in a relationship, which leads to an unhealthy dynamic," licensed clinical psychologist Adam Haynes-LaMotte tells PsychCentral. If you put your partner in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between you or their friends, you're making a risky move in your relationship. Either they'll choose their friends and break things off with you, or they'll choose you and grow resentful for having lost out on their friendships. Either way, it's a lose-lose situation. Avoid creating such emotional damage by refraining from any ultimatums or similar threats.


When you give your partner an ultimatum, you force them between a rock and a hard place. They should never have to have to choose between you (the person they love romantically) and their friend group (the people they love platonically). In any healthy relationship, both people involved deserve to maintain friendships outside of their romance. Blocking your partner from that isolates them in a way that turns you into their only pillar of emotional support. You will also become the only person they can turn to socially. Being your partner's one and only friend in the world can become toxic and overwhelming. 

Do necessary inner work if your issues stem from jealousy

You know yourself better than anyone since you live within your body. You know exactly how your thoughts work and how your mind functions. Think deeply about where your distaste for your partner's friends is coming from and decipher if it comes from a place of jealousy. If you have enough emotional maturity to pinpoint that your disdain for your partner's friends comes from the fact that you're jealous of the way they take up your partner's time and attention, you should know that it's necessary for you to do some inner work as soon as possible.


Jealousy has been known to destroy relationships because it can be such an overpowering emotion, leading to serious sadness and sometimes even rage. Some of the inner work you can do to fight back against jealousy would be working on your own levels of self-worth and confidence, as the emotion can also be a symptom of insecurity.  If you're truly secure within yourself and your relationship, nothing that occurs with other people should leave you feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Never forget your value, practice mindfulness, and double down on replacing any negative intrusive thoughts with positive ones.

Don't be shy about addressing your boundaries

Based on what you've already been through with your partner's friends in the past, it's possible that one or more of your boundaries have been crossed to create your unhappiness. If that is the case, it's up to you to make your boundaries clear — and having those boundaries can help you foster stronger relationships. Don't be shy about addressing your boundaries and making sure everyone involved knows exactly where you stand. Your partner and their friends should know that they're not allowed to do certain things, make certain comments, or crack certain jokes in your presence.


You'll notice true signs of growth in your partner's friends if they take your boundaries seriously. Maybe you want them to stop belching and burping whenever you're around. After a few consecutive hangouts where they aren't doing that, you'll know that they're actually taking your concerns seriously. Maybe you want them to stop watching sex-fueled music videos in front of you. Pay attention to the type of content they play in your presence to see if changes are starting to be made. After vocalizing what your boundaries are, leave the ball in their court to start repairing the damage.

Keep your distance if you absolutely must

Keeping your distance is a go-to move to make if you absolutely must. There's no reason you should be forced to engage with people who make you feel angry, upset, or uncomfortable on a regular basis. If your partner tells you they plan to invite their friends over soon, arrange plans to spend that time elsewhere. Grab your laptop and head to a café with free Wi-Fi. Text a friend asking if they want to meet up to grab a bite to eat. Book yourself an appointment at the spa. Do something to keep your distance in order to maintain your peace of mind.


Remember that you also shouldn't feel displaced from your own home. If your partner is insistent about hanging out with their friends, but the two of you presently live together, you shouldn't have to uproot yourself every time it happens. Have a conversation with your partner about meeting up with their friends elsewhere so you don't always feel like you're being booted to a new environment to appease the situation.

Make sure your partner plans quality time for the two of you

Your partner should plan quality time for the two of you as often as possible. At the end of the day, your relationship should be a top priority for the both of you. If you notice that your partner is constantly scheduling more time to hang out with their friends than you, then you have a valid reason to be concerned and upset. Encourage your partner to plan quality time with you in a way that keeps things as equal and balanced as possible. You don't want to hold them back from spending time with their friends, but you deserve a solid amount of quality time as well.


Keep in mind that requesting quality time with your partner is completely normal in any healthy relationship. You shouldn't be gaslit into feeling like you're being overly clingy or needy by requiring quality time from your partner. Relationships thrive when two people spend time together without any outside distractions or disruptions. After all, quality time allows emotional bonds to form. If your partner also cares about the future of your relationship, making sure you have enough quality time together will be just as important to them.

Don't let anyone gaslight you

You don't deserve to be gaslit in any situation, and that includes when dealing with your partner's friends. If your partner attempts to gaslight you by trying to convince you that their friends "aren't so bad," understand that you're being faced with a form of gaslighting. When saying something like that, your partner is going out of their way to minimize your emotions, which simply isn't fair. Remain aware that your feelings are valid through and through. Anything that makes you feel upset or uncomfortable needs to be addressed accordingly.


If your partner tries to say you're being overly dramatic or overly sensitive, the unfortunate truth is that you are being gaslit. According to Science of People, classic gaslighting includes blame-shifting, minimization, and denial. Expressing your concerns about the behavior of your partner's friends should never create aggravation or defensiveness in your partner. Instead, they should be willing and open to talk about your hangups so you can work through things as a team.

Evaluate why your partner chose their current friends

You might want to do a bit of soul-searching about your relationship as a whole if you're feeling conflicted about your partner's friendships. Evaluate why they would choose to entertain their current friendships if the people they spend time with aren't healthy-minded individuals. People are naturally attracted to others who they share things in common with including morals, viewpoints, and lifestyle decisions. Think about whether or not you're comfortable dating someone who could unapologetically be friends with folks you'd consider to be low-vibrational.


An example of this would be disapproving of your partner's friends because you know they all have histories of cheating on their significant others. Maybe you disapprove of their friends because they don't care about women's rights in the slightest. Maybe they collectively lack ambition and they drag your partner backward when it comes to elevating in life. Whatever your reasoning might be, understand that your partner has chosen to maintain these friendships for a reason. Is this something you're willing to live with forever? Are you comfortable knowing your partner resonates with certain belief systems and behaviors that repulse you? Evaluate why your partner chose their current friends so you can make a crucial decision. Based on your conclusion, decide whether or not your relationship is actually good for you to stay in.