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So you’ve found the perfect man: he opens the doors, he says sweet things, he buys the thoughtful gifts, he pays the bills (the small ones) and he pleases yours needs … in every way.

But then you meet his friends. His friends, for whatever reason, are a culmination of all things bad. Perhaps they’re misogynistic playboys whose behavior will undoubtedly poison your relationship because of their negative influence on your man. Perhaps they’re the trifling type who hit on you when your boyfriend isn’t around, or perhaps they just irk you for no real reason. Either way, these men get on your nerves, and depending on how you manage your relationship with your boyfriend’s friends, you may make or break your relationship with your man.

Even if you absolutely despise your man’s friends, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Beef with your boyfriend’s best friend/friends will cause serious discomfort in the relationship because they will be a prominent presence in your relationship, even if it’s indirectly.  And, because your man’s autonomy is just as important as your own, you have to be sure to let your boyfriend make his own decisions about who he should and shouldn’t hang out with. That being said, you should still be vocal about your concerns pertaining to his friends, especially if they make you uncomfortable for any reason. If your annoyances with his friends are over something small or trivial matters, then try to alleviate the issue by finding a common ground. If you all like similar things, say a favorite sports team, then you jump on that topic and ride it until the wheels fall off, never allowing the conversation to lean toward something upsetting for you. Also, if you can’t carry on a conversation with his friends or you don’t like to be in close proximity to them, use your boyfriend as a buffer at times, physically using him to stay away from his friends.  Use your boyfriend as a translator when you and his best friends aren’t able to understand each other, and also feel free to excuse yourself from the room if your boyfriend steps out. Don’t ever feel inclined to stay and converse with his friends if it’s truly not within your nature –just politely excuse yourself. It also helps if you bring a friend or two with you when you know you will be hanging out with his homies, that way you have someone to converse with and relate to, while he vibes with his own comrades.

Suppose that doesn’t work, and all acts of cordial behavior have left you nowhere but frustrated. In that case, it’s necessary to address the issue head on. Ideally, you should speak with your man before you approach any of his friends. You don’t want your boyfriend to feel like he’s being undermined and you don’t want his friends to feel attacked (because all of that can backfire on you). Talk to your boyfriend first. Attempt to address your concerns without being confrontational, and never blatantly say that you hate his friends. Have a thoughtful response as to why you can’t seem to get along with them, with examples of past situations that made you feel that way. Also, it’s important that you remember that you aren’t trying to make your boyfriend choose between you and his friends, because while he might choose you, he will also resent you for making him feel like he had to make that choice, especially if his decision was the result of nagging or the cold shoulder from you.

Some other final thoughts regarding the matter are: you have to trust your man, not his friends.  Even though friends can be a terrible (or a positive) influence on a person, you have to trust that he will make the best decision for you and your relationship. And, if you can’t  trust your man to be honest when he’s with his friends, then perhaps your boyfriend isn’t trustworthy anyway. Also, don’t blame your man’s friends for all of his bad behaviors–give credit where it’s due. If he insists that Tyrone and ‘em keep making him late, and they’re encouraging him to do some not so desirable things, then you need to start questioning how much of that is your boyfriend. Also, if one of your man’s friends is a woman, and you don’t trust her, or her presence leaves a bad taste in your mouth, then your best bet, even if she’s the most rachet person in the world, is to become friends with her independently of him. While being friendly with her doesn’t guarantee that she won’t steal your man, it’s the easiest way to uncover her motives.

Sometimes friends are just part of the package when it comes to dating a guy. They can be welcomed additions to your life, or nightmares. But either way, you shouldn’t let them have an adverse effect on your relationship if their are substantial reasons why they rub you the wrong way. Don’t be afraid to say something if you need to. But also be open. Just as it might be hard to adjust to your man’s friends, it might be just as hard for them to adjust to you. You never know the friendships you can form when you actually try…

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