Three’s a Crowd

If you want your relationship to make it long-term, you’re going to have to make amends and endure your partner’s annoying friends.

By Lindsay Biondy, University of Pittsburgh


I admit it: I’m a serial monogamist.

From age fourteen, I jumped from one long-term relationship to another, with little time spent being single. These relationships have taught me that it’s incredibly important to have a good relationship with your partner’s friends.

If you’re currently in, or have been in, a long-term relationship, you know it’s inevitable that you’ll spend a lot of time with each other’s friends. Oftentimes, you’ll find that they’re pretty good people and fun to be around, which makes sense because your partner likes you and their friends, so you all must have some trait in common.

Sometimes there’s an anomaly, though. Sometimes there’s one or two people you just butt heads with. In my case, it’s one of my boyfriend’s roommates. At first, we got along great. We’d jokingly gang up on my boyfriend, be beer pong partners and I even helped him decorate his room.

But one day, we got in a fight where we both thought the other was being ridiculous, and we never resolved it. Our mutual resentment grew until it was tense and uncomfortable anytime we were together, but we persevere. Here are some tips on how we (or at least I) try to maintain the peace.

1. Don’t Publicize Your Issues

Don’t write a passive-aggressive article about them for the online magazine you write for. And if you do, don’t link it to any of your social media accounts. He’ll probably find it; he’ll probably get mad and your significant other (SO) will probably yell at you for starting drama.

At some point, you may get so frustrated that you want to subtweet about how irritating your partner’s friend is, or you might want to Instagram a photo of everyone but crop him out. Please don’t. The brief satisfaction you get from that tweet or post will not be worth the drama. Plus, imagine how you’d feel if they did that to you.

When it comes down to it, your issues are between you and whoever you’re arguing with (and maybe your partner), not the public. Always remember the golden rule, and treat others the way you want to be treated.

2. Spend as Little Time with Them as Possible

If you know you two always end up bickering when you’re together, try to avoid it whenever possible. Of course, you’re going to run into each other sometimes, but in most cases, it’s entirely possible to keep your relationship with your partner separate from theirs.

What to Do When You Hate Your Partner’s Friend

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When I don’t like someone, every little thing they do bothers me, and I start looking for reasons to be annoyed with them. But this attitude is toxic, and it only perpetuates your need for validation of how awful your SO’s friend is.

Spending too much time with someone you don’t like can cause unnecessary stress, so try going out or spending the night at your place instead of your SO’s. If that’s not possible, give them space and hope they do the same for you.

3. Don’t Start Unnecessary Drama

One of the hardest things to do is keep your conversation and actions civil, but in the long run, reigning in your emotions will benefit everyone. I know, sometimes you want to be petty and get revenge for being treated badly.

Sometimes you’ve binge-watched too many episodes of “The Office,” and you think you’re Jim and your partner’s friend is Dwight and you want to prank them, but it’s important to keep your situation in perspective. Don’t go out of your way to intentionally hurt or annoy them, and don’t let them get under your skin.

4. Don’t Put Your Partner in the Middle

You want to confide in your partner, and you’re used to talking to them about your problems and getting their advice. But, in this case, making them pick sides would be wrong, and you might not like what they have to say. For reasons you may not understand, your partner sees redeeming qualities in his annoying friend, and you have to respect that, especially if they’ve been friends longer than you’ve been going out.

If you need an outlet, talk to your own friends, start a blog or throw darts at a picture of them. The more negative you act toward your partner’s friend, and the more you complain about them, the worse you look. The last thing you want to do is negatively affect your relationship with your significant other.

5. Try Talking to Them

Despite some immature moments, you’re both adults. Ignoring the issue can only go on so long, so try talking to them. Tell them that the tension between you two is exhausting, and you want to have a better relationship. Tell them you’re sorry. Tell them you’ve said some things you shouldn’t have.

Admitting you’re wrong or saying you’re sorry is always hard, but be sincere. Chances are, they’ll appreciate your apology and reciprocate it. While you may never be friends, maybe you can cut down the hostility and enjoy a party together. Because, as inconvenient as it is, your SO’s friends are important. All of them. No matter your differences, you both have something in common: You love your significant other.

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