Cliché has it that we are the company that we keep. I would largely disagree. I went to a college where 10% of the school was Jewish, yet my five closest friends turned out to be Northeast Jews. I didn’t look for them, didn’t do a single religious thing in four years. But somehow we found each other based on similar interests, backgrounds, and humor.
But let’s say fifteen years ago, I joined a fraternity, had my friends chosen for me, bonded with them over drinking and girls, and still kept in touch. We graduate, move to the nearest big city and start our lives. They’d still be my closest friends. After all, we’d have a lot of history. We’ve got inside jokes, shared experiences, and a common bond that is hard to replicate in the “real world”.
Unfortunately, some of those guys never grew out of being frat boys. And although, in my maturation, I can probably see their deficiencies, I don’t want to dwell on them. They’re guys being guys. Yeah, they can be kind of crude, but they’re not malicious. At least not to me – although I wouldn’t want to necessarily set up ‘em up with my sister.
Old friends are sort of like family. They’ve been with you for so long, it’s almost like you didn’t choose them.
In that regard, old friends are sort of like family. They’ve been with you for so long, it’s almost like you didn’t choose them. And if they’re your core group, it’s pretty hard to jettison them unless you have a new group waiting to embrace you. So you put up with them, willfully blind yourself to their flaws, and hope that you don’t get tarnished by association. This could be what your boyfriend’s going through.
All of this blather hasn’t acknowledge one important thing, Valerie, which is that your feelings are perfectly valid. There’s no defending such a boorish group of people. That said, you’re going to have a devil of a time trying to make your boyfriend disown his friends. Like losing weight or quitting smoking, ditching your crowd is a pretty big decision – and it’s a conclusion that he has to draw himself.
As for how you should proceed? I’d try to assume the most non-judgmental tone and tell him simply and unemotionally that his guy friends make you feel uncomfortable. Emphasize that you’re not trying to divide him from them, but rather that you want to understand why he’s so loyal to them. Always let him know that he’s not WRONG, but that you just think he’s very different than his friends, and have trouble seeing what they have in common. Let HIM conclude that they’re toxic, instead of you being the judge, jury and executioner of their fates.
Let HIM conclude that they’re toxic, instead of you being the judge, jury and executioner of their fates.
Assuming that your boyfriend is, in fact, more evolved than his friends, he probably shares a few of your thoughts but has chosen not to act on them. And if he can at least admit that perhaps his good friends aren’t that good at all, you at least have an opening from which you can work.
A reasonable compromise might be you hanging out with your girlfriends on the nights he hangs out with the guys. That way you’re not forcing him to do anything, but are making a statement all the same.
Regardless, your primary goal shouldn’t be to force your boyfriend to dump his friends; it should be to understand why they are his friends.
In doing so, you will understand your boyfriend and his crowd much better, and determine your next course of action. Please let me (and all our readers) know how it goes.
Why He Disappeared is the smart, strong, successful woman's guide to understanding men. If you want to learn how men think, and rediscover how to have meaningful relationships - all from a man's point of view - click here to learn Why He Disappeared.
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