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Dear Agony Aunty: My Boyfriend Won’t Introduce Me to His Friends and Hardly Brings Them Up in Conversation. What Should I Do?

Please be aware that we are not qualified counsellors, and any advice given should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Dear Anon, 

Now, this is a sticky one. Very sticky indeed. 

I wish I could know more about your situation, the better to advise you on it. How long have you been together? Is he close to his friends? Does he often see them without you? Has he met your friends? 

These are hefty, weighty, meaty questions, the answers to which could swing my response from full-throttle, finger pointing accusation to gentle consideration and allowances-made. But never fear, I shall give you both options, and let you choose which suits your situation best: 

Option 1: The Full-Throttle.

If you have been together a long time and are serious in your relationship, if he is close to his friends, and often sees them without you, if he has met your friends but has not returned the favour, then my dear, you are perfectly justified in your annoyance. 

This sort of situation can introduce all manner of anxieties and insecurities to your brain, and they go about nipping and gnawing like ants round a honey pot. Is he embarrassed of me? Am I not good enough for him? Are his friends judgemental? Is he judgemental? 

I suspect this nagging, itching, worse-than-a-wedgie-on-a-hot-day sort of concern is already playing on your mind. You wouldn’t have written into me if you weren’t at least slightly worried. So here I go, this is what I advise you do: 

Talk to him. Ask him why he has not introduced you to his friends. Hear him out. Give him time to justify himself. It may well be that he just hasn’t thought about it. Some people just don’t think about these things. Some people just don’t think in general. You may well find his bottom lip drops or his eyebrow raises (or both simultaneously if he has a muscly face), and he says ‘oh… I never thought to organise anything’. In this case, you can relax. I don’t think this sort of person is particularly unusual. I can think of a fair few of my friends for whom organising an introductory meeting between their partner and their friends would not cross their mind.  

If, on the other hand, he blushes, blunders, blubbers and comes up with an excuse, you can be darn well sure he has thought about it. Then you must have it out with him. Try to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps he is embarrassed of his friends. Perhaps he thinks you won’t get along with them. It probably won’t be a reflection on you; he is your boyfriend after all, and most probably looks at you with those glassy eyes of adoration we see in cartoons. But he must understand that you want to feel like you are a part of his life. If his friends are a big part of that then you should be brought into the loop. 

Option 2: Gentle Consideration and Allowances-Made. 

If he is not that close with his friends and only sees them once in a blue moon (which, perhaps, is the case if he rarely brings them up in conversation). If he has not met your friends, and you have not been together for very long, then I think you can breathe a sigh of relief. 

For some people, friendships are casual things. For some, you can meet friends infrequently and natter happily, but never reach the joined-at-the-hip stage. If he is not that close with them himself, then perhaps it will take a little longer to introduce them to you. 

Often it is easy to forget your partner’s insecurities when you yourself are busy with your own. Films like to show us a romantic image of these moments, where the introducer bounces into a room with the coy but smiley introducee on their arm. “This is [insert name here]”, they say with arms outstretched as if they have just caused a rabbit to pop out of the top of a bowler hat. 

But often both have all sorts of worries knotted in their heads. The introducer may be thinking “I hope my partner likes them”, “I hope my partner doesn’t like me less if they find my friends annoying”.

Consider this, and, again, like a broken record, I would advise you to talk to him. He may need encouragement. He may want you to express a desire to meet them before he suggests it himself. Communication is the iron for all creases. 

Thank you very much for confiding in me. I hope that I was able to help. 

Your Agony Aunt xxx

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