Real Live College Guy Joel: When Your BF & Your BFF's Don't Get Along

Desperately trying to understand the inscrutable mind of the college male? Real Live College Guy Joel (replete with a name way cooler than those of RLCGs Joe and Joey) is here to help you out, call you out, write you a poem to show you you’re great, etc. From major emotional drama to the minutiae of social interaction, use him as your one-stop shop for guy advice.
 
I’m dating a guy who my friends all hate because not only is he not very nice to them, he’s also known to be a player, so they don’t trust him. I’m afraid this will ruin my relationship – I really care about him, and it’s important to me for my boyfriend and my friends to get along well. Are my friends just seeing something I’m not seeing? At what point should I start listening to them, and how do I get my boyfriend to make an effort with them? - Not a Player Hater at Northwestern
 

Not a Player Hater,

 Contrary to the opinion of the Spice Girls, a perfectly healthy relationship need not involve more than a nodding cordiality between boyfriend and friends. However, it worries me that you so openly admit that this guy is a jerk to them. This may just be a defense mechanism if your friends are openly hostile to him, but the first thing you need to do is sit this guy down and talk to him about why he acts this way.
 
But be careful about how you approach the matter. Do not (I repeat: do not) get angry or emotional. Try to stay impartial; instead of asking, “Why aren’t you nicer?” ask, “Why do you think you haven’t really gelled with so-and-so?” Okay, use a less dweeby word than gelled, but you get the idea. Avoid putting the blame on anyone. He will be really turned off if you get accusatory. If he blames your friends, explain that they just worry about you and that you will talk to them as well. Be as conciliatory as possible, and then see how he responds and if he behaves better in the future. If he really cares about you, he will listen and start behaving himself better.

It sounds as though you realize that your friends are suspicious because they love you and want to protect you. However, all too often fierce loyalty inhibits generosity of spirit. Usually, someone can perceive a lot about a friend’s relationship from standing at a cool distance, but it sounds as though your friends barely know this guy. 

I may be wrong, but it seems as though they’ve passed judgment on him primarily based off of his hook-up history. That’s not entirely their fault because he’s made no attempt to get acquainted with them. Here again, approach with impartiality, but you can express your angst with them (these are your BFFLs, after all). Explain to them that you care deeply for this guy and that they should give him more of a chance and disregard his past, cough, busyness. 
 
Now, the ball here is definitely in this guy’s court. If he really cares about you, he needs to make an effort with your friends even though they’re obviously uneasy with the idea of you two together. What I would suggest is asking your friends for a ceasefire on all backbiting about this guy during, say, the three weeks after you have talked with him. If his behavior has not improved, then it’s clear he’s uninterested in proving his worth. 
 
Obviously, the guy should be totally in the dark about this. The worst thing you can possibly do is give him an ultimatum. Just try to coax him into sharing why he has not made an effort with people you care about, and then see if he tries to make amends.  Your friends, in turn, need to keep more open minds. You will have to walk a tightrope, trying to maintain all of your relationships without alienating anyone. It will not be easy, but if all these people care about you, then they will understand where you are coming from.

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