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Sex + Relationships

BFFs & BFs: Preventing Problems Between Your Two Faves

Picture this: You just met your version of Prince Charming. He is everything you think you ever wanted in a boyfriend. La dee da, some time goes by and voila!—he is your full-on boyfriend. You know what comes next? No… not Meet the Parents (although, I did really like that movie)… meet your BFFs. You’ll meet his, he’ll meet yours. Those precious moments with just the two of you alone are gone (geez, it sounds like you’re having a baby, right?) and now nights are spent with his friends, maybe yours, double dating, whatever—and alone time will become more rare. This can be a good thing, in fact, a great thing. If you win his friends over, they’ll love you—and won’t be all bothered when he needs girlfriend time. If he wins your friends over they won’t call you that girl, you know the-one-who-drops-everything-for-her-absolutely-horrible-boyfriend. Ew.
 
In a perfect world, you love him and his friends, and he loves you and yours. But seriously, when is this world ever perfect? Here, read about real girls’ stories about their BFF/BF issues and what advice Dr. Irene S. Levine, The Friendship Doctor, has to offer. You’ll want to refer to these words of wisdom the next time you’re biting your tongue and not speaking the truth about your feelings.
 
Scenario 1: You hate your BFF’s boyfriend. One girl, Rose*, a senior at Fairfield University tells us her story.
 


This is how I feel when you’re with your boyfriend. BTW: He sucks.
 
“When my friend Olivia* got a boyfriend, I was really happy for her. She had her fair share of dysfunctional high school boyfriends and Peter* seemed great. Olivia was infatuated and the relationship got serious—fast. She quickly lost her virginity to him and before I could even process that, they were saying “I love you.” Peter sounded great on paper. He was smart, had a great internship at school, took her out for nice dinners, sounded funny, was nice enough looking.
 
Then I met him.
 
Peter was so rude to me. He would put me down right in front of Olivia—hello, I thought, you’re supposed to be impressing me, the best friend—he was so negative too. I don’t think I heard a positive word come out of his mouth all night. I tried to ignore it but all summer (Olivia is my friend from home) he was equally rude. I couldn’t figure it out — did she not see it?
 
Then in the fall, Olivia would occasionally tell me stories about him—I avoided talking about him so that I wouldn’t say anything rude since she seemed so happy—about how he didn’t encourage her to go out for things that would take his time away from her, and didn’t encourage her to spend time with her friends. It was then that I started to hate him. And I felt like I couldn’t say a word. Olivia once said ‘if I thought any of my friends hated my boyfriend, I would stop dating him.’ Could she not tell my disdain for him at all? I continued to keep my mouth shut.”
 
What can you do?
 
Dr. Irene S. Levine says, “If a friend has legitimate concerns about your boyfriend, she should raise them. If she doesn’t, it will create a wedge between you and her. Talking openly gives the two friends the opportunity to understand the basis for their differing opinions about the boyfriend. Of course, this means that you have to be specific about your concerns rather than just saying you ‘hate’ him without explaining why.”
 
Legitimate concerns could be anything from ‘I’m worried he doesn’t support your independence’ to ‘he yells at you a lot in public and I think he might be physically abusing you.’
 
It can be uncomfortable to bring this up, but it is essential.
 
“If your friend is being physically or mentally abused by her BF, you need to be direct and talk to her about your suspicions,” Levine explains. “She may not realize what is happening, be unable to admit it, or be unable to extract herself from the situation. This is a situation where a woman really needs a friend whom she can talk to and just letting her know you are there and care will go a long way. If the abuse is extreme, you need to point her to resources that can help her. Mental abuse may appear ‘insignificant’ from the outside but rarely is.”
 
However, concerning other incidents of the BFF hating the BFF, Levine explains, “sometimes friends are just jealous and feel threatened; they hate the relationship you have with him more than they hate him, per se.”
 
Scenario 2: Your BFF’s boyfriend hates you! One girl, Elizabeth*, a junior at Cornell University tells us her story.
 


Listen, calm down mister. You don’t have to hit her just because you hate her.
 
“When my friend Caroline* got a new boyfriend, I was happy for her. Not over the moon, since the girl can’t last five minutes without a boyfriend, but happy it was someone other than her abusive ex. Keenan* sounded nice and normal. Sure the relationship had a weird beginning (they met on vacation years ago, started talking again, she visited him and somehow left that weekend with a new boyfriend) but I kept an open mind.
 
Caroline brought Keenan to meet me when I was shopping. Keenan was quiet and shy, which was fine. I was showing Caroline a pair of Seven for all Mankind jeans that I wanted and found them on sale in her size. Keenan left the store. Caroline quickly tried them on, but Keenan texted her saying he was miserable and wanted to leave so she left without buying them.
 
From then on Keenan decided I was spoiled, rude, and a brat—his words not mine. He got this idea in his head that I was this Ivy League daddy’s little girl racking up credit card charges to my dad as if it were going out of style. He assumed I’d never worked a day in my life. WRONG! On SO many levels. He avoided ever seeing me again and would make Caroline feel bad when she was with me because he decided I was a bad influence.”
 
ARG! What’s a girl to do? (P.S. This girl didn’t care! But if this is you and your BFF and BF, you should!)
 
Dr. Levine gives her opinion: “You need to firmly explain that you need time for your friendships because they are important to you. This doesn’t mean that HE has to spend tons of time with your friends—you can arrange face time with them without him. On the other hand, if you want him to attend some social event with your friends, he should be able to rise above his feelings and do it for you!,” Levine advises.
 
“If he hates all your friends, you have to wonder whether he is being too possessive and can’t stand the thought of sharing you with others. This could signal trouble down the line!”
 
That sort of trouble is the kind that makes you hate your BFF’s BF—and as Levine explained before, you should speak up if there is legitimate cause for concern.
 
Overall, your boyfriend should seriously not be worth losing your BFF over, especially when you’ll probably lose the BF. (P.S. She did lose the BF!)
 
Scenario 3: You hate your BF’s friends. One girl, Eleanor*, a junior at University of Michigan tells us her story.
 


Hey BF, you have hot friends…but they SUCK!
 
“I dated Tim, who was a great boyfriend (and still is) but was really involved in his super-conceited fraternity. All the guys in it thought they were really hot and cool, just because they pledged this house. Every time I went to the frat house they were rude to me because I wasn’t in a “cool” sorority and because I am a little shy. They would either say things to purposely make me feel uncomfortable, ‘unintentionally’ (I doubt it, that’s what Tim said) make fun of my sorority, or ditch my boyfriend because they clearly felt uncomfortable around me.”
 
Eleanor’s friends tried to convince her to try to get along with Tim’s friends, so that it wouldn’t get between them, but her efforts were admittedly weak and therefore unsuccessful.
 
Dr. Levine suggests, “If you can’t stand your boyfriend’s friends, you have to figure out why he is hanging with them. You need to raise the issue with him and, perhaps, he’ll be able to allay your concerns.  If not, he may realize that there is a major problem with them that he has overlooked.
 
If you can’t agree, you have the choice of either agreeing to disagree (and trying to minimize the time you spend with them as a couple) or you might realize that he has some of the same characteristics that irritate you and that you have inadvertently glossed over them.”
 
 
When it comes down to it… boyfriends and friends are inextricably linked. You can lose friends over boyfriends, and boyfriends over friends. Take Dr. Levine’s advice to prevent losing either of the people you love!
 
 
Sources:
Dr. Irene S. Levine, The Friendship Doctor
 
*Names have been changed to protect relationships/friendships. 

Cara Sprunk has been the Managing Editor of Her Campus since fall 2009. She is a 2010 graduate of Cornell University where she majored in American Studies with a concentration in cultural studies. At Cornell Cara served as the Assistant Editor of Red Letter Daze, the weekend supplement to the Cornell Daily Sun where she also wrote for the news and arts section and blogged about pop culture. In her free time Cara enjoys reading, shopping, going to the movies, exploring and writing.  
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