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|Nick Slade • 9/25/14|
We will never know if Yoko Ono really caused the breakup of the Beatles. However, there can be no denying that a new girlfriend will change the whole dynamic of our lives and our relationships with our friends. For better or worse, love causes things to change. So, how should we handle it when Monica, Chandler, Ross and Rachel are not simpatico with the love of our lives? Do we have to choose between our friends and our lover?
Of course, that should never be the case. The best course of action is to find the source of the ill will and fix it or work around it. There are basically three reasons why your friends might not like your girlfriend:
The guys are jealous and afraid of losing you. If you marry her, they fear they’ll lose you completely. This is the oldest story in the book. In 1956, the Four Aces sang, “Wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine,” lamenting the loss of lifelong friendships as we grow to adulthood.
Things may never be the same, but many guys keep connections going forever with Sunday golf or summer fishing trips. A man needs to keep some ties to the guys, and you should assure them that you will be part of the gang now as well as later. Get your girl involved with your group right away, too.
“Sometimes they will be wrong, even when they mean well,
and sometimes they will have keen and objective insights
that you should pay attention to.”
Maybe they know something you don’t know. Maybe the blinders of love don’t let you see her for who she really is. It could be her reputation, the way she treats you in front of them, or just that feeling that she isn’t good enough for you. Some girls are really sweet with the man they love but a bitter pill with everyone else.
Talk candidly with your friends if you suspect things aren’t clicking for them, as they may not think it is their place to upset you with their thoughts about your girl. Maybe it was a bad or wrong first impression, or maybe it’s more. Pay close attention to the way things progress. Maybe she will grow on them, or maybe their doubts will be reinforced. Family and female friends may tend to be the most protective of you, but they also have the best instincts.
Maybe you fell in love with a woman with a raw sense of humor and a hideous laugh. Maybe the same things that attract you to her seem obnoxious to your friends. Perhaps she’s a name-dropper or brags every day about the one model shoot she did two years ago. This is a tough one.
If your girlfriend annoys your other friends, you might just have to keep them apart and lead two separate lives. That’s far from ideal. Talk to her and share your concerns. Ask her if she can tone down some of her offensive or annoying habits, so you can enjoy life with all of your loved ones together.
Eventually, The Beatles would have broken up with or without Yoko. Change is inevitable in life. Just try not to burn bridges with friends who supported you and loved you for many years. Sometimes they will be wrong, even when they mean well, and sometimes they will have keen and objective insights that you should pay attention to. Make it a lesson in diplomacy, and always try hard to bring the worlds you love together peacefully.