2004_08_ask_nastyfriends.jpgMy girlfriend and I have been dating for a little over two years now. Things aren't really great between us and it's all because I loathe her friends. I know that relationships are all about compromise and I would be willing to give up a lot for her. I even stopped hanging around with a couple of acquaintances that she found objectionable just to make her happy. But when I'm around her friends, it doesn't matter what they are talking about, I want to stab myself in the eye with a fork just so I can remove myself from the situation. Every time I tell her I don't want to be around her friends she takes this as an attack on her and we get into a huge fight. I usually end up caving in and being in a bad mood when I'm around them, resent her for making me do it, and then hold a grudge for the rest of the week. We've talked about this quite a bit and she doesn't seem to understand the extent of the problem. She's talking about moving in together and I try to avoid her phone calls. I know this problem needs dealing with, but I don't know what to do. Suggestions?

Part of being a couple does involve socializing with friends as a unit. Since neither of you like the other's current friends very much, Ask Gothamist recommends that you try to meet new people together that you both like. Ann Landers probably would have told you to get couples' counseling, but Ask Gothamist thinks you could start by taking some classes together that might facilitate meeting new people - such as dance lessons or cooking classes.

Even the closest couples need time as individuals to spend with their friends. It's not such a terrible idea for each of you to have your separate friends and spend time with them without your significant other. Try to broker a deal with your girlfriend for both of you to have some guilt-free time apart on social occasions where the presence of a significant other isn't absolutely required. If you set up some ground rules about when it is and isn't acceptable to be part of the gang, it might help you both deal with the friend situation.

Of course, there will still be times when you will have to interact with your girlfriend's friends. We think you should try to pick out one or two of her friends that you can tolerate more than the others and talk to them one-on-one next time you're in a social situation. Sometimes, as you get to know people better and understand their background and individual psychology, you end up liking them more. And if that doesn't happen... you can't say you didn't try.