A relationship requires hard work from both parties involved but what happens when it is made even more difficult by your partner’s choice of friends?

People spend their whole lives searching for a partner. Whether you want to call them your soulmate or significant other, their presence in your life is incredibly important to you. You work hard to make your relationship great.

It quickly becomes apparent that even if you’re both trying hard to maintain a positive and healthy relationship, outside factors can always cause friction. Sometimes it’s a job loss or the addition of responsibilities. Other times, it’s who your partner chooses for a friend.

You aren’t in charge of making friends for your partner, so they might bond with certain people you don’t like. It’s stressful to deal with, especially when you want to love and support your significant other in every way.

Read on to learn how your relationship can survive if you don’t get along with your partner’s friends. With the right tips, you’ll handle the conflict like a pro, and life will be easier for everyone involved.

1. Find some common ground

Your first step forward may be to find some common ground with the friend you don’t like. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but train yourself to recognize the positives. You both might adore dogs or like the same milkshake flavor. Every little detail builds the bridge that will connect you with someone who initially rubs you the wrong way but may become a great companion.

2. Create healthy boundaries

Everyone wants to make their partner happy but in the process, you could become miserable. Think about how often you can hang out with this friend or talk about them without feeling upset or annoyed. Establish healthy boundaries with your partner so they know what’s going on. You don’t have to force yourself to socialize with people you dislike all the time.

3. Recognize your partner’s needs

The flip side to the boundary coin is learning to recognize your partner’s needs. It may hurt them to see you cut their friend entirely out of your life. When your partner asks you all to hang out, consider how important it is to them. Missing out on pizza night in the living room isn’t a big deal but going to a movie premiere you’re all looking forward to could matter more. Finding this balance will show your partner you respect them while maintaining your boundaries.

4. Stay honest when asked

Your partner knows you, so they’ll sense when something’s wrong. If they ask you about your behavior around their friend, stay honest in your response without being negative. They should know how you feel — and that you respect their friendship. Bottling up your thoughts and emotions to be kind will only create resentment and negativity between you and your partner.

5. Learn to enjoy the space

Pictures of other couples hanging out and going on adventures are all over your social media feed, which creates the illusion that you should always be with your partner. At first, it may feel great to spend every minute with them, but it’s okay to enjoy some time apart to learn more about yourself. Give your partner room to hang out with their friends, so you have time for yourself or your social circle.

The only time personal space may be an issue is if it adds stress to the relationship. Your partner may go out with friends or spend time with their tech, like being on their computer or gaming on a console. If you don’t value or appreciate having so much space between you, then it’s time to talk about what’s going on.

6. Remain positive and polite

When that friend comes over to your home or hangs out with you two, do your best to remain positive and polite. No matter what your opinions are of this person, your partner considers them a good friend. Good manners are a way to show respect for your significant other and selflessly value their happiness.

7. Speak out about toxic behaviors

It’s smart to be considerate when your partner brings over their friend, but don’t let that blind you to toxic behaviors. Your significant other gets to choose who they’re friends with, but they may be too close to see that their friend is manipulating or using them. 

Have your partner’s back and let them know when you see signs of toxic behaviors, like the friend demanding all of their time or forcing them to change. It may not be easy for your partner to hear or recognize, but don’t let that keep you from speaking up.

A toxic friendship won’t bring any good to your partner’s life and will lead to more hurt in the future if you don’t calmly approach them about the issue.

If this happens, don’t discuss the friend in an angry or accusatory tone. You’ll only make your partner defensive and less likely to listen. You may open the conversation by telling them you only have their best interest at heart and don’t want any harm to come to them.

In some cases, your partner may not agree with you, and that’s okay. They’ll keep your comments in the back of their mind and think about it more as they reflect on their friend’s behavior in the future.

8. Never make them choose

Some people panic when they don’t like their partner’s friend. It may feel like your significant other spends all their free time with the destructive person, making you defensive and angry. It’s tempting to imagine yourself in the most dramatic part of a film where you tell your partner to choose between you or their friend, but it’s actually an unhealthy way to deal with the situation.

Never make your partner choose between you and their friend. Ultimatums result in resentment and sadness. Instead, voice your calm concerns and honest opinions if your partner asks and let them make their own decisions. Each relationship teaches valuable lessons, so they may have more to learn before the friendship ends.

Put your partner first

Loving someone means putting them first, so respect their relationship with their friend. Support, space, and honesty are just a few of the ways to deal with your opinions of this individual. Remember how much your partner loves you, and always feel free to talk things out in a respectful, calm way if it gets overwhelming.

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