Relationships 101:
When His Pals Don't Like You

by Bonnie Burton

Everyone trusts a best friend's advice. In fact, most of us turn to our closest friends to lean on when we're dumped, or to vent to when we're upset. Our girlfriends snap us out of our silliest self-doubts and remind us never to settle for boys who'd rather watch a marathon of "Bay Watch" than go out with us for a fun conversation over an order of chili fries.

Our boyfriends aren't any different. They have best buds too. But what happens when his friends think he can do a lot better than dating you? Relationships are hard enough -- the last thing you want to deal with is the Anti-Girlfriend Coalition. Here are some tips on what an underdog like you can do without having to bow out of the picture.

Walk in their sneakers.
Sometimes you have to look at the situation from the other side to understand why his friends might see you as the Wicked Witch of the West. If your boyfriend spends all his time with you, maybe his pals blame you for his missing-in-action status. How would you like it if your best friend stopped hanging out with you just because she found the beau of her dreams?

Talk to them.
You don't have to have one of those talk-show confrontations where names and furniture are thrown around, but maybe just asking them why they don't fancy you might get some misunderstandings finally cleared up. There's a good chance his friends might even dig you, and you're just reading them wrong.

Don't put your boyfriend in the middle.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to ask your boyfriend to choose between you and his friends. It's OK to let him know how you feel about his pals' less-than-welcoming reactions when you walk in a room. But don't put your guy on the spot by asking him to tell his friends to be nice. That will make you all feel false and uncomfortable.

Don't blame yourself.
Not everyone will like you. Those words work well with this scenario. Sometimes you're not going to be that girl everyone thinks is the cat's meow. But that doesn't mean it's your fault. Maybe his pals liked his ex-girlfriend so much that when they broke up, his friends didn't want to get to know you well. Or maybe they just like your guy better as a bachelor. Chances are, their cold-shoulder routine has more to do with their own hang-ups than how you snort when you laugh.

Be yourself.
How many times have your parents told you this? It's good advice. Don't change who you are just to please his friends. The only person you need to impress is yourself. After all, you were just being little old you when you caught the eye of your boyfriend, and if his friends can't appreciate you for who you are, it's their loss -- plain and simple.

That said, be sure the same goes for your best friends too. If your girls don't dig the boy your seeing, don't let that get in the way of how you really feel. You can have a boyfriend and a best friend at the same time. Honest!

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