Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend’s Friends Hate Me”

My boyfriend’s friends hate me! I went out of my way to be nice to them, enjoy the things they enjoy, and participate in their weekend activities, but they still hate me.They don’t want me around, they say some pretty nasty things behind my back (and to my face), and they make it very clear that they don’t want me dating my guy (we’ve been dating for one year). I’m perfectly fine not going to the bar or going to play pool with them; I have my own friends, but even with me not around this is taking a toll on my boyfriend’s relationship with them. Not only that, but it’s taking a toll on our relationship as well. I don’t care if they like me, but my boyfriend cares if they like him. What would be best in a situation like this? Ignore it and hope it will go away, or try to talk it out? I should add that this isn’t the most mature or rational group of people. — Under Friendly Fire

I have good news for you: this actually isn’t your problem to deal with — it’s your boyfriend’s. If he wants a smooth relationship between you and his friends, it’s up to him to facilitate that. Frankly, I don’t know why on earth any man would want to continue being friends with people who treat his girlfriend, someone he loves and cares for, with such contempt and disrespect, but that’s his deal. You said you’ve gone out of your way to be nice to these jerks, but what has your boyfriend done? Has he told them how happy you make him? How much he cares for you? How important it is to have the guys in his life get along with his main girl? If not, he needs to start there. And he absolutely needs to put his foot down and demand that his friends treat you better when you’re around. They don’t have to be your BFFs, but if they’re so immature they can’t be cordial, your boyfriend should seriously re-evaluate why he continues hanging out with them. And if he doesn’t, it might be time for you to re-evaluate why you’d stick with someone who has such a hard time sticking up for you.

I’m 26 and haven’t had a date since high school. Now, I’m not talking about rejecting guys I’m not interested in, and therefore creating my own singledom — I mean, no one has even asked me out to begin with. After awhile, I couldn’t help but imagine that it’s something about me or something I’m doing. I’m average in terms of attractiveness, in shape, employed and (I like to think) intelligent and fun to be around. I have a great group of friends and normal relationships with my family members. The dating area of my life is the Achilles heel to an otherwise great existence that I’m really thankful for. My friends have said I’m oblivious to signals from guys and that I can seem uninterested, which, obviously since I’m writing to you, isn’t the case. They’ve also said that I should take the lead and ask guys out, but I have to think that if there have been no propositions in eight years, my success rate might not be so high. As frustrated as I am right now, I don’t think rejection would be the best cherry on the sundae. For context, I had an extended awkward phase in terms of looks as a child/early teenager, so I don’t entirely comprehend what my “league” would be as things are now. I realize that’s probably part of the problem, but there must be more to it than that. I mean, not even a drunken college FWB situation? Come on. What’s my deal and how do I fix it? — Forever Single

The problem is you completely lack confidence, and more than anything else — physical appearance, intelligence, sense of humor — men cite confidence as their biggest turn-on. Because you lack confidence and think there’s something “wrong” if guys aren’t knocking down the door to get to you, you don’t have your light on. Guys walk right past your door because they assume no one’s home. So, you gotta turn the light on and let them know you’re ready for company. How do you do that when you’re so afraid of rejection? Well, the first step is accepting that you’re not going to be every guy’s cup of tea, and that’s OK. There will be men who see that your light’s on but walk right past because you’re not what they’re looking for, but there will also be plenty of men who ring the bell, interested to see who shows up to let them in.

A great way to signal that you’re home and ready for company is literally advertising as much. You can do this by setting up an online dating profile or trying speed dating. Both of these options allow you to interact (virtually and in-person) with a large number of guys in a relatively low-risk environment (low risk to your ego, I mean). You could also mention to friends and co-workers that you’re on the market and ask if they know any single guys they’d be interested in setting you up with. I’d also recommend you try some “practice dating” with male friends you might not necessarily be interested in pursuing romantically. You need to get used to being in a one-on-one situation with men in a non-threatening fashion. You have to learn how to interpret their verbal and non-verbal cues. If you don’t have any guy friends who are willing to be your guinea pig, go online again and check out different “just friends” options.

Finally, it might be time to seek therapy for the issues you’re still carrying from middle school. You’re not that awkward girl anymore. I’m sure you’ve blossomed into a lovely young women many guys would be thrilled to get to know. But you have to believe that before it can actually happen. Your family can’t convince you; your friends can’t convince you; I can’t convince you. You have to convince yourself and a trained professional can help you get there.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.