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Should I Break Up With My New Boyfriend Because My Friends Don't Like Him? Ask Harry and Louise
Our husband-and-wife advice team counsels a woman whose inner circle is less than impressed with the guy she’s dating.
By Harry Jaffe, Louise Jaffe
Comments () | Published April 23, 2012

Got a question about romance, family, work, parenting, school? Please send it to askharryandlouise@washingtonian.com. We would love to give it some thought, shed some light--and protect your anonymity.

• • •

Dear Harry and Louise:

I am a 27-year-old single woman. I really like this guy (let's call him Steve) whom I have been dating for just over a month. I'm a pretty good cook, so I invited him to my apartment for a homemade dinner. I thought we would be alone for the evening, but it turned out my sister, who lives with me, and my other roommate were also there. I didn't think this was a big deal, and I included them in dinner. A few friends of my sister and roommate showed up and lingered around the table as we finished our meal. So by that time, it was me, my date and six other people. My date and I eventually left so we could have some time alone. He did not complain about the dinner invasion, and I thought everything was fine. It wasn't.

The next morning, my sister and roommate gave me an earful about how disrespectful and rude they thought my date was. They complained he didn't talk enough, that he seemed annoyed by their friends, that he didn't laugh when everyone else was laughing. They both disliked him so much they encouraged me to break it off, or at least to never invite him to the apartment again.

I have not had many boyfriends, even in college, and I really have a great time with Steve. I also trust my sister and roommate, who are great judges of character and think Steve is a rude jerk.

What should I do?

In-the-Dark Dater

• • •

HARRY SAYS:

Your first mistake? Putting your new beau in the crosshairs of your sister and various friends. Quick question: Might the rest of the contingent, beyond Steve, have been female? Just asking. Actually, I am making a point from the male perspective. You invited the guy over for what you thought might be an intimate dinner that would show off your culinary skills; rather than a romantic interlude, Steve walked into a chickfest where he's the only rooster. Instead of making googoo eyes with you, he had to endure the squinty-eyed gaze of women keeping score of how he responds to their attempts at jest.

This seems analogous to Daniel in the lion's den: Steve in the sister's cell.

In short, ignore the ladies. You are just more than a month into getting to know Steve. Give it time. Let it breathe. Reassemble your judgmental peanut gallery for a night of chick flicks, where you can hiss at men on the television, rather than make a decent guy in the flesh the target of your collective bile.

Jealousy, perchance?

• • •

LOUISE SAYS:

Tell the roomies to stick it. With all due respect to your roommates' ability to judge character, they have just been judging--not deciphering the inner workings of your date's soul. You know your new gentleman better than they do. Only you know what is between the two of you.

Was Steve outwardly rude to the other guests? Did he belittle you in front of them? Or was he just quiet and thus deemed unworthy of the vibrant company that is your entourage? Steve may be an introvert who is a bit socially awkward. I am a defender of such folks (okay, I am one). He may have been genuinely disappointed when the other guests showed up and ruined a romantic dinner for two. He may have been looking forward to an uninterrupted conversation with you. He should not take out his disappointment on the other guests, and yes, he should have been a gracious diner. What he can't do is be someone he is not. He was happy to be with you before the other guests arrived, and he was happy after the two of you had some time alone. He cannot suddenly become an person who derives energy from a crowd (a true extrovert). As long as you are fine with that, then leave the judgements to your roomies. Enjoy getting to know this man who seems to enjoy getting to know you.

• • •

HARRY SAYS:

We agree, I suppose, but Louise is clouded by her introverted worldview. Steve, the guy in question, might be an extrovert among a mixed crowd, but the ladies might have made him feel cornered--and alone.

• • •

LOUISE SAYS:

I am clouded, you are right. Steve may be the life of the party, but this party was one to endure, not enjoy.

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  • JH

    Your guy was basically ambushed. Every person knows that meeting/being in the company of your new significant other's closest compadres is a high-octane situation that one should always be prepared for. If he wasn't disrespecting you or your friends, then there's no need to look too deeply into that. Give him a chance, and encourage your friends to do the same.

    Later in your relationship, there will be another PLANNED opportunity to bring your guy around to meet friends and fam. I bet they'll get to see how sweet and charming he is then :)

  • LJayneF

    While I do agree with the advice in this particular circumstance (what dude - introvert or not - wants to be thrown into a pit with a bunch of judgmental chicks without warning? Or with warning for that matter?), I also feel very strongly that if people close to you continue to express dislike and concern over the person you are dating, you might want to start listening. While you may feel, "oh, they dont know/understand our relationship," they may in fact be seeing something in the person you aren't - we are all capable of being blinded by our feelings for someone. Let me explain why I feel this way:

    My fiance's brother (nick) started dating this girl. We went out with them, his brother's best friend and his fiancée, and their cousin and her boyfriend. she (her name is grace) seemed great to us, but nick's best friend looked my fiancé dead in the eye and said, "im not a fan. your mother would have hated grace." at the time, we thought he was being a touch dramatic. Boy were we wrong. It became clear pretty quickly that she was only after his money, had no intentions of ever getting a job (after nick helped pay for her to finish her college degree), etc. He was supporting her 100%, when she REQUESTED a $30,000 engagement ring (they'd only been dating 9months) and he obliged. At this point, I along with other members of the family started to voice our extreme distaste and dislike for her and her antics. His best friend went so far as to cut nick out of his life if he insisted on carrying out this relationship. Nick didn't listen to any of us and brushed it off as us being jealous of what they have (HA) or us not understanding them.

    Now, they are married. Within a WEEK of getting married in secret, she left him on the pretense of being upset by his drinking (which is something she was aware of well before getting the ring). She is now living in CT in her own apartment while he lives here in DC. he pays her rent, her bills, gives her spending money, took her on a lavish trip to Mexico, and constantly talks about how she is moving back down here (and she never does) - he is stuck with this psychopathic, parasitic wife who has completely brainwashed him because he decided not to heed the warnings coming from EVERYONE close to him. Let that be a warning to everyone that if people who care about you start expressing real concern, you might want to listen, no matter how badly you dot want to hear it :P

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