Editor’s note: Alexis is doing her taxes. Here’s a classic AOTS from the vault.
Q: My girlfriend hates my best girl friend. I sensed something sour between them earlier in our relationship (we have been together for a year now), but recently my girlfriend made it clear that she does not care for my old college friend. I’ve repeatedly told my girlfriend that there is and never was anything between us, but she says that isn’t the issue. She said she doesn’t like her because they are different with different priorities. Is there a way to make them get along?
A: If you’re not doing anything wrong, you should never feel guilty spending time with someone other than your girlfriend, especially if that someone is an old friend with whom you’ve shared everything except bodily fluids. If you feel bad hanging out with your girl buddy because of the way your girlfriend reacts, then your girlfriend has some growing up to do. Insecurity is a huge indicator of emotional immaturity. It is not possible to have a healthy, mutually respectful relationship when one person gets jealous every time they are not the center of attention.
When pressed, your girlfriend said the reason she dislikes your buddy is a difference in priorities. Unless one is an animal rights activist and the other works in the test lab at Procter & Gamble, this reason is not valid. Even when two adults disagree on important issues like global economics or where to get the best falafel (Marina Grill & Deli), they can set their differences aside and find something else to talk about over back-yard beers. This is especially the case when said adults share a loved one in common (you) who would rather not see two of his favorite people at odds with each other.
Now, sometimes a dude will allow a wedge to form between his girlfriend and one of his female friends because it’s an ego boost to have two women competing for his attention. It’s also a dick move that perpetuates the catty woman stereotype, and it allows the man in the middle to administer a big dose of emotional gaslighting when he decides one or both females have taken the competition too far. Don’t be that guy. Encourage both ladies to connect in friendly social environments over mutual interests. Grab a couple of extra friends (to alleviate anxiety) and take in a Twins game, do a local taproom tour or see a movie together. Between baseball, beer and “The Bourne Legacy,” there’s got to be something of interest that these two can bond over. If you’re prone to serial dating, your friend might assume that getting to know your girlfriend isn’t even worthwhile. If you think she’s a keeper, let your friend know so she can make the effort.
Your friends are a direct reflection of you, and those closest to you mirror your strongest personality traits. Your girlfriend may dislike a side of you that comes out when you’re with your college friend. Unless you’re shooting meth and throwing cherry bombs at babies, she has to accept it. Assuming you don’t exchange flirty texts or have drunken sleepovers with your buddy, spending time with her is not a detriment to your relationship.
Some people subscribe to the opinion that men and women can’t be just friends, which I find sophomoric. We require emotional closeness with more than one person to maintain stability and perspective. Your girlfriend has singled out one of these people in your life, putting you in an uncomfortable spot. When it’s long-term friendship vs. an uncertain relationship, my advice is to tell your girlfriend to get over it.