One of the greatest arsenals you can have on your side in a relationship is having your girlfriend’s family and friends rooting for you. If they like you, they will be your advocate if you get in a fight with her. They will give you the benefit of the doubt and try to see your side of things. If they don’t like you, then every little skirmish will be an opportunity for them to try and turn her against you. They will do their best to plant seeds of doubt as to your worth.
The question is, once your girlfriend’s friends and family have turned against you, is it possible to turn the tide back in order to get them to like you and give you a chance to make your relationship work?
If your girlfriend’s friends and family don’t like you, then it will probably become obvious to you in many ways. They will not go out of their way to invite you to events, or plan events that you are able to attend. If you are in attendance, they will not give you the warm reception you would hope.
Your girlfriends’ friends will be fairly obvious and will be the most obviously protective of her, simply because, if things head south, it will be their jobs to pick up the pieces. In order to avoid these heart-wrenching episodes, women will be suspicious of men who they feel have the potential to be dogs.
One disadvantage is that women tell their friends everything, and they usually lean on their friends in harder times than they do in happy times. What this means is that they might be hearing much more of the negative stuff than the positive stuff. Smart friends know this and can usually discern between a guy who is actually a pain in the ass all of the time and a friend who just has unrealistic expectations or who is fairly dramatic in how they approach their relationships. In other words, women know which friends’ complaints should be taken with a grain of salt, and which friends’ gripes are disproportionate to their usual demeanor.
Family relationships are a little more complex. Families generally know a lot less about their daughter/sister’s personal dealings in the past, and their urge might just be one of general overprotection. It may not be completely personal, but rather a general overprotectiveness. If this is the case, you are just going to have to tough it out and win them over with your gentlemanly behaviour. If this is not the case, then you are going to have to figure out what it is about you that they are reacting to.
What Did You Do?
The first thing you have to do is ask yourself if there is something you have done to alienate your girlfriends’ inner circle. This could be a host of things. If they perceive that you have treated their friend poorly in the past, then friends are generally much less forgiving than your girlfriend. This is because they care about her and don’t want you to hurt her again.
This doesn’t mean that you guys have had a couple of fights and they have turned against you. Everyone has fights. The transgression would have to be fairly significant: if you have cheated on her, if you have dumped her and then begged to have her back one too many times, if you have hit on any one of her friends (or their friends). These would all be cause enough to write you off in their books. In their eyes, it will be just a matter of time before you hurt her again and they have to pick up the pieces. Again.
If you are guilty of cheating on or randomly breaking up with your girlfriend, or you have gotten a little too drunk and come on to one of her friends (or someone else they know), then it is going to be a long haul. Really, if you act like a dog, then you can expect to be treated like one, by the people who love your girlfriend, if not by her.
If you are actually going to change your ways, then it is worth sitting down with at least one of her closest friends and asking her to give you another chance. Recognize that when you hurt her friend, you hurt her too—or at least really tick her off. Tell her honestly how badly you feel, and the things you are going to do differently, and there is a chance that she will lighten up on you—she’ll still keep her eye on you, but she might be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt. This will show her that you recognize that she is also upset, and you might pull a little grudging respect out of her for having the nuts to address it directly with her. Of course, if you are full of it, she will probably see right through you, so try to be sincere or don’t bother. You will not charm her at this point.
If you have not committed any of the above atrocities, then you need to take a look at her friends and figure out what their issues are. If your girlfriend was single for a while before she met you, then some of the bad feelings might be simply that her friends are jealous of the time she is devoting to you and miss hanging out with her. They may feel as though they have lost their fun single friend and take it out on you rather than her (you are an easier target).
This is largely their—and your girlfriend’s—problem to deal with, not yours. At the same time, it is affecting you, so if you suspect that this is the case, then bring it up with your girlfriend. Tell her that you feel like her friends are missing her and you think it’s important for her to spend time with them. This shows that you are both sensitive and man enough to give her friends their time with her instead of getting all insecure and trying to keep their opinions away from her. If you really want to gain some points, plan a spa day for her and a girlfriend, or make them dinner and then leave them alone to enjoy it. Girls eat that kind of crap right up.
Minding Your Ps And Qs
As mentioned earlier, it is a little more difficult with family dynamics. Like her friends, they might also feel as though they are not getting the time with her that they previously did. On the other hand, they might feel as though you don’t spend enough time with them for them to get to know you. Take their lead, and always be gracious. If they invite you to an event, do your best to attend. If they invite you to dinner, always offer to bring something, or just show up with flowers or a bottle of wine. If you can manage, don’t have sex with her in their house (at least not at the beginning). If they catch you, it will never be cool.
Mothers have a lot of sway with all members of the family, so be a perfect gentleman around her. Dote on your girlfriend when they are around (frankly, you should be doing this anyway). This will assure them that their girl is as precious to you as she is to them. Fathers are a little more difficult, but most of them react well to fearful respect. Ask your girlfriend how best to approach her father, and see if you can find some common ground between you.
If most of your girlfriend’s entourage dislikes you, then chances are that you are doing something to make them distrustful of you. Find out what that is and remedy it. If it is a personality flaw, then work on it. If it is because you actually are a dog, then get used to it. Chances are that her friends and family are not going anywhere, and you will have to beat them or join them in order to secure a comfortable place in your girlfriend’s life.