How to Deal with Your Partner's Creepy Friend
It’s common not to like all of your partner’s friends. Yet, if there’s someone who makes you feel uneasy, it can be difficult to navigate this in your relationship. When dealing with someone who feels creepy, ask yourself if you’re being fair to them or if they are triggering something in you. Talk with your partner about how you feel and what you’d like done. Finally, if you do interact with this person, choose how you will respond. If you can, be polite, yet if they cross a line, be sure to let them know.
Talking with Your Partner
Be specific about the friend’s creepy behavior.Being able to refer to a few specific examples or types of behavior will help you express your concerns more fully and clearly to your partner. Try to determine exactly which types of behavior you find creepy, and address those behaviors directly.
- For example, instead of just telling your partner, “Jordan acts creepy with me sometimes,” say, “Jordan isn’t very respectful of my personal space. Sometimes he touches me in ways that make me uncomfortable.”
Voice your concerns.While it’s normal to have opinions about your partner’s friends, you shouldn’t feel uneasy around them. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, let your partner know. You don’t have to be mean or judgmental, just express how you feel and say what’s been said or done that’s creeped you out.
- For example, say, “Regan makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when you leave the room. There have been times what he’s said has crossed the line.”
Talk about conflicts.If the creepy friend is affecting your relationship with your partner, talk about it. Friendships can cause tension in relationships, so be honest and talk openly about what is bothering you about their friend. Talk about how the friend is affecting your relationship and come up with some potential solutions or compromises.
- For example, you can say, “Our differences are causing us problems because we can’t see eye to eye on your friend. I know he’s important to you. If you hang out with him, can it be someplace outside of our house?”
Don’t create ultimatums.It’s unfair to say things such as, “You can choose to hang out with your friend or you can choose to be my partner.” Your partner may be unwilling to part with a friend or disrupt the social group. Don’t expect your partner to immediately comply with your demands. Instead, focus on coming to a reasonable compromise that respects both of you.
- For example, say, “I can’t tell you who your friends are, but I’d appreciate it if you let me know ahead of time when your friend is coming over.”
Ask your partner to talk to them.If your partner wants to remain friends with someone who makes you feel uneasy, ask your partner to talk to them about their behavior. It might feel less threatening for your partner to speak than for you to speak to them. Raise your concerns with your partner and let them know what you want to be said.
- For example, your partner can pull them aside and say, “My girlfriend doesn’t like it when you make comments about her body. Please stop doing that.”
Interacting with the Person
Deal with your triggers.Perhaps this person reminds you of another person who hurt you before. They might look like that person, act like that person, or have similar hobbies as that person. If you feel like you’re reminded of someone who’s hurt you through your partner’s creepy friend, recognize that this may have more to do with you than them. Cope with your triggers around the friend by relaxing, detaching, and taking a few deep breaths to calm down.
- If you’ve been traumatized and have not dealt with the trauma, consider working with a therapist. Through therapy, you can gain self-awareness, and learn to develop skills to cope and move past the trauma. Even if you don’t like your partner’s friend, you can begin to be around them without feeling threatened or scared.
Give the person the benefit of the doubt.If the person says something you dislike, ask yourself if you’re taking their words personally. Perhaps you can put a positive spin on something you originally interpreted as weird or inappropriate. Putting a positive spin on something makes you more likely to cope better with the words or actions.
Try to understand where they are coming from.It’s possible that the person is unaware that their behavior is making you uncomfortable, or that your discomfort stems from a cultural misunderstanding. If you are in doubt about their motives, try talking to them in order to get a better understanding of their point of view.
- At the same time, stand your ground. Try to understand their perspective, but be firm about setting boundaries.
Find some redeeming qualities.You may be quick to come up with things you do not like about this person, but try to earnestly think of some things that you might grow to like about them. Find if there is anything you have in common which can bring you together on one point. Finding something in common can make them feel less threatening.
- For example, you might both enjoy dogs and find a way to connect over having a dog.
Be polite.If you just can’t seem to connect with this person, commit to at least treating the person with respect and politeness. You may not get along, but this person is your partner’s friend, so make an effort not to start something that might affect the person and your relationship.
- If you find yourself needing to speak to them, keep it polite, cordial, and simple. Keep your interactions brief and pleasant.
Limit your time with them.If this person makes you truly uncomfortable, opt to not spend time with them. If your partner invites them over, get out of the house. If they are at an event, don’t go out of your way to speak with them. Do your best to keep interactions brief or non-existent.
- Ask your partner to let you know when this person will be around. Then, make an effort to do something else or go somewhere on your own.
Put yourself in safe environments.If the person makes you feel physically uncomfortable, find safety. For example, if you find the two of you alone together, move to a location with other people. If they are physically too close to you and you feel violated, move away to a place you feel safe or have more space.
- Seek out your partner or other friends nearby to connect with people who make you feel safe.
Assert yourself.If your partner’s friend speaks inappropriately to you or touches you in a way that feels invasive, speak up. Let them know that you feel uncomfortable. Set firm boundaries so that they know what behavior is unacceptable. If you need to speak up to stop feeling uncomfortable, do so.
- For example, say, “Please do not touch me, it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
- If the person says inappropriate things to you or around you, say, “I don’t like when you speak that way and it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Video: How Do You Deal With Creepy Friends? Ft. Shannon Boodram
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