The other day my friend Justin's girlfriend gave me the ultimate compliment when she told me I was a "top tier" friend on her birthday party guest list. It reminded me that he and his girlfriend have achieved that great feat that I have never gotten in any of my relationships: they like one another's friends.
My old girlfriend Jenn was one of the most memorable friend clashers. Justin, Jenn, Bird (yes, he looks like a bird) and I took a trip to North Carolina. We were heading down to Jenn's friend's house to meet a bunch of other people. So the four of us would be spending a total of just over ten hours together in a Jeep Cherokee.
On the way down we stopped in Durham, NC to visit my friend from college and his girlfriend, Nikki. We went out to dinner and immediately began making inside jokes from college (most of which were disgusting and bordering on insane), and mercilessly making fun of Nikki. She, as always, just smiled through it all. My girlfriend was shrinking more and more into a shell—she obviously was not enjoying this dinner. I later found out she did not like how we were making fun of Nikki.
What my girlfriend didn't get is that we had spent years getting to know Nikki and making fun of her was just something we did. When I helped my friend and his Nikki move in, we took a box and put terrible things in it: XXX videos, porn magazines (horrible ones like Juggs), and weird sex toys. We closed the box and labeled it "Nikki's Stuff – Please Don't Open" and tucked it away on the moving van. By the time she found it, stacked amongst boxes in the kitchen, my friend and I were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe.
These kinds of things are ok among friends who have grown comfortable together after years of hanging out. Apparently my girlfriend didn't agree. The next several hours would be a countdown for a slowly ticking time bomb.
This bomb exploded somewhere in Southern Virginia on the way back from our weekend stay in the mountains. Bird, always high on life, had been in the back with his head on a swivel looking at things out the window and commenting:
"Whoa, they sell fireworks here!"
"Yikes, that looks like the scenery from Deliverance (opens in new tab)."
Justin and I were just being ourselves: dissecting music and talking sports and making jokes, and telling stories. I guess, maybe it was the long drive, or all the fireworks stores we saw, but she absolutely exploded—she called us immature and obnoxious and railed at us for making fun of Nikki so much.
Afterward, the car felt like an elementary school classroom after a teacher had ripped the whole class for something. Justin and I looked at one another in rearview mirror and made "Oh shit" faces. Bird sat in the back staring out the window with his forehead pressed longingly against the glass. It looked like someone had just given him a lobotomy. At one point Jenn sneezed.
The three of us chimed in immediately: "Bless you".
After about five excruciating seconds, someone spoke—Bird:
"Would you like a tissue, Jenn?"
That was pretty much the last phrase spoken for the rest of the ride.
My girlfriend in ensuing months made lame attempts to assimilate. My friend Mike and I had spent years perfecting a stupid language in with we contorted words and, similar to urban speak, inserted an –iznit syllable into everything. One day, my girlfriend came in speaking in OUR language. Mike and I glanced uncomfortably at one another. After my breakup, Mike pulled me aside and told me how annoyed he was when shed try to use our language—I agreed.
Justin's girlfriend is also my friend—independent of their relationship. I go to her for advice, and I'd pick up her or her brother from the airport if Justin couldn't. Why can't I find a girl that can fit in and become friends with my friends? Is it impossible to meet a girl that, when I'm with her and my friends, I can always act the way I want to? I don't want to have to adjust my behavior when she's around.
Do you find it unattractive when guys act up with their friends even though you're around? Have you ever broken up because you or your significant other couldn't get along with each other's friends? Have you ever stayed with someone whose friends you didn't like or that your friends didn't like? Is getting along with their friends and having them get along with your friends a requirement for a relationship in your opinion?
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