Guys act differently around their mates than they do with their significant others. It’s a fact you just have to accept. Whether they act less affectionate, seem to ignore you, or act immaturely, it’s easy to get offended when you see this other side of their personality. The good news is you don’t have to let it get you down. If you communicate your feelings, try to understand his behavior, and get to know his mates, you’ll be happier for it.
Voice your concerns.
If you’re upset when he and his mates ignore you or goof off, let him know. Wait until you’re alone to avoid embarrassing him. Say exactly what’s on your mind in a calm, rational manner. Keep the conversation in the first person as much as possible. Use sentences that start with “I feel…,” “I think…,” or “I wanted…” This will make him fell less under the gun.
For example, you could say, “I don’t mean to sound whiney, but it makes me feel left out when you and your mates ignore me. I wanted to talk to you about it now before it comes a regular thing.”
Choose your words carefully.
Don’t bad-mouth his mates or say anything he could interpret as an insult. He might not even realize he’s offended you. If you leap right into verbal abuse, you could end up making an awkward situation much worse.
Watch your body language.
Verbal communication is only half of the equation. During your conversation, maintain eye contact and lean forward to show your undivided attention. If you normally gesture when you talk, don’t change your habit. When he talks, nod to signal your understanding.
Come to an understanding.
Compromise is key in a healthy relationship. Each of you needs to give something to get something. Agree that you won’t nag about his behavior if he stands up for you or includes you in conversations with his mates.
Step into his shoes.
If your guy’s in his teens or early 20s, his brain is still developing. This could make him do or say “stupid” things without thinking first. Issues like overparenting, youth obsession, and tough economic times can cause older guys to act immature, too. Understand and forgive him when he says he doesn’t mean to make you feel left out. He’s likely telling the truth.
Accept his need to fit in.
Everyone feels like they have to do what their mates are doing. If the gang wants to play video games, don’t get disappointed if he doesn’t feel like cuddling with you. Put yourself in his shoes, and imagine how you’d feel if he told you not to join in with your mates.
Don’t make him choose.
His mates have been there longer than you have. Never make him choose between you and them. Show him the same respect you’d expect him to show you with your own mates.
Don’t try to sabotage their friendship.
Sabotage shows a lack of trust and respect. Avoid calling or texting when you know everyone’s getting together for the weekly football match. Don’t invent emergencies to get him to leave them for you. Never delete texts from his mates.
Act civil to the mates you don’t like.
You don’t have to pretend to like anyone, but you shouldn’t start a war, either. If you encounter a mate you don’t like, a simple “Hey, how’s it going?” will do. If they walk up to him when you’re together, acknowledge them, finish your conversation, and politely excuse yourself.
Give him some space.
Tell him the truth about your feelings, but reassure him that you understand the value of friendship. Use this as an opportunity to hang out with your own mates. Chances are, he’ll be okay with your decision.
Take an interest in his mates.
Listen actively when your boyfriend tells you about his mates. Pay attention to anything you might have in common with them. When you talk to them, say something like, “Oh, you’re Mike! Josh tells me you’re originally from London. My aunt lives there.”
Get in on the joke.
Sitting on the sidelines while the guys kid around only makes you look stuck-up. If you don’t understand a joke one of his mates tells, wait until they finish laughing. Then, calmly say, “Sorry. I didn’t quite get that. Did I miss something?” Smile and chuckle a bit as you talk. This should show them that you’re a good sport and can take a lighthearted joke.
Don’t let your boyfriend or his mates get away with picking on you or telling sexist jokes. If they can’t treat you with respect, they’re not worth hanging out with.
Ask your boyfriend to limit the group size.
Suggest this only for times when you’re hanging out with them. In a smaller group, it’s often easier to put names with faces. Reassure him that this is only until you get to know his mates better.
If any of his mates are seeing anyone, suggest a double date. Getting to know another couple in his social circle will make future get-togethers less awkward.
Include your mates.
While you’re working on accepting his mates, suggest that he work on accepting yours. Invite your mates to the weekend get-together. This way, you’ll each have someone to speak up if there’s an awkward pause or change the subject if someone says something offensive.