Columns / Discourse / February 20, 2019

Better Than Your Horoscope: ‘I want to spend time with him but I don’t want to be stuck dealing with his jerk friend’

Welcome back to “Better Than Your Horoscope,” where I answer your questions about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and give you unqualified advice. This week we have a question I’m sure many of us can relate to:

 

I have a friend who I think is great but he has a friend who I really don’t like. He brings this friend with him to spend time with our group. I know other people we hang out with also don’t like him. He can be mean and unpredictable. His friend knows I don’t like him (I don’t hide these things well). How do I tell my friend that I want to spend time with him but I don’t want to be stuck dealing with his jerk friend?

 

It sucks when we don’t like our friends’ friends, but it’s even worse when they’re just plain rude or mean.

This is a hard one, but I think it’s good that you already know that other people will back you up on this. If there are several people who also don’t like him and are also uncomfortable with his presence, then it won’t sound like it’s just coming from you and hopefully your friend will be more sympathetic.

I would check in with your other friends who feel the same way to let them know that you’re going to talk to your friend about this, just so everybody’s on the same page. Maybe they’ll have some words of wisdom or specific instances when this guy was mean or made them uncomfortable that you can pass along.

Confrontation is definitely not my jam, but I think it’s easier to do if you have a semblance of a game plan and some talking points. So if you have some of those specific instances down, and a general idea of what you’re going to say, you should be fine.

Tell your friend that you and your group all really like spending time with him, but that his friend that he keeps bringing along has been making people uneasy. Obviously there’s no need to make this an accusation, but you should make it clear that this isn’t just a slight annoyance, it’s something that’s come up again and again.

Hopefully your friend will understand and agree to not always bring this other guy along. But maybe he feels bad for this guy. Maybe he doesn’t have other friends, or maybe your friend doesn’t even like him that much either. What do you do then?

That really falls on your friend to have a talk with his friend. He’s the one who’s close with him and keeps bringing him along, right? If your friend cares about you and the rest of the group, he should be willing to accept that this guy is mean and needs to own up to it. Maybe he can stop inviting him to the group outings so much but make more time with him alone. Or maybe he can just tell him outright that he’s made some people uncomfortable.

People’s actions have consequences and they should have to face them instead of other people burying their feelings.

I wish you luck. It’s not easy!

 

Best,

Erika

 

If you want your question answered next week, submit anonymously at bit.ly/TKSAdvice (that’s case-sensitive!) or drop me a line at ejriley@knox.edu.

 

Erika Riley, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Riley is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. During her sophomore year, she worked as a news editor, and during her freshman year, she worked as a layout editor. She is the winner of the 2017 Ida M. Tarbell Prize for Investigative Reporting and the recipient of First Place Front Page Layout from the Illinois Press Association in 2016. Twitter: @ej_riley

Tags:  awkward better than your horoscope friends

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