Commentary: You Love Him & Hate His Friends (Now What?)

woman drinking wine with two guy friends

Commentary: You Love Him & Hate His Friends (Now What?)

Moving past your guy’s horrific crew.

UPDATED ON : AUGUST 13, 2014 / 12:37 PM

Malcolm Gladwell has made a lot of fans and money off of being the smartest man in the room. But the author of bestsellers including Blink and Outliers is apparently the dumbest friend ever, as evidenced by his shenanigans at a wedding. Gladwell recently shared the story of how his buddy married a woman he could not stand, one he thought was bossy and a pain and, worst of all, one who was going to get in the way of their bromance. So in lieu of a toast, he and a few other guys sang a song, a revised cover of “My Way” that included lines like “Girlfriends, he’s had a few. In fact the list is endless” and “She set him straight and now he’s friendless.” The bride—and groom—loved it so much (not) that they left their own reception.

Gladwell has matured enough to realize that what he did was wrong. But does he also recognize that as little as he liked this woman, she probably hated him way, way more—especially after the sing-along? No, he probably does not because most men can’t fathom that they could be so off-putting to a woman that they are not even trying to date. But ask a woman and with little effort she will be able to list the heinous behavior she has witnessed from her boyfriend’s besties—off-color jokes, stupid pranks, sexist comments and dating stories that seem like a plotline on Love & Hip Hop.

Unfortunately, when your guy’s friends leave a lot to be desired, you have pretty limited choices. You can suck it up and complain to your own friends. You can put your foot down and demand that they stop hanging out (which may be what Jennifer Garner did, since director Kevin Smith, the Silent Bob of Jay and Silent Bob, claims that his friendship with Ben Affleck suffered a lot because Garner can’t stand him). You can go on and on to your guy about how he has the worst friends ever, which could lead to him hanging out more with them to get away from complaining you.

Or you can be sensible. Realize that you probably have at least one friend that he can’t stand. And that you would not drop ever.  Act the way you would want him to act with your friend, which would probably be to point out—gently—how he feels and then shut up about it. In exchange, don’t plan a lot of group hangs where there can be problems. And don’t share stories about this friend to him, so that he has less ammunition to point out what he doesn’t like.

It’s the best solution, even though it’s the one that means you still have to deal with someone you dislike. Because clearly this friend brings a lot to your guy’s life—even if it’s something you think is juvenile and dumb. And if he stopped hanging out with them, he’d be trying to do all these stupid hijinks with you.

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 (Photo: Radius Images/Corbis)

Written by Ayana Byrd


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