My friends don’t like my partner. Help

My friends don’t like my partner. Help | Soho House

This week, our resident sexpert, Olivia Petter, addresses what you can actually do when you’re stuck between your friends and your other half

Friday 3 February 2023   By Olivia Petter

Do you remember ‘the one with the screamer’? Friends fans will immediately recognise this as the title of an episode starring Ben Stiller in which the actor plays a seemingly normal man, Tommy, who starts dating Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). 

Alas, it quickly transpires that Tommy has some secret anger issues, which prompts Rachel’s friend-slash-ex-boyfriend, Ross, to encourage her to stop seeing him. Initially, Rachel dismisses this as an attempt to sabotage her fledgling relationship and continues to date Tommy, until she sees him screaming obscenities at Chandler and Joey’s pet chick after it urinates in his hand. They break up.

It’s a unique example of a common problem. And it’s something we almost always fear when we start dating someone new. The stakes are high, because if this is someone who’s going to stick around, that means integrating them into every aspect of your life, including your friendship group. Not just so that you can all engage in idle chatter at someone’s birthday party. Oh no. You want to get to the point where you can enjoy group barbecues, Sunday roasts, and both of your names are at the top of wedding invitations. 

You want your friends to have your partner’s number, and vice versa. For them to like each other’s Instagram posts. And conspire over surprise birthday parties for you. That’s the dream scenario. The truth is, not many of us achieve it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like all of my friends’ partners; I even have some of their numbers. But I wouldn’t say many of us have individual friendships with one another, at least not to the degree where I’d hang out with them instead of my friend.

To be clear, this isn’t because I don’t like them. It’s simply because I feel indifferent, which I suspect is how some of your friends might feel, too. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about whether or not they dislike your partner – unless they’ve explicitly told you, of course. Instead, I’d take some of the pressure off yourself. It’s OK for you not to be the best of friends with your friends’ partners and for them not to be the best of friends with yours. I actually think it’s quite normal.

Because who we are as a friend can be very different to who we are as a romantic partner. And so the kind of people we want as partners are different to the kinds we want as friends. That’s why a lot of the people your friends date might not necessarily be the ones you’d expect. Perhaps they’re a little quieter, for example, or less outgoing. That’s OK. All that matters is that they make your friend happy – and I’m sure that this is how your friends see it, too.

All that being said, though, it’s a slightly different matter if your friends have literally told you they don’t like your partner. If this is the case, here’s my advice. First, you need to find out where their issues stem from: is it something minor, like a habit they find irritating? Or something they once said on a night out? Or a residual build-up of all of the above? If it’s any of these, your problem should be fairly easy to resolve. Simply talk to your friend about their issue and ask how you can fix it. Would they like to go for a drink with you and your partner to clear the air, perhaps? Or maybe you just need to get them to see your partner in a better light by planning something fun together, like bowling?

If the issue runs slightly deeper, though, and comes from the way your partner is treating you, then I’d pay attention to what your friends have to say. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the flaws in a relationship. And as irritating as that may feel at the time, in some cases, it can be a blessing in disguise.

Got a question for Olivia? Please email All submissions will remain anonymous. 
Olivia Petter is the relationships writer at The Independent and author of Millennial Love, which is out now in paperback with 4th Estate