How to get along with your BFF’s partner, even when you aren’t their biggest fan

We love our friends, especially our best friends. We’ve been through a lot together: school, bad haircuts, break ups, first jobs and so much more. Our best friends have been with us through the good times and the bad. They are funny, kind, supportive and beautiful inside and out. WE LOVE THEM.

Given our friends’ greatness, we hope they find themselves in loving and supportive relationships with people who value and respect them. We hope they are compatible with their partners, because we want our friends to be happy. Is that too much to ask?

Well, sometimes, the answer might be yes. We can’t choose the people our friends fall in love with or even who they date. There may come a time when we have to suck it up and support our friends’ choices when we don’t agree with them. And that could mean being a nice to a jerk — er, I mean, significant other we may not deem worthy.

So, here are just a few ways to get along with your BFF’s partner—significant other, spouse, new fling, whatever—even when you aren’t their biggest fan.

Focus on the good

It’s easy to obsess over the things you don’t like about your BFF’s partner. Maybe he doesn’t call when he says he will. Maybe she has a reputation of being a player. Maybe the significant other has completely different values from your bestie, and you can’t see any reason they is even in a relationship with this person! Hard as it may sound, it’s a good idea to try to focus on the positive attributes of your friend’s significant other.

Remember, even if they aren’t your reasons for liking someone, your friend values his or her partner for a reason or for many reasons. What are they? Ask what your BFF likes about their partner, and keep an open mind. You might be surprised what you learn. Maybe the person isn’t so bad, after all. Either way, try to give your friend’s partner the benefit of the doubt, because that’s what we’d likely want for ourselves if the situations were reversed. It’s possible to misjudge people, and we aren’t perfect either!

Find common ground

Do you have anything in common with your BFF’s beloved? Did you go to the same school? Do you have any shared friends or interests? Even if it’s something as seemingly insignificant as liking the same T.V. show, you can use this to start a conversation. Doing so will hopefully help make all the people involved more comfortable.

Don’t criticize them

To keep the peace, it’s important to hold off on telling your friend how much you wish she’d break up with her significant other, unless you really, really, REALLY have to. (Like it’s a situation where it’s not just that you don’t like them, but that your bestie is in emotional or physical danger.) She may become defensive or hurt, and it could cause a wedge between you two. Not to mention she may tell her partner, which will make things all sorts of awkward when you see each other — if the offended party still wants to see you at all.

Just because you shouldn’t badmouth your friend’s beau, doesn’t mean you can’t be open with her, if she asks. But tread lightly. If he isn’t already her serious boyfriend, he may become one; they might move in together or get married and you don’t want to alienate yourself from your friend for years to come.

We all want the best for our friends. Many of our friends want different things than we would in partners, and that’s OK. If they aren’t right for each other, we have to trust that our friends will figure that out for themselves, when they are ready. In the meantime, we can try to get along with their significant others, for our friends’ sakes.

[Image via CBS]

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