I just can’t win with my partner’s irritating college friends

Dear Amy: My partner of four years has a group of college friends. With every reunion, I have done my best to be kind, to participate, to be funny and inquire about their lives.

It’s hard for me to engage with many of the members of his friend group. They don’t understand my humor, I am rarely asked questions about how I am doing or what I am up to, and I find that the majority of their conversations are satirical putdowns of other people from college.

I’m a realistic person; I don’t need to be liked by everyone, simply because I, myself, do not like everyone.

That being said, I love my partner.

He makes a notable effort with my numerous friends and family, winning approvals and gaining acceptance with each encounter.

I don’t understand why I haven’t had the same experience with his friends and family members.

The people in his life don’t seem to reflect the man that I know, and it is upsetting to me that I may never fit into some parts of his life as well as he fits into mine.

I’ve talked to him about this many times. He seems to want to be supportive but completely lacks the ability to understand how I feel.

I feel lonely and worthless in my efforts to make things better.

The more effort I put into trying to make these people like me, the more it feels like I’m not myself.

I’m using so much energy to gain the acceptance of people I would never choose to be around. It’s exhausting and has ignited deep-seated insecurities.

Of course, I have considered just not going to any of his gatherings, but I want to support my partner just as he supports me.

I feel I am losing no matter what decision I make, and I am asking for some guidance on how to handle this.


Dear Unsure: There is one sure way not to “lose” in this dynamic, and that is not to care quite so much and not to try so very hard to befriend people who are not your primary connections, and who might also be jerks.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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