Honey, I hate your friends

I love my girlfriend, but I hate her friends. Her best friend has to be the center of attention. She is also one of the most gossipy, backstabbing people I have ever met. The others are neurotic and unable to hold down a job for more than a few months or a relationship for more than a few weeks. My girlfriend (we’ve been dating for three months) thinks her friends are hilarious and wants us to spend lots of time with them. I beg off a lot, but then I don’t get to see her much. She refuses to spend less time with them because she says they have been there for her when various boyfriends have not. I want her to spend more time with me, and I want her to get new friends. What should I do?

Realize that girl buddies are sacrosanct. Your choice, then, is to break up or to find couples that you both like or to accept the situation as it is. In consideration of the latter, I’m curious whether she really is tight with her friends or whether she uses her friends to avoid intimacy with boyfriends. After all, our hearts are wide enough to embrace deep, lasting connections with platonic friends and a profoundly loving connection with a romantic partner.

Your decision to reduce the time you spend with your girlfriend’s buddies is a sane move, for now. It allows you to avoid the negative feelings you experience in their presence so you don’t carry those feelings into your relationship with your girlfriend. Of course, time with her friends also can become a part of your spiritual practice. For example, you can view each difficult friend as an innocent who is awkwardly attempting to get what they want (love) in the only way they know how (manipulation, such as demanding to be the center of attention; or gossiping, a symptom of intense insecurity). With heightened compassion, you can practice finding things to appreciate about her friends, such as one friend’s ability to tell jokes. This game of finding ways to delight in others can occupy you interiorly so there is less space to be annoyed and angry.

I surprised my boyfriend and came over about an hour earlier than he expected (I have a key). He was smoking pot. He came clean and told me that he smokes every day after work to relax. I was planning to move in with him, but now I’m not so sure. My brother died of a drug overdose five years ago. I used to help my brother hide his pot smoking from our parents. When he got into other drugs, I pretended it was no big deal even though he was out of control. I feel like it is partially my fault that he overdosed. Now, I can’t decide whether to move in or not. My boyfriend wants me to.

Oh honey! If your boyfriend is smoking pot every day after work and cannot or will not stop, he is an addict. If you move into his place, you must budget for a weekly session with a psychotherapist because, with your history, you’ll need it. Do not play head games like, “If he really loved me, he would stop,” or “He knows about my brother, so how can he do this?” Remember that addicts are notorious for being self-absorbed. Playing head games is a way of continuing the denial you engaged in while covering up for your brother. To assuage your guilt, be honest about why you colluded with your brother. Then trace the reason back to see how you arrived at that decision. Once you understand yourself, it becomes harder to lie (to yourself or to others). A 12-step program like Al-Anon can help.

Meditation of the Week

When I was 20-something I watched a television show called <i>thirtysomething</i>, which was<i> </i>about people who looked like they were 40-something and cared about getting married, buying homes and having children. Now that I’m 40-something, my friends watch <i>Sex and the City</i>--about 30-somethings who act like they’re 20-something and care about designer clothing, orgasms and whether to make commitments. What’s your definition of insanity?