Do I Have to Hang Out With My Friend’s Awful Partner?

Advice does not apply for significant others that are actual demons [Via aPublic Domain Review]

Advice does not apply for significant others that are actual demons [Via Public Domain Review]

We got this question on Twitter:

If my bf and I want to go out with a friend of ours, how can we not invite his gf who we don’t like?

(Reminder to send us your etiquette questions on Twitter @ucourtesy or email us at

Victoria: Okay, and she followed up that she cheats on him and stuff too, making her legit bad and not just like, annoying. So I think this is a verrrrry tricky situation where in general, it’s going to be REALLY hard to avoid hanging out with a friends significant other.

Jaya: Absolutely.

Victoria: Especially for a couple because you can’t then frame it as “boys night” or whatever.

Jaya: Yeah, if it’s single friends that’s one thing, but saying “I can bring my SO and you can’t” is unfair. The only way I see it sort of working is if the three of them were all friends before, so it can be like “the three of us” instead of “couple and a friend.”

Victoria: Yeah, which is sounds like they might have been.

Jaya: But still tricky

Victoria: Yeah, I think you could do it OCCASIONALLY but not every time.

Jaya: And if he says “can I bring my girlfriend” you either have to say yes, or say no and risk him being really mad.

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, one way might be to get tickets to something and have a third and have there be no way to get a 4th. But that’s a lot of hoops.

Jaya: Yes, and then you risk him being like “not without my girlfriend” if it’s something she would normally wanna do/if she wants to be involved.

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, the one thing you could do if you are brave and talk to him. And be like, we love you and want to hang out with you, but we can’t stand Girlfriend. But you take a serious risk of losing your friend.

Jaya: Though I think there is an underlying thing here–if you see someone legitimately treating your friend badly, like cheating on them, do you tell them?

Victoria: I think you can! And should.

Jaya: Only if you’re really really sure.

Victoria: I mean, again, you do risk them ending your friendship. Yeah, for sure, you have to be absolutely sure.

Jaya: Also like, you know it’s cheating and not that they just have an open relationship or something.  Because if you’re like “she made out with this guy!” and he’s like “I know and it’s fine” then you’re in the place of being a dick.

Victoria: And like, if he knows about it and forgives her, then there’s also not much you can do there.

Jaya: Exactly. It’s tricky, and I think you can only really bring up not liking her if he asks first. And even then, be gentle, say something like “I’m not her biggest fan, I’m concerned with the way she treats you because of xyz” but if he says he wants to be with her say you support him and just want him to be happy.

Victoria: I mean, hopefully, he would also read social cues and realize he’s not getting as many invitations as he used to

Jaya: Yes. I think you can slyly keep inviting him to stuff and making him ask if he can bring his girlfriend, if you want to be passive aggressive about it, which I always do

Victoria; Hahahahah, love it.



One thought on “Do I Have to Hang Out With My Friend’s Awful Partner?

  1. I agree that it’s tricky, but I’ve got to speak up in favor of openly barring an unliked romantic partner if there are clearly defined reasons for it, and there sound like there are in this case. One of my friends had a girlfriend for awhile that would just nitpick and heckle him in public, which was extremely unpleasant to be around. Thus: “We’d love to see you at dinner! But please don’t bring Girlfriend. She says such mean things to you and I just don’t want to hear someone talk that way about my friend.” Another friend dated a guy who wasn’t great to her, and in addition to that, she got weirdly quiet and demure when he was around. “Actually, I was really hoping to spend time with YOU! When you’re with Boyfriend, your behavior really changes, and I don’t feel that we can be ourselves with him.” Sometimes a matter-of-fact observation can switch a light on for a person. Both of those friends eventually moved on from their lousy partners.

    The obvious exception would be if you suspect the Darth Vader Partner of trying to divide your friend from his peer network, which is when you’re likely to get “not without my girlfriend” replies, if any. But otherwise, why waste precious moments with someone who makes you uncomfortable or does your loved ones harm?

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