Thank you to everyone who came to Friday's screening of "Casablanca" and the pre-party. I love field trips. We'll have another one soon.
Q: Hi Meredith,
Here's the deal. I'm basically the living plot line of the movie "I Love You, Man". Hilarious on the big screen ... not so amusing in real life. Basically, my boyfriend has no friends. We got together in college, which I think made the issue worse. We spent most of our time together and hung out with my friends on the weekends. He did not live on campus, so it was definitely difficult for him to make friends. We are now in our mid-20s, and he still does not have any of his own friends. We have two couples that we go out a lot with, but he would never hang out with the guys on his own, without the girls present.
The reason this bothers me is because I feel guilty when I want to hang out with my friends on my own. He never comes out and says it, but I feel some resentment when I leave him home alone to spend time with my friends. I try to include him as much as possible, but he is a guy, so sometimes the activities just don't interest him, and sometimes I just want time on my own. I feel that it is really important for us both to have our own lives and hobbies outside of each other. However, he is not an outgoing kind of person, and he isn't into sports much, so I don't know how to help him make friends. We have discussed the issue a couple of times, and he does want to have his own friends, or at least one of them, but I don't think he knows how to go about it. Any suggestions? Should I just let this go?
– His Only Friend, Cape Cod
A: HOF, you shouldn't drop the issue, but you shouldn't frame it as a big criticism of how he lives his life. The goal is for him to be happy. He should find some friends to enrich his existence, not because he feels competitive or bad about himself.
My advice is to help him with his self-confidence by assuring him that there's nothing wrong with him. Making new friends is difficult, especially as a guy. Most of the men I know find new pals by joining recreational teams and fantasy leagues. Is there a comparable activity for your boyfriend? Book club? Cooking class? Yes, he might wind up with female friends, but is that so bad? He might be more comfortable in a predominately female environment.
And tell him that some people are better at making friends later in life. Maybe if you guys stay together and have kids, he'll be great at making friends with other parents -- which, by the way, isn’t always easy for people who already have a pack of buddies from college.
The trick is to be positive. Remind him that he's awesome. After all, he's one of your best friends, right? And assure him that he doesn't have to push too hard. Baby steps, and only if they feel natural.
Readers? Am I right to say that befriending women might be the answer? Does everyone need close friends? Am I right to say that he might be better at making friends later in life? How can she avoid feeling guilty for having friends of her own? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.