“Help, His Pals Are Always Around!”


“Help, His Pals Are Always Around!”

The authors of Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex on how to get some alone time with a guy who’d rather go out in a group.

By Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick

Q: The guy I’m dating loves to go out. The only problem is that he always invites his friends along. Always. I like his friends well enough but I’d also like to spend some time alone with him. How can I talk to him about this without sounding like I hate his friends?

Josh’s solution:
Have you tried saying something subtle, to the effect of “Two’s company, five’s a professional basketball team”?

It’s quite possible that your guy simply feels more comfortable around you when he has his friends there to put him at ease. After all, they can laugh at his dumb jokes, re-hash boring experiences, and fill up all those awkward silences with calls for another round. All of this is quite normal—at the beginning of a relationship. But if you’ve made it through the occasional awkwardness of the first few dates and he’s still bringing along the chorus, there are a few steps you need to take.

First: Take charge of a date! There’s no reason he needs to make all the decisions. Suggest a quiet evening alone with him, and say you’d like to make the arrangements. Perhaps you might even consider preparing a dinner at your place; he’s not likely to bring the boys there. Second, when he’s doing the planning, tell him you’d like to have at least the beginning or latter part of the evening alone with him.

Finally, make sure that you like this guy as much when the two of you are alone as when he’s with “the boys.” You may discover that he only comes out of his shell when his friends are around. That’s something you need to be aware of as you consider a relationship with him. If he continues to make all your dates group hugs, tell him you’re dating him, not the pals. Say “I like your friends, but I want to spend time alone with you.” If he’s solid dating material, he’ll let the guys do their own thing and the two of you can do yours. If he’s more attached to them than to you, he has intimacy issues, and you should seriously consider moving on.

Jen’s solution:
While I empathize with your situation, the first order of business is to determine if this is his problem or yours. So ask yourself: Do you get irked if he doesn’t call you to join him when he’s going out with his pals? Do you want to be included in all his spontaneous plans? If so, you might be demanding more of his time than he’s comfortable giving at this point, which is why his friends are always around. Another possibility is (be honest) you merely loathe the activities you wind up doing with his buddies—watching football at a grungy sports bar, for instance. If so, cut him loose on those nights out that always give you heartburn and a hangover. You’re not going to have fun, so stop trying to put on your game face.

If you love jalapeño poppers with a Pabst chaser and think your grievance is legitimate, talk to him. It doesn’t have to be a big thing: “I like your friends, but I’d really like to go out unchaperoned now and again.” If you don’t speak up, he may not realize that you’re dissatisfied with the situation. While it’d be nice to think men would just know they should break from the pack and schedule some alone time with their woman, he may still need to be brought in from the wilderness and shown the way to a civilized relationship. Meanwhile, remember that his decision to include you is ultimately a compliment, since it means both he and his friends like your company enough to let you into their inner circle.

Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick are co-authors of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex;

*This column is for entertainment purposes only. It does not contain professional advice. The authors are not liable for any use or misuse of the information it contains.

Do you have a question for Josh and Jen? Send it to us—including your name, e-mail address and phone number in case we need more details. We reserve the right to edit your case and feature it in a future issue of Happen.
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