(Nick Galifianakis for the Washington Post)
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By Carolyn Hax
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

Hi, Carolyn:

My friends met my new boyfriend for the first time recently. The evening went well for the most part -- except for the fact that he drank a bit too much and was insulting some of my guy friends. He claims he was just joking around with them and didn't mean anything by it.

I spoke to a couple of friends about that evening. They thought the new boyfriend was a bit of a jerk. My friends are an important part of my life and I'd like for them to like the new guy. Should I talk to the boyfriend and subtly let him know what my friends think of him? Or do I hope he makes a better second impression?


How about: 3. Consider that your boyfriend might be a jerk.

Don't you think it's a little strange that this isn't at the top of your list? The two possibilities you offer are to ask your boyfriend to change (but only because your friends are looking), and to hope he changes on his own.

He is who he is. He drank too much, insulted your friends and brushed off the responsibility for his actions. The only issue here is whether this was a one-time slip or a peek at his real nature.

Even if it was a one-time slip, if it happened because he was nervous, then you'll have to be ready for his social awkwardness to factor into future situations in other ways.

I also doubt the blame-shedding can ever be a one-time thing; you called him on the insults, so your opinion deserved more than a brushoff.

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