• Keeping Friends

Friendship: Is loyalty a weakness?

Published: July 20, 2015 | By | 24 Replies Continue Reading
An engaged woman asks whether her fiancé’s loyalty to old friends—ones she doesn’t care for—is a character weakness.


Dear Friendship Doctor,

Do a person’s friends reflect who they are?

To give you some context, my fiancé is a caring man who is very good at assessing people very quickly. However I question some of his friendships. The friends he spends lots of time with and with whom he’s maintained a long history are gossipy and back-stabbing so I have declined to invest too much time and energy in getting to know them better.

He also has other, warm, caring and loyal friends whom I would like to see us spend more time with. He thinks I’m being judgmental but I think he’s perhaps a little too much like a doormat sometimes. I just cannot understand why he would want to be friends with people who manipulate him with guilt and talk behind his back and mine.

I try to see their good qualities but I always run the risk of being dragged into their drama if I give them too much place in our lives. It causes friction between us (me and my soon-to-be) and I end up feeling guilty for venting to him about them or questioning why he would want toxic people in our lives. He himself gets frustrated with them and so I cannot understand his loyalty. Is it a weakness in his character?

Signed, Nanette


Hi Nanette,

People choose friends for a variety of reasons so they do reflect choices we make. Sometimes we choose friends who are like us, in a sense, kindred spirits because they “get” us and understand or have similar interests. Other times we choose aspirational friends, friends whom we admire, or friends we feel we can help. Sometimes we even choose friends who remind us of someone else. Some of these relationships work out and others are less successful.

Obviously, you haven’t chosen your fiancé’s friends. It sounds like some of these friendships that worry you are long-standing relationships, ones that your fiancé might not even choose now. Moreover, he may have come to appreciate qualities in these friends over time that you are yet to recognize.

Loyalty is a virtue in friendship unless it turns into an abusive, one-sided friendship. It’s understandable that you would feel protective of someone you love but unless your fiancé is choosing friendships that are self-destructive, you probably should let him handle his relationships on his own.

You have the option of spending time together with his friends that you like and to tell him you would prefer he see some of the others without you. You can be forthcoming about how you feel about certain friends but if you begin to sound like a nag, he is less likely to listen to what you are saying.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


Tags: , , , , ,


Comments (24)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Amanda Smith says:

    Dear darley
    You are so nice to me all the time .
    You can ask me anything I don’t mind .
    Maybe I do like you as a friends because you are so cool.
    Maybe I will see you later .
    I hope you have a good time with your family that love you.
    Fro amanda Smith.?!.♦♦♦

  2. Amanda Smith says:

    Dear Alex
    I miss you very much .
    You are a good person that be smart ever thing .
    You look so great person that be right to you.
    You have a good family that will about you all the time .
    I will see you later .
    Good bye friend s
    Amanda Smith .
    I will make new friends that is nice to me .
    It a person that is nice to me all the time .
    The ends .?!.

  3. Latasha says:

    A large part of being a couple(especially if you re going to be married) is COMPROMISE. Let him have his friends, they already know you are not going away & that you are part of his life. Be like the characters in the children’s movie Frozen, “Let It Go.” Relax, you have your Prize, your man. Is is coming home every night? does he love you? Does he want to be with you? If the answers to all these questions are the same, “Yes,” be like Alfred E. Newman who ‘s philosophy has always been: “What, me worry?” His friends are his friends, they are one of many, but you are his one and only. Take a deep breath and chillax.

  4. Odyssa says:

    I don’t think so! Loyalty is a quality that is of value in any kind of relationship. For many years my bffs and I have been loyal to each other and we’re still BFFs today! Sharing with you some of our photos: https://travelwithodyssa.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/throwback-bffs-photoshoot-in-2013/

  5. Bizzy says:

    I would let it be. He is a grown up and can have his own friends. Also, there is nothing worse than a spouse that wants to control who the other spouse can have as a friend. You wouldn’t want him to do that to you, would you?

  6. Carol Henderson says:

    Substance abuse? That is a bit of jump to even say that he is taken drugs or alcohol. There is not mention by Nanette of this and not good to even suggest this is a problem. Sound like to much drama. Good luck and it will work out. This is not unusually when people become a couple to have problems on either side with each others friends. Well, if you ask for opinions one will certainly get them. Its hard from a computer to see what is going on.

    • Lisa says:

      Carol, I agree. I don’t know where the substance abuse comes in, nothing even suggests that. I hope it works out well for the two of them. they are the only two that matter in the end.

    • Maddie says:

      Drama, toxic, are descriptive words she used. It’s a legitimate question. I’m a physician and substance abuse, especially alcohol, is very prevalent in these types of relationships with negative dynamics.

  7. Latasha says:

    Never be pushed out of a friendship or a love. YOU and only you will decide the outcome of this relationship. Never back away from a challenge. This is how these obstinate and irritating friends of your fiancee are and have been this way for years. To them you are a mere fly that is of no consequence. They only notice you because your fiancee has introduced you to the scenario as his future wife. They will be like this whether you stay or go. If you go, they won’t even remember you 6 months from now. In fact, they are a swarm of irritating gnats that you have to endure at the moment. Dismiss them from your mind, but YOU stay the course with your beloved. He will see that when all is said and done, you are the constant in his life … his North Star that guides him back to Safe Harbor. Look at the bigger picture, be strong and fight for what you want. Maybe you are Queen rescuing your King from the nasty hoard. Rescue him and he will rescue you back.

  8. Lisa says:

    Hi Nanette,

    I would start by saying, this is not a good friend he thinks he has there. This person sounds controlling, and your fiance sounds as if he keeps this friendship because they have been friends for so long. He can’t be that good of a judge of character if he allows this so called friend to treat him like this. Also this friend could be trying to sabotage your relationship because you are a threat to this controlling person. I say the friends you do like of his, get together with them, as for this individual be honest with your fiance and tell him, I don’t care for him because of the way he treats you. I also don’t trust him. tell him you are old enough to choose your own friends but I will not associate with a troublemaker. And say, I am sorry if this upsets you but I feel strongly about this. Best of luck to you. I hope this friendship will run its course, and your fiance will finally see the light.


  9. Latasha says:

    There is no perfect world, never was, never will be. You have to make your own wold with your man and decide who will be allowed in either to make it better or take a big dump on your happiness. YOU are the Architect of your Destiny.

  10. Latasha says:

    If you leave him that is probably what his annoying friends would like. Marry him only if you love him … truly love him. After that, remember, Family Always Comes 1st, & after the Wedding, YOU will be family.

  11. lottie says:

    Do you know I am thinking that your man is perhaps a little immature for you,and without being rude I wonder if postponing your DAY is something to think about. Of course if you are offended by what I write it will be nothing compared to your upset if you do make a mistake. I sincerely hope that all will be sorted by then.
    However you ask if his loyalty is a weakness,in this case I say YES. He still wants to be one of the lads. Take great care .Lottie

  12. Maddie says:

    Blind loyalty is not a virtue.

  13. Carol Henderson says:

    Does he know they talk about him? I hate gossip even thought most of us have engaged, I try not too. Just depends if it is really bad and made up. I think it would be a good idea to go out, so that makes it harder to argue, and talk about it. Hope that helps. Friendships are hard and strange and as an on looker I have seen people I would never hang out with having lots of fun. Also , Nanette, maybe stay away from the ones you are not so keen on, if he wants to keep hanging out with them. Its actually good to have separate friendships too, as long as they are not dangerous ones. If you think that they are dangerous to him , then its best to talk it out. Hope that helps. Good luck with this, it will work out. Pray if you have a high power, and breath. I tend to react to things, and am trying to do that first, fear can get us into all sorts of trouble , so step back a bit too 🙂

  14. lottie says:

    You say your man is very good at assessing people quickly,but then the assessments are not always so good.It might be better if he wasn’t so hasty? It is good to have a variety of friends but not two faced back stabbers as you describe,which is causing you to be unhappy.

    It is said that a person is judged by the company they keep. For your own sanity perhaps it might help to have a good “clear out”of issues well before the big day.

    Just one ugly thought has entered my mind…..what if there were a dispute between you and one of his back stabbers….where would his loyalty be. Think about it. Lottie

  15. Maddie says:

    Don’t marry him if this is a big issue. If he routinely puts his questionable friends before your relationship, this is a big red flag that will not change.

  16. Latasha says:

    Loyalty is a Virtue one of seven as a matter of fact: temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage while faith hope & charity are the top three in the Catholic Religion. The Greek philosophers liked the first four. Temperance and Charity I expect are the old school versions of Loyalty. The bottom line as I see it is if you don’t click with some of his friends, then don’t interact with them. There will be some occasions will you will undoubtedly will find yourself in social situations with these people, but it doesn’t mean you have to engage in deep irritating conversations wit them. do however, continue taking mental notes if they are in fact talking about your intended and yourself behind you back. remember, he is to be your husband, and you do want to protect hem, but unless he is loaning money to these people, he has been dealing with them for quite some time. Down the road when you have more leverage as a spouse, you could exert more influence over your now fiancee.Perhaps if you did a flip on them, became more stealth like, and went undercover so to speak, draw them out without giving up any of your information, you could discover many, many things about THEM. People usually like to talk about themselves and this would be to your advantage to draw these so called friends out. Remember KNOWLEDGE may not be a Virtue, but KNOWLEDGE is POWER. In time I expect these people will go too far with your man, probably after the two of you are married. When it starts to effect his lifestyle and cause disharmony between the two of you AFTER you are married, he will have to choose, and he WILL choose his marriage over meddlers. Right now interfering will label you unfortunately as a Nag and your man n=might think that this would be his future with you, nagging him, ergo friends win … you lose. You must be like Roman Emperor Claudius’ step mother, Livia, bide your time … wait … all will come to you. Patience is also a Virtue as well.

  17. Amy F says:

    Loyalty is a virtue, being a doormat is an issue that would benefit exploration.

    From your letter, I gather your husband has known many of these friends longer than he knows you. They are legacy friends with whom he has a history and connection that you don’t share and that’s okay. You have opinions about his friends, as I’m sure he has about your friends. You might not “get” all of his relationships, and he might not understand all of yours. As a couple, you won’t be joined at the hip in your opinions and friendships. Having individual relationships, as well as friendships as a couple is healthy, because couples need some uniqueness to thrive and grow.

    I didn’t read that these friendships of which you don’t approve are abusive or detrimental to your fiancé’s well being, just that they aren’t the type of people you find nurturing and that you personally want to spend time with. If my fiancé constantly criticized, tried to control or micromanaged my friendships that would be a huge red flag for me. Giving an opinion once is fair, but we’d have a problem and I’d want to reconsider taking the next step in our relationship if this continued or felt controlling or naggy, because it would be indicative to me of potential future problems down the road. Let it go.

Leave a Reply