Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
FRIENDSHIP: Fifth Wheel Is Derailing Our Group Friendship
Hello, This is my first time asking formally asking for advice from a professional party so excuse my formatting. I am aware that this sounds extremely pathetic or jealous but I feel like I am in uncharted territory and I draw the line here. Here is my problem. I have a group of friends and we all get along extremely well. The dynamic is perfect for activities. (Two guys, two girls).
Recently I (mistakenly) introduced them to another childhood friend I grew up with. This individual is disrespectful, complains a lot, and I would not consider him a great friend to me. However, the problem is that he acts like a completely different person around them. We all go to college in different cities so there is little face to face communication.
My worst fear has come true and now the two girls are so interested in this guys fake but convincing personality, that they are starting to give me and the other original guy in the group the cold shoulder. We're watching our friend group fall apart because of this fake friend, but when I drop hints that this guy isn't what he seems they just object what I say. I started to believe maybe this guy has changed so I met him in our home town (at his parents house) and since the other friends weren't around he was extremely rude, whined a lot, and worst of all was so disrespectful to his family. I don't want my friends obsessing over this guy anymore but I have no way to make them believe me. I am not one to get jealous, but one of the girls is my best friend and she has been treating me way differently since she met this fake. What advice might you be able to offer to me? I appreciate any help, thank you.
I am sorry to hear that your group of friends has been disrupted, though I am not surprised. Sometimes when another element (or person) is added to seemingly stable relationships, there is disruption rather than harmony. This has happened to me as well. You did a nice thing, Kevin, by trying to bring your childhood friend into your group, but now you probably regret having done so. I am afraid that the two girls may be charmed (temporarily at least) by this new guy. (I remember that some of the girls in high school were charmed by any new guy who came to our school mid-year. This often didn't last, but it must have been fun for them at the time, especially if the guy had talents such as athletic ability, which seemed to always give them an extra boost in popularity.)
Your childhood friend seems to have two personalities, one he shows with his family (and you), and one that he shows when he is trying to impress his peers. He sounds immature to me, and may have to learn a lot more about relationships by being challenged by others. It doesn't sound as if you can challenge him, but it might be worth a try. Tell him privately that you wonder about his two personalities, and ask him why he is so different with his family. You don't have to use the word "fake" to try to get this guy to look at himself and his behavior more closely. He was once your friend, after all, and must have had some good qualities as a kid. If he is acting fake, he may be trying to impress one or both of the girls in the group, to get their romantic attention.
I don't think you can "force" the group back to where it was when it all worked out (in your mind anyway). All social groups are vulnerable to changing. Just look at any band that has been together a long time. There are often disagreements that cause breaks, sometimes temporary and sometimes permanent ones. Relationships come and go, unfortunately, but that is something we can learn from. If your friends are really taken with this guy and are beginning to snub you, I think you need to chill out and get a bit of distance from them, at least until this "crush" on your childhood friend wears off (which it likely will).
There are other fish in the sea and probably many others who would like to hang out with you. If this guy is the rude whiner you say he is, that will eventually become known to your friends, and they may miss your friendship and no longer want to be with him. You are right that you have no way to MAKE them believe you. They will have to find out for themselves that the new guy is not what he appears to be.