How do I convince my friends to accept someone "different"?
July 10, 2007 8:41 AM   Subscribe

My circle of friends all date a certain type of person. How do I convince them to accept me dating someone outside of the qualifications?

Most of my friends date nice, smart, conservative girls. I met a intelligent, pretty girl who I am very attracted to for her personality recently, and upon letting my friends now they immediately brought up the fact that she's slightly gothic, which as they are in high school is unacceptable to them. How do I convince them to let us be in peace? I'll date her anyway, but I'd much rather have them accept someone different.
posted by zenja72 to Human Relations (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dude, you landed a hot goth chick. Your friends aren't disapproving, they're jealous. They'll either come around and deal with it, or to hell with them.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:44 AM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

Do they know her? I mean actually know her and not just the fact that she's 'slightly goth'?

Tell your friends that they're being superficial and lame, and that if they got to know the girl they would be able to see past her appearance. If they're decent friends, they should be willing to give her a chance even if they think she looks strange.

(FWIW, I've got purple hair, metal in my face, and am moderately tattooed. My boyfriend has none of the above. I've never had an appearance related problem in his social circle and he's never had a problem in mine.)
posted by plaingurl at 8:44 AM on July 10, 2007

Just keep going out with her, after high school they'll stop caring. (While you're still in high school, sorry to say, you're screwed. Just my memories of wearing a lot of black through high school...)
posted by anaelith at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2007

Make sure you don't divide your life into "them" and "her"; make sure they get exposed to her as much as possible. Make sure you hang out with her in their presence. It's the only way they're going to get used to the fact (I assume they aren't going to insult her to her face, in which case, fuck them), and once they do, they'll be better people for it.
posted by Jimbob at 8:55 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was 'alternative' in high school, and dated a 'metal' chick for a while. It didn't work out, at least in part because my friends so actively disapproved. Afterwards I was pretty down on myself for letting their opinions sway me like that. Sorry, don't have a better answer, but I agree that after high school they'll stop caring.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:59 AM on July 10, 2007

[dad]If you have to convince them, they're not really your friends.[/dad]
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:01 AM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]

Tell them that it's none of their business. End of conversation. It's a confidence thing. And if your friends can't invite you out because SHE might come along, or they feel awkward being around her, then maybe you need to find some new, non-preppy-asshole friends, dig? I mean, those people turn into republicans.
posted by SpecialK at 9:01 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, there's nothing for it except to go Goth yourself, throw over your friends for new Goth friends, and embrace your dark new identity.

More seriously, this isn't much of a problem. Tell your friends what you like about her and why she's great. Emphasize that you're sincere. Many of them should Get It immediately. In the strange social worlds of high school, Goth and "nice, smart, conservative" are actually almost neighbors. Bridge-building may be easier here than you think.

Those who continue to find her "unacceptable" t are being superficial and petty, and you don't need to worry too much about what they think--because that superficiality was bound to come out sooner or later.
posted by grimmelm at 9:03 AM on July 10, 2007

+1 jimbob.

If they do give you a hard time for dating someone outside their accepted parameters (and this being high school, they probably will), call them on it immediately. They'll probably make snarky little sideways comments that you could let slide. Don't. Call them on it.

Say something like "Look, this is the girl I'm dating, and if you want to be friends with me, she's part of the package. I'd like it if you could open your mind enough to accept her, but if you insist on being closed-minded, I insist that you at least be polite."

If they can't do that, well, you know where you stand with your friends.
posted by adamrice at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2007

You don't convince anyone of much, let alone some group of adolescents browbeating each other over the lunch/poker table and/or keg...

Make some new friends and have experiences with people you know less about, it will make you a more rounded person and in a decade when (more likely if) you ever see your old friends again you can compare experiences and see who was the wiser... by that time you will already have come to know the answer.
posted by prostyle at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2007

You've got a two-fer here. You get to date someone you like and who you are attracted to AND doing so helps you to discover the kind of people your friends really are.

If they're going to pre-judge her and reject her based on their issues with appearance and what they think that tells them about her then, quite bluntly, they are jerks. If they did this based on the color of her skin I don't think you'd need us to tell you what that would make them. Doing it based on her position on less-than-important matters like Hot Topic vs GAP makes them almost as obnoxious.

Hopefully they're not jerks, but just humans. People take time to get used to things that are new to them and quite frankly at your age almost EVERYTHING is new. Tell them quite frankly that you like her and are going to date her and you expect them to treat her with courtesy and respect. Then hold them to it. They can be good people or you'll go find other people to hang with.

They'll either step up to the challenge or they won't. Either way you'll get to find out who they really are.
posted by phearlez at 9:07 AM on July 10, 2007

As a former high school misfit, I can only conclude that your friends are assholes. I'm sure you'll have a better time with the Queen of the Damned than you ever would sitting around their parents' basements watching Jimmy Kimmel and doing beer bongs. Now get off my goddamn lawn!!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 AM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

High school is not such an important part of your life. But the love of darkness that dating a gothic chic will bring you will stay with you forever. When your friends disapprove, do the heavy metal sign and stick out your immensely long tongue. They will see the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of your skin, and they will never bother criticizing you again.
posted by markesh at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2007

Wank. Motion.

Screw your friends. They're either jealous, assholes, or are probably just giving you a hard time because that's what friends in high school do. I gave my friends shit all the time in high school and they did to me as well. It was a part of our scene. The only time it would get out of hand is when jealousy was involved. Then we'd just try to steal each other's girlfriends.

This is basic alpha male/high school pack mentality that transcend all social scenes. Just stand up for your choices, don't back down, and when she finds out that you stood up to your friends, she's gonna dig you even more. Enjoy.
posted by Stynxno at 9:22 AM on July 10, 2007

Goth kids aren't really different from anyone else. Same fucking people, different uniform.

You can switch "goth" with "punk", "preppy", "indie", "emo", "stoner", "jock" or any other word.

People in high school define themselves by something - whether it's the music they listen to, the sport they play/love, their rampant desire to be popular, or their abhorrence of popularity.

At the end of the day, they're all the same. They're just kids trying to find a place in life.

What's the point if this metaphilosophical bullshit? The point is - once your girlfriend and your friends have hung out in a group setting, they'll probably find something to connect on unless your girlfriend is the super-bitter-goth type that hates everyone who doesn't wear black (and hates everyone who wears black but doesn't listen to the right goth bands)...

Assuming she's not that type, you should all go bowling or something sometime and you'll quickly find that your friends and your girlfriend will see interesting qualities in each other and end up getting along.
posted by twiggy at 9:23 AM on July 10, 2007

Tell them to go fuck themselves with a fish.
A live one, if at all possible.
posted by signal at 9:23 AM on July 10, 2007

The one thing you do not want to do is offer excuses. You don't have to explain yourself to them. It'll be tempting to do so, and you may feel almost as if it's required of you to do so. But, if you make excuses, what you'll be doing is admitting that it's something you need to make excuses for! And it's not.

It's up to them to deal with you being an individual. It's okay if they're a little naive and thus nervous about your girlfriend being different from them (who doesn't have faults as obvious as this while in high school?), but that's their problem. We live in a society with oodles of people who count as different from them, so they need to learn to deal with it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:27 AM on July 10, 2007

Isn't this a movie?

I think at the end of this story she will wear a beautiful (non gothy) gown at the homecoming dance and your friends jaws will drop as she enters the room.
posted by brinkzilla at 9:55 AM on July 10, 2007 [5 favorites]

Never ever justify your relationship to your friends by suggesting she is easy.

Make it clear to your friends that you won't tolerate them talking shit about her. Wait for your friends to either grow up, or grow apart, in the meantime, make it clear to her that she shouldn't talk shit about your friends. Don't talk shit about her to your friends and vice versa.

Enjoy your girlfriend. Enjoy your friends.
posted by Good Brain at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2007

Seconding plaingurl--superficial and lame. If she's smart and pretty and has won you over, let your friends know you are not going to take any crap from them over her, and then just go on doing what you are doing. High school ends and so do these ridiculous cliques.
posted by misha at 11:19 AM on July 10, 2007

Damn, me and These Premises Are Alarmed had about the exact same experience. I broke up with a girl because my friends didn't like her, and it was dumb dumb dumb. Not only was she incredibly hot then, she only got hotter and more fun and into cooler shit. For me it was because she was (gasp) a year younger. I was kinda a cad and I still regret it all these years later.

Tell your friends to stop being such Republicans and let you date who you want.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on July 10, 2007

How about inviting your friends and your girlfriend over to watch the Breakfast Club?
posted by solongxenon at 12:04 PM on July 10, 2007

Or Freaks & Geeks.
posted by yeti at 12:46 PM on July 10, 2007

Know this: these high school friends, you probably won't even remember their names 10 years from now.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:59 PM on July 10, 2007

I would deal with it like this: explain to your friends (and your girlfriend, if she begins to express a negative opinion about them) that you alone choose your company, and you don't expect the people you surround yourselves to disrespect these choices. If they do, they shouldn't consider themselves part of your life. Independence and confidence in your decisions is a key part of this, as is keeping the girlfriend and the friends separate if they don't mix well.

And what people say about your high school friends not mattering after you leave - it's true. Most of your life you walk alone, and you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and know you've done the best for yourself.
posted by saturnine at 1:27 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yeah, hang out with her, hang out with them, hang out with her friends, hang out all together. If they're so close-minded that they absolutely refuse to accept this, I'd say its their loss. Saturnine pretty much nailed it.
posted by Alterscape at 2:15 PM on July 10, 2007

You could also give them a book on small world networks and explain how you are actually of crucial importance for the existence of a functioning society. And then you could make a sarcastic remark about clustering coefficients and mean-shortest path lengths, and, you know, just take it from there.
posted by signal at 2:59 PM on July 10, 2007

I'm tempted to say "Tell them that you're sure she'll do all the things that your girlfriend won't."

But, I think it'd be funnier to say: "Wow, she totally accepts you. I'm a little ashamed of you as friends to be so superficial. I would think you'd trust my judgment. Next thing you know, you'll say that we shouldn't talk to black/asian/mexican people".
posted by filmgeek at 5:26 PM on July 10, 2007

How about inviting your friends and your girlfriend over to watch the Breakfast Club?

No, no, no, a thousand times NO!!! In that movie, Allie Sheedy is made-over from being a cute, quirky Gothicky chick into a boring, plain 'smart conservative girl'. That is entirely the wrong message, in every possible way.

Since everybody here has already made the obvious points about your friends' apparent shallowness, why not throw some quasi-Goth culture at them? I second the jerk-off hand motion, along with a wink & a cheeky Smiths quote: "a boy in the bush is worth two in the hand". Unfortunately, they'll probably misinterpret this to mean that you're queer, which is another reason to fuck your friends off.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:12 PM on July 10, 2007

... She has dark hair!!! - and not blonde?


They may surprise you? Heh heh heh... yeah. The sooner you ditch the dickweeds the sooner you'll begin to taste the awesome things out there. You'll never regret it... :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:13 PM on July 10, 2007

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