It’s Friday night, and you’re left wondering, “Can’t we all just get along?!” No, you’re not talking about the annoying frenemies of your crew—you’re stressing about your BFFs and your parents. It can be tough if your family butts heads with your besties! But hey, it happens, and there are a handful of ways you can get your mom and dad to love your friends as much as you do without asking too much of them. Read on for all the need-to-know info!
You don’t have to ditch your friends, but at least hear your parents out.
If your pals make you happy, then your dad’s nay-saying or your mom’s snide comments shouldn’t change that. But if they think you’re running with a dangerous crowd, you actually might be—at least according to their standards. For example, you’re more likely to drive high when you’re hanging with friends who experiment with drugs, so naturally they don’t want you to be put in a dangerous situation. You need to listen to whatever worries your parents, but explain that you’ve learned the difference between right and wrong directly from them and feel confident you know what to do in sticky situations. That way, whether their judgment is superficial or not, you’re reassuring them of your own level head.
And tell them what they need to know!
If your parents don’t approve of your friendship, make it personal. Start casually mentioning reasons why that friend is so good for you. They may not like it that your BFF gets bad grades, but if she’s the one who stands up for you when you’re picked on in class, she clearly has a positive effect on your life. If your best dude pal intimidates them because they don’t want you two dating (even if you’re totally platonic!), mention how you aced your Spanish quiz because he helped you review that tricky conjugation. By sharing how your friends directly impact your life for the better, your parents will have more to base their feelings off of.
Try to have your friends and parents connect on common ground.
Parents are judge-y! That’s their job. They really, truly only want the best for you, and the more overprotective they are, the more they’re gonna want your pals to be as bland as plain yogurt. No excitement = no risk! But if they do think your bestie is a wild child, try to have them see eye-to-eye on something, even if it isn’t your friendship. Maybe your BFF is big into your dad’s favorite baseball team, or your pal loves The Walking Dead as much as your mom does. Once they connect over a shared interest, a door’s been opened for changing their opinion entirely.
Or go for quality bonding time.
Real talk: You ultimately need your parents to like your friends, or you’re headed for endless conflict. Ask if you can invite the friend (or friends!) in question over for family dinner, and consider spending Saturday night hanging out in your basement instead of driving around town. Once your mom and dad see how well-behaved you guys are—and how wrong they were about their preconceived notions—they’ll know your friends are just as great as you say they are. Think of this as the “show, don’t tell” method—and trust us, it works.
It’s OK if someone’s wrong—even if you don’t talk about it.
It’s very possible that your parents will realize your friends are great—but don’t expect them to say it out loud. It’s not easy for anyone to admit they’re wrong, so while you may not get a verbal acknowledgement, take pride in knowing that you helped them reach that conclusion on their own. And it goes both ways! Sometimes your parents will be completely correct, and you’ll find out your friends didn’t have your best interests at heart after all. You should never feel like you’re so in over your head with your pals that you can’t call your mom or dad to come pick you up or lean on them when you’re in need. And breaking up with a bad friend? That’s not too terrible either.