DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend and my best friend don't get along. They argue about anything we talk about. She says he doesn't respect our home, and she believes he says rude and obnoxious things. He's what I call a clown and just likes to make jokes and have fun. It's why we are friends. My girlfriend doesn't have our sense of humor, and she thinks he's a bad influence on me because I become a clown like him when he’s around.
She told me she doesn't want him at our house anymore, and she thinks I should stop hanging out with him. I understand why she feels that way, and he does sometimes get us in bad situations, but I can't drop a friend just because he's a bit immature. Can I? I can't change him; he is who he is. I've outgrown him, and I'm ready to settle down, but I don't know how to begin to end a lifelong friendship. -- Clown Buddies
DEAR CLOWN BUDDIES: You are in a classic situation that many couples face as they settle in to build a life together and, in turn, find the need to reposition some of their friendships. It is natural even as it is clearly awkward.
Rather than kicking this friend out of your life entirely, a compromise might be to reduce the frequency of engagements. Tell him that you and your girlfriend have turned a corner and are getting more serious, and you want to devote more time to her. Be less available. Visit with him away from home on occasion. Agree with your girlfriend on what times he can come over. Let her know you don’t want to ice him out of your life, but you are willing to see him less.