What to do when he's not interested in your friends.

Q. I've met a bunch of great women through baby classes and playgroups. Because our kids are the same age and will go through school together, I'd like our families to get to know each other. But my husband is resistant. He won't go to dinner with them on weekends, or invite their families over for pizza. I like socializing with his buddies, but shouldn't my friends count too?

A. Your pals definitely deserve equal billing. But to get them even mentioned on the marquee, you need to figure out why your hubby's being difficult. Maybe he has a case of first-date jitters. Whereas we girls could yak with a tree if we had to -- easily opening up about kids, work, and family -- it's harder for guys. Sports talk can only go so far, and probably couldn't carry an evening. So what to do?

It would be tempting to stage a strike and say, "If you're not willing to hang with my friends, I'm saying 'see ya' to yours." But threats are risky business (you could end up home alone with the clicker while he's on the town). I'd be more subtle. Have a casual barbecue, inviting a few old friends plus some of the new people you'd like to know better. It helps to do some pre-party research on backgrounds -- alma maters, jobs, and hobbies -- anything to spark conversation when you introduce people. And look for weekend family activities in your area so you can plan with a friend to (what a coincidence!) arrive at the same time. It's a little sneaky, but worth it if everyone has a blast. If none of these scenarios seems plausible, time may solve your problem. All of your children's activities -- soccer games, birthday parties, preschool fundraisers -- will eventually force your hubby to meet and spend hours with new people. Casual conversation on the sidelines may lead to friendships.

Julie Mazer, a mother of three, lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, April 2004.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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