Leave Your Friends Out Of Your Relationships

by Caitlin Rondino

Not everyone has a large group of friends, some only have very few whom they are close with or maybe just one. In reality, that’s all you need. The larger your “close” social circle is, the more nonsense you’re signing up to deal with. This doesn’t mean you can’t have many good friends in different social circles that have nothing to do with each other. But typically in large groups, gossip and picking favorites can occur.

These friendships could’ve started in the sandbox as children or maybe they’re brand new friends you met in college or at your job. How long you’ve known someone has no bearing on how great of a friend they can be. It all depends on the connections made and how they fare with one another.

They know everything about each other and they have fun together. Sometimes there are fights, but hopefully more often there is laughter. They’ll deal with your drama and they’ll have your back even if they think you’re an idiot for getting involved in it in the first place.

It’s somebody who will ride through bullsh*t with you no matter what and be real with you on that ride. See, sometimes friendships can be very intimate; maybe even more intimate than your last relationship. I’m not inferring that every pair of best friends, or trio (or whatever your dynamic is) has sex with one another. Letting your friends know exactly who you are is quite an intimate experience. You’re choosing to open up and put yourself out there for the sake of getting to know someone.

You don’t have to admit it, but we’re all a little guilty of not being our complete selves in a relationship. Whether it’s because we feel that person wouldn’t like who we are or we’ve already exposed who we really are and received negative feedback. People tend to censor themselves or choose not to disclose certain information regarding their character, history or interests.

Your friend had no choice but to like you for you because your relationship wasn’t started by attempting to create an intimate relationship. The pressure wasn’t there; you either hit it off or you didn’t. Wouldn’t that be nice in the dating world? Just shoot the sh*t and see where it goes.

Your friend can play a part in all aspects of your life, especially those longtime friends. I spent my entire childhood with my best friend, as well as her family, as she did mine. Although life has taken us in different directions because we attended different colleges, pursued different interests and no longer live on the same street, she’s still my best friend. I have very few memories that don’t include that b*tch, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when you start dating someone, it is very important to remember that your friends have absolutely no place in that relationship. Most likely, your boyfriend/girlfriend didn’t sign up to date your friend; they were under the impression that you were an individual and would be dealing with your feelings and your feelings alone.

A friendship and a relationship are two separate entities and they should be handled that way. You don’t want to blur these lines. It’s a tricky situation to get out of and pick up where you left off. There’s nothing wrong with talking your feelings out with your closest friends but that’s where it should end.

Your friend shouldn’t be dictating to you how you should be acting in your relationship or making any decisions for you. People shouldn’t be looking for their friends to do that for either. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be trying to dictate anyone’s relationship either.

We all have to learn for ourselves, even if our best friend thinks they know what’s best for us. Chances are we aren’t going to listen anyway. Your friend isn’t in your shoes and just because you’re close, it doesn’t mean you are alike or can handle things the same way.

Sure, they’re coming from a good place with the right intentions, but we’re determined to learn for ourselves whether we see the storm coming or not. I think the only time where a friend would come from a bad place is if they’re jealous. It may not even be a bad place, but most certainly a selfish place.

It’s possible that since you’ve been dating someone, you’re not giving enough attention to the friendship. That would be a hard adjustment for anyone, but it’s a part of life and the experience is something to learn from.

If a relationship is going really well, you might not see your friend for a while. If you’re the one in the relationship, you may not be attempting to see your friends all the time. It just happens that way. You’re focused on making a relationship work and you’re giving that relationship the time and energy it needs.

Once they move past that initial few months or weeks of casually dating and texting each other incessantly, they start to attribute more time in their schedule for that person. If that relationship continues to go well, more time transitions into a lot more time until it becomes a lifestyle.

Then, they’ll break out of that stage and care to involve themselves in each other’s lives; for example, meeting your best friends. Hopefully everyone will hit it off together and not have a negative word to say, embracing the relationship with open arms.

The opposite end of the spectrum is that friends and significant others can clash. This might cause some turmoil, but it’s no excuse for friends to stick their noses too far into the affairs of others. You accept people for exactly what they are, friends most importantly. It’s why you’re friends in the first place.

Not all relationships are good experiences or good in general. Some relationships may be a bad idea for that person from the beginning, but you cannot try and sway anyone out of the situation. Again, they must learn for themselves. We gain a wider perspective. We have to experience the bad to cherish and appreciate the wonderful later on.

By pushing your opinions and influences, you’re only placing stress on your friendship. The next thing you know, you aren’t friends anymore over a relationship that may very well not have lasted too much longer. This would be a tragic ending to a friendship over something meaningless.

There are always exceptions. If you’re in an abusive relationship, or your friend is, maybe a little more input is inevitable. But that isn’t to rain on your parade. That’s to stop a friend you love dearly from spiraling downwards into a less than desirable way of life.

If your significant other is a straight up assh*le to your best friends, then you need to come up with a compromise or keep it moving. That says something on your significant other's character. If your relationship is so serious and you care that deeply for your boyfriend/girlfriend, they won’t associate you with the antics of your friends that they don’t care for.

They’ll love you for you and respect your choice in friends. Your choice in friends shouldn’t be decided by anyone but you. We can all be blinded by love, lust or maybe just a fabulous sexual relationship. But you can only close your eyes to the reality of things for so long.

The best thing that a friend can do is be supportive. Listen, be attentive and offer advice when it is asked of you. If you are the type of person to give ultimatums, don’t expect your friend to always choose your side. It isn’t because they favor their boyfriend or girlfriend more; it could solely be the fact that you gave them an ultimatum. If you were a so-called best friend, you would never make your friend choose.

So even if your relationship is a train wreck from the beginning, but you’re too blinded to see it, a best friend will remind you often that you could be enjoying your life much more without that boyfriend/girlfriend. They will remind you how ridiculous you’re acting and you deserve more, but they won’t desert you. They’ll be there at the end to say “I told you so” and continue being your best friend.

These friends are few and far between, but they’re worth the acceptance, tolerance and effort. Those friends will show you the same decency. That’s a relationship worth keeping.