Are You Ditching Your Friends For Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend? 6 Ways To Keep Your Friendships Strong
"Hos before bros," "Venus before penis," and "besties before testes." These are all delightfully colorful ways to describe how very important friends are and how no man — not even Jason Momoa with The Rock as his wingman — could ever come between you and your crew. That is until you find yourself in a new relationship, madly into your new love, and you might have to ask yourself... are you ditching your friends for your boyfriend or girlfriend?
No. No way. Not you. Plus, even if you were prioritizing your new relationship, your friends will understand and be there no matter what, right? Shasta Nelson, friendship expert and founder of Girlfriend Circles, explains, "There are three aspects that make up every relationship: positivity, consistency, and vulnerability. Consistent interaction is the backbone of every relationship." So while you make room for a new romance in your life, Nelson suggests that you take time to consciously figure out what your new routine with your friends looks like. She even suggests having a frank conversation with your friends about this and making it a team effort! Read on to find ways to help ensure you and your crew stay close, no matter what.
If Ladies' Night Is A Thing Of The Past
Whether it's ladies' night, or karaoke night, or any long-standing tradition you have with your friends, be sure to preserve it no matter what. Yes, it's great when your friends get to know and spend time with your partner, but ladies' night is not the right moment for that. Nelson warns, "You shouldn’t leave time with your friends to chance or only when your lover is 'busy.' We need to make sure to prioritize time together." These special traditions are a perfect opportunity to do this.
If You Don't Answer The Phone Anymore
When you're hanging out with your boyfriend or girlfriend, it can be tempting to let a call from a friend go to voicemail. You can check in with your friend later over text and that's fine, right? Sure, but over time if you become less and less available to your friend, the frequency of their calls will likely also become less and less. Nelson says, "One of the best habits we can practice with our friends when we start dating someone new is increasing communication." So, instead of letting the call go to voicemail, pick up the phone. Even if your conversation is shorter than it would be if, say, you were home alone doing laundry on a Saturday night like your friend is doing, it still means you're there for your buddy.
If You Miss Out On Things
While it's tempting to stay home with your partner, be cozy, and Postmates your favorite Thai order again, you have to motivate when it matters. Missing a friend's opening night of their art exhibit or skipping their birthday drinks are all indications that you are not being a good friend. Friendships are about showing up for each other, and how can you do that if you can't literally show up for an event? You have to fight the comfort of your new routine, rise to the occasion, and show up for your friends.
If You're Always Catching Up
We're all busy and it's impossible to stay completely up-to-date with every detail of our friends lives. But if you're the only one at the table who doesn't know the new person your friend is dating, or how their job interview went, or that they finally found a new apartment, it means you're out of the loop. They might be out of the loop on your life, too, so Nelson advises, "Since our intent is to keep prioritizing our friends, make sure you always ask several questions about their lives when you see them before updating them on your relationship." Make an effort to check in and follow up, especially regarding the things that matter to your friends.
If They Don't Understand Your Relationship
One of the dangers of losing touch with your friendships when you're in a relationship is that your friends won't be able to support you through romantic and domestic challenges. If you've spent the majority of your relationship cloistered with your loved one, when you do have a fight or a bump in the road, your friends will be kind of in the dark. And that will not be their fault. Opening up about your relationship, about the good and the bad, keeps your friends in the loop and close to you, while you develop your closeness with your partner.
If You Always Bring Your Partner Along
If you arrive to dinner with a few of your friends and they have to scramble for an extra chair, then they were not assuming you'd bring your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your partner is usually the only SO at dinners or hangs with your friends, then they might be sending you a message that they wanted some QT with just you. It never hurts to text, "Are bfs and gfs joining?" when planning something with your pals, because even if the answer is, "Sure!" they'll appreciate that you had the awareness to check in.
It's clear that building a relationship with your significant other, maintaining the closeness of your friendships, and combining the two is a balancing act. To do this, Nelson advises, "Figure out ways to both include your friends with your new romance so they all have a chance to get to know each other, but also make sure to prioritize time for each alone."
While I hope you and your partner stay together forever and die happily like the old couple in The Notebook (minus the dementia), your relationship might end and then trust me, you're going to need your friendships more than ever. Every relationship we have adds to the fullness of our lives, so remember — to have a friend, you have to be a friend.
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