After weeks of helping you decode text messages from your crush-turned-partner, your friends deserve to know how much you appreciate them. While you're enjoying the perks of your new romantic relationship — like always having a date to brunch or a designated Netflix-and-chill partner — your friends probably feel a little left out. Figuring out how to make time for your friends, especially during cuffing season when all you want to do is cuddle with your new bae, is tough but it's not impossible.
After losing a few of my closest college friends when I got into a new relationship a few years ago, I've vowed never to make the same mistakes again. The romantic relationship didn't last — an outcome I'm sure my friends saw coming — and, when it ended, I realized that I missed my friends way more than I missed my former partner. Without much concern for their feelings or our years of friendship, I turned all my attention to a romantic relationship that needed more support than I could ever give and I lost my own support system — my friends — in the process.
Although it's normal to lose touch with your friends for a few weeks when things with your new partner are just taking off, it's never OK to abandon your friendships altogether. If your partner has a problem with you hanging out with your friends, this is likely a warning sign that your new relationship won't last, anyway. Here are three ways you can maintain your friendships when you're in a new relationship.
1. Schedule Weekly Friend-Dates And Don't Break Them
Dates aren't just for couples. Set aside time each month to meet up with your friends as a group or one-on-one so they know they're still an important part of your life. While it's helpful to plan these dates with your friends ahead of time so you can let your partner know, you should never make your friends feel like hanging out with them is an inconvenience.
Jen, 23, says she makes time to bond with her friends over activities that her partner might not necessarily enjoy.
For example, a trip to Sephora or debating the latest episode of The Bachelor are two things I really enjoy and my girlfriends do, as well. Sometimes, I'll use Facebook to find events in my area for us to do, too. I recently found out about two spin classes with brunch afterwards and I sent them to my best friend, knowing she and I would have so much more fun doing this than my partner and I would.
The idea is to recall what you enjoyed doing with your friends before you met your partner. Maybe you liked to meet up for a weekly shopping adventure, or maybe catching late-night movies after classes was more your thing. Whatever it is, make sure your new relationship doesn't get in the way of it.
2. Introduce Your Partner To Your Friends
Although there's no right time to introduce your new partner to your friends, it's a lot easier to share your time with your partner and your friends if you all hang out together. Aaron, 29, recommends a casual group outing to stay in touch with all the important people in your life.
It's unrealistic to think that you’re still going to be able to hang out with all of your friends all the time, especially if you're in the phase of the relationship where you're humping like rabbits. A good compromise would be group dinners or drinks with your friends and partner — something that’s not too formal, like a cool bar with an atrium where people can move around and dance and socialize. This way, you get to interact with all of your friends at once and your partner is free to walk around and get to know everyone.
Remember to divide your attention appropriately between your friends and your partner when you get together. If you've been spending more time with your partner lately, make an effort to talk to your friends about their own life updates instead of clinging to your partner all night.
3. Netflix And Chill With Your Friends
The best part about being in a new relationship — especially during cuffing season — is staying in, cuddling, and watching Netflix but you could do this with friends too! This Redditor recommends having a cozy night in with your closest friends to unwind and catch up.
Have movie nights with your friends! Relax at home with them, sip some wine, and just relax :)
To be honest, your friends are less likely than your partner to complain about watching Mean Girls for the third time this month or binging the latest season of Grey's Anatomy with you. Getting tangled under the covers with your new partner is great but when was the last time you built a pillow fort with your best friends? Now's your chance.
New relationships are fun but your friendships have stood the test of time. There's no reason why you can't be a good partner and a good friend.
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