Love Actually: Balancing friends and lovers
Brandt Ranj, Staff Writer
November 10, 2011
Filed under Opinion
How awesome is it to have great friends when you’re single? Those who haven’t paired up understand what I’m talking about. They’re fun to chill out with, there’s no pressure and they’re always there to lend a helping hand or console you when you’re down. Then you find someone you like, come to your friends for advice, and after a few weeks of flirtatious behavior, you’ve found yourself in a relationship. Great! Now what?
The problem with friends and a significant other is that there’s enough overlap that some conversations become redundant, leaving you to choose whom to tell. This is especially true if the person you’re dating wasn’t a part of your original friend group.
If you confide in your friends it becomes a point of contention during arguments. You’re giving your significant other the famed “we never talk anymore” card. They’ve got a valid point though — not communicating typically means that there is a lack of trust and that’s never good.
Meanwhile, if you don’t go to your friends with problems, it could be seen as a slight and lead to tension or resentment between your friends and partner. Speaking of tension between those two parties, balancing the time spent between them requires a lot of skill that only comes with time.
Because the relationships you have with your friends and your significant other are vastly different, you’ve likely bent your schedule to accommodate both of them to some extent.
Your friends each have their own class schedules, but say that before the semester started you all cleared out the same 50-minute block to eat lunch together three times a week. Everything is going well until you find out that your special someone and their friends eat at a different time and would like you to dine with them. You’ve got to make a choice, or if all parties are mature enough, a compromise. If they eat at the same time, integration of groups is possible, but might cause friction.
Of all the battlegrounds over which this war of time is fought, none is quite as fierce as the weekend. Friday night movie rituals may fall by the wayside if one’s lover expresses their desire to show off their collection of Marvin Gaye tunes. Conversely, trying to convince someone to stay in on the weekend (because your friends are single and might not like to party) puts you into fairly a uncomfortable situation.
I’m a believer in a month-long dating process before beginning a relationship to work out some of these kinks. Be upfront with the new person in your life as you might already have some rituals that you’ve come to really enjoy.
Try to integrate your partner into these activities. It will show your friends that this person really means something to you but that they’re not worth breaking tradition over. Also, be sure to tell your friends that you may miss certain events because you’ve got to show respect for your partner’s friends and activities as well.
The bottom line is to never abandon your friends for the next hot thing that walks by. To the folks who are on the friend side of the equation, give your friend’s new partner a chance. Don’t be too mad if things change slightly, but don’t be afraid to call your friend out if they’re acting differently or blowing you off.