You know that I am normally all about romantic relationships: loves, likes, crushes and everything in between. But recently, all I’ve been hearing about is a type of relationship that is even more important (and heated) than your love lives. This week isn’t about romance: it’s about friend-mance.
Our friends are the unsung heroes of our lives. They have this sort of magical knowledge that lets them instantly tell if we’re upset, how upset we are and exactly what to do to make us feel better. And, unlike someone we’re dating, we don’t need to buy them anniversary gifts, pick out nice lingerie or agonize over meeting their parents. They’re just there.
But when we start dating someone, our friends sometimes stop being the most important people in our lives. It’s hard on both parties, but particularly on the friends who are left behind.
So when I found myself listening to angry breakup music while I was doing my homework, I began to wonder why it felt so therapeutic. For some reason I had relationship rage, and I wasn’t sure where to direct it. That was until one of my friends from home called me and screamed “I’m done with Meg! If I see one more picture of her and Dan or get her voicemail one more time when I call her, our friendship is over.”
It turns out that’s where my rage was coming from too. Meg, my best friend from the days of glasses and braces, had stopped returning all of her friends’ calls, texts, emails, etc. And as someone who had always been there for her, it was infuriating and painful to never hear back from her when I needed her.
So what can you do when you’ve lost a friend into the black hole of a significant other?
First, resist the urge to tell them how much you think they suck and you hate their new partner—these feelings happen, but it’s not the best way to approach this conversation. Instead, take a deep breath and remember that, for whatever reason, dating this new person makes your friend happy—and, even if you’re a bit jealous, you should at least be able to appreciate that.
Then, be nice, but honest. You are allowed to say, “I’m angry,” “I miss you” and “I wish we spent more time together.” And maybe this will be well-received, maybe it won’t. Open the door to talk freely about your issues, so your friendship doesn’t slowly drift so much that it becomes unsalvageable.
And if you’re the one in the relationship, be the first to call up your neglected friend, and go out for dinner and a movie. It’s the little things that will keep everyone happy and save you if your love life goes south.