10 Tips For People In New Relationships Who Don't Want To Turn Into A Bad Friend
So you're in a new relationship. Either that or you're just curious about this post. Whichever applies to you, first of all, congrats. Assuming it's the former, that's pretty amazing when you think about it: The fact that two people ever find each other physically, spiritually, and intellectually compatible at the same time is a damn miracle. But however stoked you may be about this new relationship, you can't forget your buddies that were there first. There are tried and true ways to stay a good friend when you're in a new relationship.
Honestly, it's astoundingly easy to pack metaphorical (or real) bags and temporarily move to Relationship Island. It's a place of sex-filled mornings (sometimes afternoons, too, you animals) and copious takeout enjoyed in bed. Once an official citizen of Relationship Island, concerns tend to include lavishing attention on boo and not much else. Relationship Island gets patchy service when making calls outside to friends. But moving to Relationship Island is ill-advised and totally avoidable. You can get stoked and invested in a new relationship without simultaneously becoming a crappy friend. Keep in mind, even though life is a bit gooey and cluttered with plasticware, your friends keep living outside your love bubble.
It isn't kind or right or smart to let those friendships take an elongated backseat for any circumstance. The new love bubble won't last forever, so you wanna make sure your life outside of it continues in a smooth, healthy way. Here's some tips on keeping friendships intact while in a new relationship:
Don't bring your boo everywhere
ESPECIALLY if you're surprising your friends with their presence. The actual worst thing is to be so stoked to finally see your heretofore Relationship Island-bound friend and when they arrive, their S.O. is with them. Having the extra person present (one your friends probably don't have a separate relationship with) can stilt conversation. What if your friend really needed to talk with you but now they can't because maybe they don't actually want or need your S.O. to know all their business? That kind of repeat offense is going to decay trust in the relationship. Instead, try to roll up solo to friend hangs more often than not.
Explain to your partner how you'd like to split time
Conversely, you don't want to make your boo think you don't want them around. Clearly you do (which is why y'all are together, duh), but you still need to pay careful, concentrated attention to friendships you've had since before you even met this person. This way they're more likely to understand why you plan your time the way you do—sometimes without them—and maybe even like you more because of your attention to detail and thoughtfulness.
Ask friends if it's cool if you bring your person
This isn't vital in all situations, but it sure is considerate when it isn't some enormous group outing to a rowdy bar. Make sure it's cool to bring partners before surprising everyone with what might be a potentially brand-new and not great vibe.
...but still, introduce them
It's super important to blend all the important people in your life when you can, of course. So that's something to keep in mind while paying special attention to making friend-only engagements. It's a balance and you can nail it with proper thought and care.
Keep one entire evening a week for friends only
I'm not suggesting you make Taco Thursday With ~THA GIRLZZ~ an iron-clad thing (unless that's your thing, I don't know your life). But you should make an honest effort to reserve at least one night a week to dedicate to friends. Not only will it help strengthen your own friendships, it gives bae an opportune time to do the same with theirs AND gives you space in your new relationship (an important thing easily pushed out by the overwhelming urge to bone all the time or whatever).
Ask them for specific life updates
With the all-the-time stresses of life paired with the clouding effects of new relationships, you might forget to follow-up on a friend's promising job lead. Or another pal's own new relationship. If you have a bad memory (hi, also guilty), set reminders in your phone throughout the week with details like the name of the company where one friend applied or that other friend's new boo's name. It seems slightly forced, but I promise these reminders and recordings can help reinforce that material so soon you won't even need them anymore.
Organize a trip with pals
Though, here's the most important part: Do not make it a couples-only thing. In an autobiographical example, I had no idea a large group of friends regularly embarked on beach and mountain blow-out adventures. I didn't know until—yep—I, too, entered a semi-serious relationship and was suddenly invited, but only after I started calling that dude my boyfriend. Because it was couples-only. That's totally garbage. Make a real effort to blend your and your partner's friend groups—both single and tethered—to a little getaway. It could even be a day thing, just be inclusive.
Prioritize friend holidays
Not just birthdays—that should be a given. (Please don't tell me that's news to you.) If a friend gets a promotion or it's time to embark on your annual Korean spa Treat Yo Self day, pay this holy occasion the due respects. Unless your partner has a crucial emergency ("lost arm," etc.), you need to put this No. 1 on your to-do list.
Keep the texts and goofy GIF exchanges up
Don't neglect your frexting duties, bb. It seems silly but it's really important to keep up casual, digital touch with buddies especially when your brain's default is to stick with your new partner. Little, consistent things show the most care, after all.
Ask for friend feedback
This might seem a touch weird, but trust me here. Take time to explain to close friends that you're trying your best to balance between your friends and your relationship. Authentically ask them to help keep you in check. Chances are, they will, and that way you'll have open communication to maintain that balance in a super honest way. It's highly likely they know the blinding bliss of new relationships and will therefore be understanding—and also useful with their own feedback re: your attention and time allocation.
Images: NBC; Giphy (11)