Eric has some terrific friends – some solid, God-fearing, edifying friends. They are top-notch husbands and fathers and I am so glad they are not afraid to be honest with Eric (and vice versa, of course ~smile~).
Eric was the first in his group of friends to get married; so, in the beginning, we were the “old married couple” and our single friends would come over for birthday parties and game nights. But a few short years later, they all got married and had children. So, our time together is not the same. We have to be intentional to make sure we all see each other. One of his friends lives on the other side of the country – so we have to be especially intentional if we are going to see him and his family. ~smile~
How Much Connection is Appropriate?
Even if you are used to being the center of attention, you should refrain from trying to be the center of your sweetie’s friends’ attention. You are the “great guy” or the “amazing girl” their friend has been dating, but you are not the star of the show. They are your sweetie’s friends, so ease into knowing them and don’t draw the focus to yourself. And whatever you do, don’t flirt with your sweetie’s friends! ~smile~ Yeah, that may sound like a no-brainer, but I wouldn’t mention it if it didn’t happen!
When you get married, there will be a level of connection you have with your spouse that you won’t have with anyone else on earth. At least that is the plan! As you are preparing for marriage, you should be preparing to have one close, non-relative, opposite sex connection for the rest of your life. So, too much connection with “his buds” or “her girls” is not appropriate. It is fine to get to know them, talk about current events, even listen to stories they tell; but, when good talks turn into emotional talks (e.g., my wife has been disrespecting me, I am depressed and just need someone to talk too, I am unhappy in my relationship, etc.), that is where you need to draw the line.
One great rule of thumb is to reverse the situation. Ask yourself, “If my sweetie was connecting with my friends the way I am connecting with this person now, would I be uncomfortable?” If the answer is yes, wrap the conversation up, or invite others to join in the discussion so it doesn’t create emotional intimacy between you two.
How Much does Your Sweetie Want You to Connect with His or Her Friends?
Most people have friends in different categories. When I worked outside the home, I made work friends. Now many of my friends are church friends. My childhood friends are scattered around and I have family friends (i.e., friends of my family of origin). How much I want Eric to involve himself with my friends has a lot to do with the type of friendship it is. For example, my work friends are great (these are friends from when I used to work outside the home). We have a good time when we get together, but we only see each other every three to six months now that I work from home. We like to keep in touch, but we are not at the top of each other’s “in case of emergency” list. If Eric sees these friends in public, I would expect him to be cordial with them, but that is about it.
On the other hand, some of my friends are like sisters; and, growing up as an only child, I am so thankful that I had sister-friends in my life. Where these ladies are involved, I am more interested in Eric making an effort to talk to them and enjoy their company. Because these friends are like family, I want him to treat them as he would treat my family.
As you and your sweetie grow closer, talk about each other’s friends. Discuss how much contact you want your sweetie to have with certain friends (and vice versa). Some people expect their future spouse to take their friends into the fold and spend a lot of time with them; whereas, other people don’t care if their significant other has much of anything to do with their friends.
Is It Important to Connect with Your Sweetie’s Friends?
As strange as this may sound, I don’t think connecting with your sweetie’s friends is that important. You want to be kind to your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s friends and you want to be able to have fun with them; but, at the end of the day, connecting with them is not nearly as important as connecting with your sweetie, your friends, and your family.
If Eric spent an entire day with my best friend and then came home and told me how much they bonded, I would probably have mixed feelings. Not that I don’t trust him and her (rule of thumb, if I can’t trust you with my husband, you’re not my friend ~smile~), but I would wonder why he needed to emotionally connect with another female. At the risk of sounding possessive, Eric’s mine! ~smile~ And, for wisdom’s sake, I don’t think he should be bonding with other women who are not related to him.
I think the world of Eric’s friends. I rejoice when they rejoice and hurt when they are going through tough times; but, I do not make an effort to emotionally connect with them and they don’t seek out a deeper relationship with me.
If they are quality individuals, I would try to keep my “pre-relationship” friendships intact. Just because your stage of life changes does not mean you should walk away from solid friendships. At the same time, you and your sweetie will do well to develop couple friends. Double dating is a blast and couple friends can sharpen you in your relationship since they are in the same boat – and you can sharpen them in return (Proverbs 27:17).
As always, wisdom is important when it comes to couple friends. Enjoy hanging out together as a group, but don’t spend time alone with opposite sex friends. Even if you have more in common with your buddy’s wife than you do your buddy, don’t even crack open the door for temptation.
Friends make life fuller and if you have been blessed with even one or two good friends, you are a rich person indeed! Cherish your friends, make new friends, and discuss how you and your sweetie can incorporate your friendships into your budding relationship. ~smile~
Are you satisfied with how connected your boyfriend or girlfriend is to your friends?