“Don’t kiss loud,” one of my friends desperately requested when leaving another of our friends alone with her new boyfriend. As happy as we were for her, neither of us wanted to hear smacking or slurping coming from the next room.
New relationships are exciting for those who are in them, but they can be a source of struggle for friends and family. Change can be difficult, even when it is a good change; and, when our friends begin dating someone new, it is not unusual to feel lonely, left out, or forgotten.
Every day, all around the world, well-meaning, under-informed couples cause their friends to feel brushed aside, unwanted, or simply nauseated by engaging in one (or several) of the following actions. If you are looking to extract eye rolls and barfing sounds from your social circle, here are twenty ways to achieve your objective!
- Spend all your time with your new love. In college, I spent so much time with my boyfriend that my dormmate/good friend posted a “Have you seen this girl?” picture on my bedroom door. (I think she might have been trying to tell me something.)
- Make sure all you talk about is your new love. Do you want people avoiding you like the plague? Talk incessantly about your boyfriend or girlfriend, and before you know it, you will be living life in complete solitude.
- Post every kind word your new love says to you and your reaction to it on social media. And, whatever you do, add pictures!
- Insist on bringing your new love to every social engagement. What girls’ night is complete without one chick’s boyfriend showing up? And, of course, Monday night football is best when it includes seven dudes, ten pizzas, and Sherrie sitting on Dustin’s lap. Nothing enhances shoe shopping like an extremely bored man to hold all the purses.
- Act as though you are superglued to your new love… as if you let go, you will die.
- Seriously, do not stop stroking your new love’s hair, cuddling with your new love, or finding unique ways to hold hands with your new love. If your friends look at you and ask, “Doesn’t that hurt?” you are obviously holding hands correctly.
- Whisper and giggle with your new love while your friends sit in awkward silence. Bonus points if you have your own code language.
- Find a way to bring every conversation back to your new love. When you are head over heels for someone, traffic lights, dented beer cans, puppies, and furniture polish all remind you of your sweetheart. He or she stays on your mind night and day… and because of this, everything – and I mean everything – can lead back to your honey. And why shouldn’t it?
- Hijack shopping trips to find the perfect gift for your new love. Since you two communicate almost entirely in emojis, he surely needs one of those popular, emoji pillows to caress and snuggle at night. You saw emoji pillows somewhere in the mall here last week… there are only 73 stores in here, so it should only take you and your friends, oh, about 3 to 4 hours to find that pillow.
- Keep your phone in front of you at all times and answer your new love’s texts No matter what deep emotions your friend is sharing with you at the time, it can’t be as important as what your new love has to say.
- Walk at least ten steps behind your friends when your new love is with you. It is impolite to whisper, so make sure you are far enough behind your friends that you do not have to. By standing fifteen to twenty feet away, you can enjoy baby talk at full volume without causing any of your friends to feel awkward. Score!
- Feed your new love. Spoon feeding your special someone is one of the sweetest ways to nourish your relationship and one of the fastest ways to gag your friends.
- Take frequent hug breaks with your new love. Twelve years ago, when Eric and I were walking through our (almost) new home with my mom and our realtor, we felt the need to grace each space with a squeeze. Our realtor looked at Mom and said, “They have to hug in every room.” My mom, who was probably equally exhausted with our PDA, responded, “Well, at least they are not fighting.” Way to look at the bright side, Mom!
- Relive every moment you share with your new love in excruciating detail. Your friends lead passionless, pathetic lives, void of any excitement, meaning, or (most importantly) romance. As their friend, it is incumbent upon you to feed their emptiness with breathtaking tales of your amorous adventures.
- Call your friends and cry dramatically every time you and your new love have a tiff. He can say he did not find the cashier at GameStop attractive, but I know what it looks like when he is flirting!
- Forget your friends (and all other human life forms) exist and passionately kiss your new love – repeatedly. For example, in a restaurant, kiss erotically and then take a picture of yourselves. Then, kiss sensually and take another picture of yourselves. Repeat ad nauseum. Make the waiter wait minutes for you to stop so he can take your order. (Yes, I watched this happen.)
- Turn to your friends every ten minutes or so, and ask, “Isn’t my new love the greatest?!” or “How did I get so lucky?” No, your wonderlove is not the greatest. You are, indeed, the only one who thinks your bae is the greatest (with the possible exception of his mom and dog).
- Insist on your new love joining you and your friends on every road trip. You know what is sure to add loads of fun to your road trip? Your significant other… sweaty and bored… crammed into the back of the van.
- Forget that while you are enjoying a season of infatuation euphoria, your friends are dealing with loneliness, insecurities, and real life. You are in love. They understand. They can find support elsewhere. Everyone knows friendships take short breaks during seasons of rapture and enchantment. Take comfort in knowing that as soon as you are ready to pick your friendships back up, they will be eagerly awaiting your return.
Turning the Sarcasm Off
One of my biggest college regrets is wasting time on a meaningless relationship which robbed me of time with my friends. This man e-mailed me first thing in the morning. He was with me from the time we got out of class until curfew. He called me as soon as I got back to my dorm at night. I was MIA for three months; and, though I felt trapped at the time, I could have put on my big girl panties and told him, “No. Tonight, I am spending time with my friends.” They needed me and I needed them. And, I allowed something shallow and temporary to drive a wedge between us. Were they struggling in their classes? I do not know. Were they sad over a relationship which did not work out? If so, I was not there to hear about it. Even if he had been the man I was going to marry, I should have still made time for my friends.
The best couples are the ones who can love each other and still welcome people into their world. No one wants to be the third wheel and your relationship can push your friends away or draw them closer. Regretfully, in my youth, I typically underprioritized my friends when I was dating someone. In retrospect, I wish I had used those seasons to strengthen my friendships rather than take them for granted. My friends are loyal and, amazingly, they did not leave me; but, how much cooler would it have been to broaden my friend circle rather than compartmentalizing my relationships?
While your romantic relationship is serving as a place of comfort and excitement for you, it can also be a place of acceptance and enjoyment for your friends and family. If your relationship is not welcoming to others, take a step back and figure out why. Can it become welcoming with some minor adjustments (e.g., making more time for others, choosing to be less affectionate in public, creating group activities, etc.)? Or, is it unwelcoming by nature, (i.e., you and your sweetheart have different philosophies on friendships, e.g., one of you wants to welcome others in, and the other does not, etc.)?
If you cannot enjoy your boyfriend or girlfriend while also enjoying your friends, that is a problem. Sure, you will need some alone time; but, if you cannot have a meal or take in a ballgame with your new love and your friends, it is important to figure out why. Friends are not meant to float away after the wedding. In fact, my friendships have become dearer to me now that I am a wife. If the person you are dating is not interested in knowing your friends, pushes people away, or is possessive of your time, seriously consider if you want to live this way for a lifetime.
Is your relationship a welcoming haven for friends or a locked door?