Advice

Balancing your relationship with your friendships

By Charley Griffiths

With Valentine’s Day having just passed, it may feel like there has been some segregation between your friends who are in relationships and those who are single. For those coupled up, it may seem like there is a common misconception that being in a relationship makes you boring as you spend less time going out with your friends, and more time with your partner. The reality is that you love both your friends and your other half equally, so this concept doesn’t have to be true!

If you ever feel like you can’t win, because you are criticised for spending too much time with your partner than your friends or vice versa, there is no need to worry. There are easy ways to achieve a healthy balance. After all, both your friends and your boyfriend or girlfriend love you, and should respect if you want to spend some time with the other group. An easy way to do this is to integrate your partner into your social group. Take them to house parties, or include them in a hobby that you have in common to show your friends why your partner is a great person, and your partner why your friends are such fantastic people.

Obviously, there are more appropriate times to do this than others. Taking your partner to a coffee and catch up with your best friend who you haven’t seen for ages, or a girls/ boys night out may not be a good option. If you do wish to invite them along to something arranged by someone else, perhaps ask the friend first (especially if it is a gathering at their house). Thing like going for a casual pint with a group may be a better option, especially for the first meeting between your friends and your partner. Letting them ‘tag along’ to every social event may cause your friends to dislike your partner, which no one wants.

However, if you are in the position where you don’t see your partner very often, for example those who are in long distance relationships or have different and equally busy schedules, this may not always be an option. If you can only see them at weekends, that is fair enough, and your friends should understand that. Make more time to see your friends in the week, and save the weekend for just the two of you. This is where planning in advance can come in handy. If there is an event your really want to go to with just your friends, inform your partner in good time. After all, they can use this time to see their friends too. In the same way, tell your friends if you can’t make a certain event as your partner is staying for a few days. This saves you agreeing to go, then pulling out later, as this is inconvenient for everyone. That way, everyone knows where they stand, and this makes you feel as if no one is being left out. At the end of the day, both your friends and partner should understand if you want to spread your time equally between them.

If you have a few friends who are in relationships, double dates can also be a fun way to integrate your social and romantic life. Doing this kills two birds with one stone, as you spend some quality time with both parties at the same time, and everyone has the potential to make a new friend.

But if you are reading this as a person who feels like they are the only single person in the group, or your best friend has recently entered a new relationship and you feel isn’t spending enough time with you, there is something that needs to be kept in mind here. New relationships in the ‘honeymoon phase’ need just as much time as long term ones, and please understand that your friend needs to divide their time between two important people in their lives. If you are worried, just talk to them in a mature way. Similarly, if you are in a relationship where you feel like your partner demands all your time and you never see your friends, raise your concerns with them. What I want to stress here is that being in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to lose your independence, or sacrifice one person for another. Only you know what is best for you, so just make your intentions clear to your friends and partner to ensure both your social and romantic life run smoothly.

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