Sami Jankins believes friends should never be ditched for a significant other.
I recently entered my first relationship in a while. Since I was single for so long, I created a schedule that included a lot of time with friends. Now that I’m making time for her, I see less of my friends. I feel like I’m letting my friends down. If I don’t make time for her, I feel like I’m not being a good boyfriend. How can I balance between the two so that I’m not left feeling guilty?
My Friends or Her
Dear My Friends or Her,
Don’t ditch your friends! In fact, if you’re reading this now, send your friend a text. See what he’s been up to today. See if he saw that sports game that was so close right up until the end. Find out if that terrible co-worker of her’s finally cleaned out his desk from whatever rancid leftovers they had been refusing to remove for whatever reason. Just say “hey”. Now forward a funny meme on to your girlfriend. See how easy that was? I’m not all “official” in the advice giving department, but I do have some unofficial advice to give that might help.
If you can hang in there for a moment, I’m going to get all statistical up in here. There was a research piece that came out stating that 2.5 million men in the UK had no close friends. That’s startling. What’s worse, is they found that friendships began to dwindle as people aged into their thirties and into mid-life. Why is this so bad? Friends are good for us for a variety of reasons including the reduction of our stress levels and making us both healthier and happier.
There should never be an either or when it comes to keeping friendships or having a relationship. Really, it’s all about balance. Things in life change, and while you may have established a habit of hanging out with friends three times a week, your friends will likely understand if that’s no longer something feasible to your schedule. What if it wasn’t a girlfriend but instead a new hobby you took up? Good friends would understand this new division of your time. Life changes.
At the same time, a worthwhile significant other would encourage you to spend time with friends. I’d like to think that I’m a fairly awesome girlfriend, but I’d much rather someone else go to Taco Bell and play video games with my boyfriend. It makes him happy, it makes me happy. A significant other should not be expected to be the other person’s everything. Nor should you be expected to be their everything. That’s far too much stress. Hopefully, they are also making time for friend time. If not, encourage they do so as well. It’s important to the health of a relationship that you both have outside outlets.
What’s important is being respectful of both your significant other and your friends. There shouldn’t be a competition for your time. Make sure you are being respectful of plans. Don’t cancel on your girlfriend last minute because a poker game came up. Don’t cancel on your friends last minute because your girlfriend decided you two were going to a movie. Flakiness is not cool. If your significant other does not want you to spend time with your friends (who are good people) or vice versa, this is a cause for concern. No one who actually cares about you would isolate you from another important part of your life. What I also recommend is having your friends get to know your significant other because then you can have fun friend gatherings with all people involved.
Your friends and your significant other should want you to be happy and should understand you making time to balance both. People who care about you care about your happiness. Remember to also make time for yourself as that can be equally important. There definitely are enough days in the week.
Here’s for better dating days ahead,
Send your pressing questions for Sami to answer for Dating in the Digital Age to [email protected].