“A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity.” ~Mandy Hale
I must admit I am pretty good at this but I know others who are not. Do you let your friendships slide when you meet that special someone? You spend so much time with him or her that you push your friends to the sidelines with the hope that they will understand. Over the years, I have learned that friends and family are very important to my life’s journey. You cannot put all your time and energy into one person and expect to have a full life.
I have been on both sides of this balancing act and through each experience from either perspective I have learned a few things: one, the friendship was there before the relationship started and in most cases will be there after the relationship; two, it is not fine to ditch the friend when the relationship is working and then want time with your friend when the relationship hits a bad spot; three, it is never okay to bail on plans you had with the friend for the mate with no valid reason or to call the friend at the last minute when the mate is out of town or has ditched you for the night; and four, contrary to what some may think, spending quality time with friends may actually improve the relationship because it gives you balance and sanity, both of which are critical for any relationship.
If you’re thinking that this all sounds great but actually achieving this balance is much easier said than done, no worries! I have a few ideas to make both your romantic and friendly relationships flourish and make everyone feel loved and appreciated.
- Create a friend night out (weekly/biweekly)- this is the time to catch up on life issues, trash talk, and updates on each other’s on personal and professional things. Plus, I am sure the significant other would like to do the same with his or her friends. Now, if your mate doesn’t have any friends, that’s another issue…
- Vacation time with friends– this is definitely important when your best friend(s) live in different cities. There is nothing wrong with a little friend retreat once or twice a year. I really think this is a MUST!
- Double date/small gatherings– this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. It also gives the significant other and the friend time to get to know each other. Be cautious that all your time with the friend doesn’t turn into double date time; the two of you still need one-on-one time.
- Set ground rules– it is necessary to discuss annual friendship retreats, etc with your significant other. Of course there are certain days that you and your significant other need to spend together, so make sure those dates are agreed upon early on. Having this discussion early in the relationship can help tremendously.
- Date night– a date night with your significant other is awesome. It is that one night that is “off the table” for cancellation unless it is agreed upon by both individuals. Mix it up a little; take turns planning date night to keep it fresh and interesting.
- Keep commitments– this is very important because too often, we cancel things with folks who are closest to us and always expect them to understand. The excuses of, “I have a significant other” and “You should understand” are just not valid. How would you feel if the “tables were turned” and someone kept canceling on you?
- Connect with your friends in new ways- find something you and the friend enjoy together, and make time to do those things together. Like, if you and the friend like exercising, do it together. Use text time/face time creatively. For example, if you live in different cities do face time with tea or wine like you were sitting across the table from each other.
Having successful relationships, no matter what kind, is a joint effort and all individuals must play an active role. You must respect the time together; no texting during quality time and that must be mutual. I have amazing friends (as I know you do) and don’t want to lose them over short-sightedness or negligence. Take the time to continually build your friendships and create more happy moments that develop into great memories. Having the best of both worlds is possible!
What are your thoughts?