Finding the Friend/Relationship Balance

We’ve all seen it before: your friend meets someone new, they start dating, and before you know it your friend seems to fall off the face of the Earth. It’s also possible that you have been “that friend” at some point. A lot of us have! New relationships are exciting- they’re supposed to be fun. An important part of a healthy relationship is enjoying spending time with your partner. Some people even consider their partner their best friend- which is great, as long as their partner isn’t their only friend.

Finding time for your friends and the person your dating is equally important, but finding the balance can be really tricky. Healthy relationships exist when there are boundaries and each person spends time away from their partner.

Yes, spending time away from your boyfriend or girlfriend is a good thing! You are more than just your relationship. In fact, spending time with your friends, away from your partner, will likely strengthen you relationship. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Here’s are some tips to managing the balancing act:

1. Set ground rules.  Talk to your partner about the importance of spending time with friends. Set ground rules about how much time you spend together so you each are able to make time for the other important people in your lives.

2. Schedule time. Schedule time to spend with your friends. One way to do this is to dedicate a few times per week to hanging out with them. For example, you may have a set day where you go out and do something with your friends, away from your partner. This way it will never come to the point when you realize you haven't seen your best friend in a month.

3. Respect plans. If you have plans with your friends but your boyfriend/girlfriend texts and wants to hangout, it can sometimes be hard to say "no" to them. However, plans need to be respected and it's never cool to ditch your friends to hangout with your partner. The opposite is also true: if you already have plans with your partner, consider their feelings before changing plans to hangout with other people. Of course there are exceptions to these rules. For example, say you forgot that its your BFF's birthday, but you already made friends with your partner- the birthday should take priority. Your partner should be understanding of this. Sometimes plans can be rescheduled, while special occasions cannot be.

4. Spend time with with your partner and your friends together. While it's extremely important to spend time with your friends away from your partner, sometimes it is fun to spend time with them together. For example, if you and your partner are going out for a surf sesh- invite your friend who is trying to learn! Spending quality time with your friends and your partner together can be a win-win for everyone- just make sure you still find the "alone" time with your friends to keep the balance!

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