Who should come first- your friends or your partner? Is it OK to drop your friends for a guy? A question as old as the chicken or the egg dilemma, and one everyone will have a different answer to- that is likely to change with time.
When I was younger, I was very much in the “hoes before bros” camp. The combination of being very tall and very shy meant I was completely dateless throughout my teenage years; while others waltzed in and out of relationships, I was always the single friend. A couple of times, my friends would get into a more serious relationship, and I felt a shift. We’d spend less time together. They’d bring their boyfriend along to events. I got “divorced” on Facebook so my friend could put herself as “in a relationship” with her boyfriend. I got, I suppose, downgraded in their list of priorities, which hurt because they still held the same place in mine. And I mean relationships come and go, but friends are there for life, so they should come first, right?
I once got close to a girl called Rachel. She had a boyfriend when we first met, but they split up over the summer, so by autumn we were living the single life together. We’d see each other all the time, be constantly texting or calling, and had our fair share of nights out together. When I got together with my ex-boyfriend, I decided I wasn’t going to be that bitch who ditched her mate for a bloke. I made a concerted effort to make sure that Rachel came first. Pre-drinks were always with friends. I made sure we spent the same amount of time together, and I didn’t cancel plans to see my man. Soon after he ditched me, Rachel bagged herself a new boyfriend, and all of a sudden I stopped hearing from her. I’d always have to be the one to text, my invites out were met with excuses, and even when she had loads of free time meeting her became like arranging a business meeting- until I moved back home and stopped hearing from her completely, which is a shame because she was a really great person and a great friend. So friendships must always come first, I resolved.
As I’ve got older though, my priorities have changed. I’d say I have a few close friends, but they’re not best friends like I had as a teen. We see each other on average every 2-3 weeks, sometimes even less depending on work schedules, not every day. I value their friendship, but they’re not my world the way friends used to be. And relationships aren’t just fun romances any more. I’m 26 now, so ideally I’m looking to settle down in in the next couple of years. I want the next guy I date to be my husband and the father of my children. Friendship is great, but it doesn’t come before marriage and family. So if there was a direct conflict of interest, for example wanting to date a friend’s ex, or my boyfriend and BFFs birthday dos were on the same night, love would come first.
Having said that though, I don’t think that means being in a relationship means you need to stop seeing, or even spend less time with your friends. If like me you’re only seeing your friends once every couple of weeks anyway, you can manage one night a fortnight without your partner. Come on. I’m in the zone I’ll usually go on a date, or go to a dating event, each week, then see a friend one evening or go to a party at the weekend, or maybe go to a Meetup event or say yes to a random party to try and meet guys. If I was in a relationship, I’d drop the dating and random events, and alternate my time between seeing my partner and good friends.
So I guess a relationship just means prioritisation- not less time with friends, but instead, less friends. Close friends, your main crew, and people who you may not be super-close with but will generally make time for you and invite you to things- you should make a concerted effort to keep seeing. Basically, anyone who gives a shit about you, you should still give a shit about. After all, if you were to break up with your partner you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve got no friends. More casual friends, random events, “friends” who make you feel bad about yourself, or people who you have to do all the legwork to see- meh, they can go. I guess if you’re in a living arrangement where you’re seeing friends 3+ times a week a relationship may mean you spend less time together, but don’t ditch completely. Try and keep seeing them, say, once a week or so. It’s also important to make a special effort not to ditch anyone who might be a bit vulnerable, for example friends who’ve gone through a bad breakup, have been single for a really long time, are going through shit, and don’t have many other friends or family to support them. They may take the hit harder.
So yes, ultimately, love comes first. But friendship is important too, so don’t be a dick.
Have you ever been ditched when one of your friends got into a relationship? Or have you been the one to ditch a friend? Let me know in the comments!