How to Deal With ‘That One Friend’
Do you remember the moment the one you were dating uttered the words, “I want my friends to meet you?” i.e. the friends that keep your special someone whole when you are not around? Most likely, they were there before you and pridefully, claim to be the ones who will be there after you’re gone.
The initial interaction can either work in your favor or perhaps, benefit you in the near future.
But let’s think about that one friend.
That one friend who usually has a rebuttal to every idea and thought that you may mention. That one friend who seems to be always waiting for a moment to make your thoughts appear foreign and unnecessarily attempts to make you appear irrelevant to every conversation. No matter how often you smile, or even if you attempt to remain silent, this friend jumps at the chance to refer to you negatively. Do not argue with this friend. Rather keep your energy under control and balanced. Trust that your partner will notice your attempts to bridge gaps and give you the rightful benefit you deserve.
Let’s now talk about that other friend.
The one that summons insecure ideas in your head about your significant other when you’re not around. This is the friend that makes you deeply analyze the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Most likely, this friend may embarrass your partner to some degree, but your partner is committed to their friendship and may not state the obvious. It is not your job to be shy about your feelings, so speak up and then seek to understand. The more you are able to understand why their friendship exists, the better you will be able to separate your thoughts and minimize the subconscious judgments that you may have placed on your partner for having such a friend.
If you observe or become aware of similar tendencies in the person you are dating, then have a honest conversation with your partner and determine whether the behavior interferes with you fully enjoying and appreciating him or her in your relationship.
Then there’s that other one friend.
I’m sure we have all experienced that one friend who is always the listening ear for your special someone. The friend that shows up to happy hour bitter or overly sarcastic, and has multiple questions for you. This friend does not necessarily have ill intentions, but wants their friend to be taken care of the right way. This same friend possibly makes you uncomfortable, because you do not always know how much information they have been told. You will find yourself genuinely involved in conversation that, in actuality, is not their business, but you feel a need to prove that you are truly a good person.
It’s unrealistic to tell your mate to restrain from discussing your relationship with their friends. The move would ignite an idea of mistrust and secrecy. These types of conversations are inevitable, especially when someone is searching for affirmations that they are in the right relationship. But there are things that you can do to ensure it does not interfere in your union. Reduce the amount of uncomfortable moments by expressing to your partner that you prefer that he or she either not discuss certain topics or at minimum, make you aware of the topics discussed during their best-friend chatter moments. Set some parameters that you both agree on.
Last, but certainly not least, is our favorite friend.
Let’s not forget that one friend you always ask about. The one you wholeheartedly enjoy and request many times to be the third-wheel. The friend that makes you turn into one of the aforementioned friends if they bring their new fling, friend, or lover around. Definitely recognize the quality of such a friend. Realize that this friend is a gem and will always defend your character, if you are deserving of such defense. There is also a strong possibility that this friend will not always be around as often because eventually, he or she will form their own relationship. This too works in your favor, because your relationship will progress and benefit from fewer third-wheel interactions.
We must now recognize that we are that one friend in our own friends’ lives. Therefore, respect your partner’s friendships enough to let them exist. Strive to be that one friend in your partner’s life that will eliminate the non-beneficial friends. Once you are that one friend that your partner can trust and enjoy, eventually, all of his or her other friendships will reflect a similar type of energy and heighten the comfort in your relationship.
Remember: Concentrate on the type of friend you are being to your partner. This is the focus that you will find most beneficial.
Justin L. Mabrie, MBA, is a graduate of Hampton University and native Houstonian. He provides relationship advice based on a traditional yet fresh perspective. Currently living in Qatar, varied aspects of dating are explored through his writings. You may keep up with him through Instagram @jlmabrie.