We all tell ourselves that we would never be the person who ditches our friends when we get involved in a new relationship, but the reality of it is not so cut and dry.
Many of us have had to deal with friends who enter into a new relationship and drop off the face of the Earth, but how do you really deal with it?
It's Not That You Don't Want Them To Be Happy
Chances are if your friend is ditching you for their new relationship, you're going to make excuses for them in the beginning. You might feel guilty because you want to be happy for them, but you also miss your own relationship with them.
You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About It
Plenty of people (arguably, most people) manage to have a steady relationship and still have friendships, so you shouldn't feel guilty about expecting the same thing from your friend. You were their friend before that relationship, and hopefully, you still will be after.
How Do You Know Your Friend Is Forgetting About You?
It can be hard to come to the conclusion that your friend is actively ditching you for their new relationship. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt, so give them time to adjust and maybe advance from their honeymoon stage.
Give Them A Grace Period
Before jumping to conclusions or convincing yourself that your friend secretly has always hated you, give them a grace period. Give them a few weeks to soak up all that new-relationship joy before you get too upset.
Consider If It's Their First Relationship
It's not an excuse, but it's common when people get into their first serious relationship that they can get all wrapped up in it. They aren't necessarily used to splitting their time between their partner and their friends, so they need time to figure out how to do that.
And Remember Every Relationship Is Different
Just because you have a boyfriend or girlfriend and haven't let any of your friendships slip does not mean that every other person will be able to do the same. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because you could do it, everyone else should immediately be able to make the adjustment.
Don't Let The Resentment Build
Once the grace period has gone by and nothing has changed, what you shouldn't do is let your anger or resentment continue to grow. You have to speak up for yourself and for your friendship if you want something to change.
What If They Get Defensive?
You have to be prepared for the possibility that your friend is not going to see eye-to-eye with you. They might not be open to hearing what you have to say, even if it needs to be said.
How Do You Start The Conversation?
There are a few ways to approach the conversation that can make it run a little more smoothly. Even if your friend isn't fully ready to hear it, the way you bring it up will make a big difference in the long run.
Don't Make It An Ambush
Even if you've been thinking about it for a long time, they probably haven't realized it, so you don't want to ambush them. You've had time to adjust to the concept, they need that too. Hence why you need to tread lightly.
Going up to your friend and saying "hey I feel like you've neglected our friendship because you're too wrapped up in your relationship" is probably not going to get you the result you want.
Lay Out The Facts
If you're going to show your friend how you're feeling, a great way to start is to focus on the facts. For instance, if they've canceled on you at the last minute the past three times you've made plans because they wanted to stay home with their partner, bring that up.
Focus On Your Feelings
As with any conflict, you should try to come at it with mostly "I" statements, rather than accusing them of something. They're going to be a lot more receptive to you if you focus on how you feel or your own actions, instead of assigning blame to them.
Make Sure Your Own Expectations Are Reasonable
Think about what you're asking of your friend. Are you expecting them to still want to stay over at your house all weekend even though they're in a relationship, or are you simply looking for them to be better about answering their text messages?
Be Willing To Compromise
Managing your own expectations goes along with the compromise. Together, you might decide that every Thursday night you have dinner together sans-boyfriends, or maybe they'll promise to always answer your FaceTime calls. It's something you have to decide together.
Don't Make Their Partner The Enemy
Try your best to steer away from turning their new partner into the enemy (unless they are truly terrible, of course). Don't villainize someone until you actually take the time to get to know them.
Think About How Their Partner Feels Too
You're coming to terms with your friend being in a new relationship, but their partner will also have to accept that they can't be the only person in their girlfriend or boyfriend's life.
Toss In A Little Validation
While you're having the conversation, it's helpful to remind your friend of your positive feelings. You're happy to see that they're happy, and you should tell them that! Your hurt feelings don't take away from the fact that you want them to find love.
Don't Cling To The Friendship After The Conversation
If someone wanted to, they would. Once you've had the conversation with your friend, you have to take a step back and look at the friendship. If nothing changes after you've said your piece, don't cling on to something that isn't working for you.
Spend Your Energy On People Who Reciprocate It
You've made your expectations clear, you've stated how you're feeling, and now comes the time for you to focus on the friendships where the person actually gives you what you need. Save your energy and your feelings for the friends who want to receive it!