You’ve met someone and decide to start dating. You have been telling your best friend about this person and can’t wait for these two special people in your life to meet. The highly anticipated day comes, and it doesn’t go as planned. Their interaction is lukewarm, or one person is friendly while the other is not. How do you balance your two relationships and keep the peace?
Consider all sides.
The first thing to do is to consider each side’s perspective. Being the new person trying to fit into a relationship triangle can be challenging, as can being the long-time friend who has to make room for someone new.
Examine how you might be adding to the fray.
Without being aware of it, you could be making the situation more complicated. Are you setting unrealistic expectations? Do you want them to interact with each other in a certain way, and are disappointed because they aren’t? Be prepared for the possibility that they may never interact the way you’d hoped. However, it is also possible that in time, they will grow closer, or at least more cordial to each other.
Also, consider your dating history and how it may be impacting your friend’s perspective. If you’ve introduced a number of boyfriends or girlfriends to your best friend, your friend may just be staying cautious until s/he knows this new person is here to stay. You might not be the only one who gets broken hearted by breakups…friends who have invested their feelings on your behalf can also experience a loss.
Have an honest conversation with your best friend and romantic interest, separately.
Your friend may be worried that your new relationship will change the status quo or even jeopardize what you’ve had together. Your friend may be protective, wanting to make sure this new person is “good enough” for you.
Ask your friend what it is about the person you are dating that they don’t like: Is it the person’s personality? Does s/he think you’re incompatible with this new person? Do they see a change in you? Does your friend feel neglected or are they worried that you will no longer have time for them? Getting to the core issue can clear up misunderstandings and clarify expectations.
It may help to let your friend know that s/he is still valuable to you, and that you will make a concerted effort to spend quality time with him or her.
In your sit-down with your significant other, communicate why your best friend is important to you. He or she may not understand your friend, the type of friendship you have, or your history together. If your friend is overtly expressing dislike, it can be understandable that your boyfriend or girlfriend might react to the animosity, or be overly protective of you because of misconstrued interaction between friends.
Some more points to keep in mind:
- If you are having a disagreement with one of them, be aware that telling the other one about it can reinforce the wedge already between them.
- Invite your best friend and romantic partner to events you would normally invite both of them to. Give them the chance to get to know each other.
- Allow them to have the feelings they have, which may or may not change with time.
- Try to have a positive attitude about the interactions. Expressing anxiety will not promote harmony.
- These two people you care about don’t have to be best friends with each other. They don’t even have to like each other. However, what will work is for each of them to respect your decision to have the other person in your life and for you to accept their relationship as it is.
While it is can be initially painful to see discord between your friend and significant other, the situation can be successfully managed, and even repaired, with everyone’s best efforts.