Alternate post title: Maintaining Balance When Your BFF, Who is Acting as Your Stand-In Boyfriend, Gets a Boyfriend of Her Own. But that was too long.
One of the best things about my 25th year, during which I was mostly single, was the way my friends basically became surrogate boyfriends. We tried new restaurants, talked on the phone late into the night and unabashedly allowed our weekends to revolve around one another. No shame in being a packaged deal, here! Significant others are invited? Awesome. I'll bring my roommate.
It was a beautiful season where my friendships grew deeper than ever. On our loneliest nights, we relied upon one another. On our happiest nights, we didn't think twice about not having a boyfriend or the ways our lives felt "behind" the girls who were married.
But then, things began to change. Single girls got boyfriends. Dating girls got engaged. Engaged girls got married. And married girls began to move away. Our season of full reliance upon one another shifted quickly; it was a tiny moment in time - gone before we realized what we'd had.
When this started happening in my life, I struggled a bit as I saw my friendships shifting. I'm great with physical change, such as rearranging a room, but not-so-great with emotional changes. I mostly want happy times to stay happy and never change. Is that so much to ask?
Here are a few things I wish I'd known when I was navigating this delicate phase of friendship:
For the girl who is still single:
1. You aren't getting left behind. It can feel that way in the moment, but you aren't going to be stuck forever. You may not get a boyfriend at the exact time as your friends, but your life will continue to evolve and flourish. I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic or focus only on your singleness.
2. Don't be mad at your friend for getting a boyfriend. It's OK to feel a little sad at the way things are changing, but don't be upset with her for liking a boy. Her intentions aren't bad and it helps to try to remember this.
3. Give her time to master the balance of dating someone while still maintaining friendships. It can be hard, at first, when you're integrating someone new into your life, while still making room for the people who were there before. Give her some grace to find that balance.
4. Mourn it if you need to do so. Things are changing and it's OK to feel sad as they do. Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge this.
5. You are not being replaced. While you might not be her surrogate boyfriend anymore, you can still be her dear, dear friend.
For the girl who gets a boyfriend:
1. Understand that it could feel like a shift for your friend. Give her some time to process the changes.
2. Don't forget about your buddy. She was there for you in the very beginning - helping you craft text messages, pick out your outfits and dissect what he meant when he said that crazy thing. Don't forget about her.
3. But don't be afraid to make extra space for your boyfriend. As you get more serious, it's inevitable that you'll see a little less of your friends. Don't panic. This is healthy and normal and you can absolutely still maintain your friendships.
4. Don't make everything for couples. Double dates and couples trips are super fun and you should embrace them. But, single peeps are fun, too! Don't forget that everybody likes lake weekends, with or without a boyfriend.
5. Give her some solo love. Make time for girls' nights, just like the old days. Boys don't really like The Bachelor and a glass of white wine all that much, anyway.