When your best friend comes with a +1 

When I hear the words ‘you’ll just have to meet him’ i’m immediately filled with dread. I won’t like him. He’s not good enough, I already know. He’s not good enough because you’re my friend, and he could be a Brad Pitt lookalike shitting diamonds out of his ass and I’m still not going to think he’s the one for you.
You see, friend, when I look at you I see a Queen of magnificent potential. I see all the hurdles you’ve leapt and dragged yourself over, I see how many times you’ve held your head high when your feet have been sinking in the mud, I see your ridiculous sense of humour combined with a child-like vulnerability and I immediately doubt he has any idea of how truly fantastic you are.

And that is why I don’t want to meet him. As long as I don’t meet him he’s your Prince Charming. I can listen to how fantastic he is and how happy he makes you and mentally vomit in my mouth but smile warmly at your giddy demeanor. I can just be happy for you. Of course I will still be happy for you when I do meet him, you’re my friend, you’re happiness is paramount, but I will also be looking at his every move, how his face looks when you speak, what his eyes say when he’s speaking, his body language, whether he noticed the hot blonde who just walked in on our left, how much enthusiasm he has for the day with you in it, and if my senses tell me something is off, trust me, I’m just not gonna like him!

More the the point I don’t wanna be your friend! 

We’ve all be there right? When your friend tries to force their partner on you? You’re totally happy with just seeing their loved one at birthdays and Christmas and the occasional double date, but that’s not good enough for them, they want to forge this relationship between the two of you despite the fact you really don’t need another friend, especially when you can’t even see what she sees in him. And you feel like stamping your feet like a Junior School brat, shouting ‘look, I don’t wanna be your friend’. And yet your forced to play along because this is what makes your friend happy, you just have to ride it out until they break up or get married and he becomes a permenant fixture, forever.

It’s not just the women! 

In my experience men are actually worse than women for this. As soon as it starts getting serious between them and their new ‘princess’ you’re automatically expected to become BFF with their woman or you can kiss goodbye to that friendship. And I guess in this instance it’s more understandable. Us women are usually fiercely protective over our man and will automatically hate any woman that appears to be a threat to that. So I understand the need to have the initial ‘meet’, so the new girl can sniff around us and determine if we are friend or foe, but to impose a friendship on us just because we’re a female in your life? I’m sorry, that’s just rude.

I haven’t spend 312 nights on the phone to your new girlfriend talking about where my life is going or barely understandable as I sob down the mic about my latest break-up. I haven’t given her advice on relationships or debts or life choices. We haven’t shared five years of experiences together to create the bond that you and I have. And yet now I’m expected to have private conversations about my life with the both of you so that she doesn’t have to exercise a bit of trust and self-control?

I’m telling you, it’s rare that men will pay off as a long-term friendship investment. The sniff of the new pussy is too strong, when it comes down to choice, you will lose out to the girl he’s known for a month, no matter what you’ve done for him before she came along. Why? Because being polite when you see her isn’t enough. She has to feel you want to be friends or your toast.

Sometimes you just want a bit of girl time. 

Yes, we are back to the women. There is nothing that will ruin your night out more (OK there are a lot of things that will ruin your night out more, but it’s a good way to start a sentence) than your bestie’s man turning up when you’ve planned girl time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve planned a lunch date or a wine date in their house, he doesn’t need to be there! There are things you tell your girlfriend that are for her ears only, it’s this sharing of information, this ‘confidant’ style of relationship that creates the bond between friends. You don’t want to share this stuff in front of him, he hasn’t earnt the right to hear it. And so your lunch date turns into something you could have done with Sally from work at 6pm on a Monday and you wonder why you bothered getting out of your pyjamas and turning up for it at all.

It’s awkward when you break up. 

This is a biggie. So I bite the bullet. I become your ‘friend’. Do you know what happens the minute you break up? Everyone in your life conciously or subconciously picks a side. And guess who’s side I’m on? Hers. Because she’s my friend. If you say anything to hurt her, if you shout at her, smash a plate, cheat on her, I will hate you. And it won’t matter how many lunches or dinner dates we’ve been on or how many times we’ve talked about life over a shared cigarette at 3am in the morning, as soon as you hurt her, all that means nothing. So what was the point?

And if she cheats on you, well that’s just awkward. Because we can’t justify that but we are on her side anyway and then we have to experience the whole painful situation of talking about it when we bump into you in the supermarket. Where as if we had never really known you, we could swan past you on the way to the Tampon aisle, pretending you’re not there.

This doesn’t apply all the time.

OK. Truth be known boyfriend/girlfriend, we do want to know about you . We want to know if you have brothers or sisters, kids, where you work, what music you’re into, where you like to party, where you like to eat. And if we kind of like the sound of you we will want to casually meet you at the pub or on a double date. If you’re married to our friend then we understand you can’t always find somewhere else to be when we swing by with a bottle of Chablis on a Tuesday night. It’s OK. We get that you’re around now. We accept that.

It sounds like I’m back-tracking on everything I’ve just wrote, right? I’m not.

Everything I’ve said previous to this still stands. I’m just saying that it doesn’t have to be ‘best friend v new partner’situation. I’m saying that there are times that we will all be part of each others lives. Especially at the important events, like weddings. BUT it’s important to remember that your friends were there before your new man/woman and if the worst happens and you break up,  we will still be there, but the quality of our friendship will be dependent on how well its maintained when you’re in your relationship.

We’re not saying we have to be the most important person in your life. Someone you’re considering making, or you have made, your life partner should be the most important part of your life. Otherwise why are you with them?

But your friends, real friends, they are hard to come by, and sometimes even harder to replace than your spouse, so cherish the relationships you have with them. Make time for them. Prioritise alone time with them. Even if it’s just once a month at your favourite restaurant. Because they didn’t sign up to be your boyfriends side kick, they signed up and proved themselves to be a friend to you.

Thank you for reading – Penny Lane 


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