With all the ring by spring jokes (and realities), romantic relationships can get elevated above other relationships in our lives. Many of us have experienced it; friends that forget we exist or suddenly change for people they have just met. This is hard and heavy, but a lot of us don’t feel the license to feel hurt by this. It can seem like we are supposed to comply with the unspoken rule that romantic relationships are supreme.
“At first when my friend got a girlfriend, it was normal that he was with her and stuff. But then we completely just grew apart and he didn't really make an effort to remain friends. So that was that,” said Josias Navarro, junior Sociology major.
Every friend on the other end of a relationship tries to hold in tension a desire for their friend’s happiness and their own desire to maintain the friendship.
“I think depending on the situation, our friends in a relationship don't intend to ruin their friendships. I think that the root of it is they are in a different level of relationship so they start to focus on that person way more and worry about that person more than an average friend,” said Navarro.
So how do we support our friends when we see them isolating themselves from us and others and putting a higher level of care on romantic relationships? I think it’s important to remember our role as friends. We can only help our friends as much as they want help. We can try, and if they are not receptive, it’s okay.
Navarro says to those in relationships on the matter, “I think when you’re in a relationship or you’re starting one, also try to make time with your current friends. It maybe less time than before, but something. Something is better than nothing.”
Communication is key in this situation. Whether you are in a relationship or a friend of someone who is, insert honest communication into this season. If you’re scared, say that. If you need grace but want your friend to be able to call you out on your shortcomings, say that. Friendship can thrive and grow through good communication such as this. This is an opportunity for growth and acceptance for both of you.
This balance doesn’t have to be abstract. Simple self-awareness goes a long way.
“I think it's beneficial to prioritize plans based on who you tell you will hangout with first. For example, if your boyfriend asks you to hang out Friday night, and your girlfriends ask to hang out Saturday, you should stick with the original plan. Bailing on friends or a significant other for other people is not a good balance. I think to find a balance you need to have integrity and stick with your word. If you find yourself "accidentally" hanging out with your significant other too often, I think you need to look back on your week and analyze if you have spent the majority of that week with them...if the answer is yes, then I think you should start pushing yourself to hanging out with other people!” says senior Broadcast Journalism major, Brooke Carlucci.