There’s one type of woman that seriously perplexes me: the one who’s so tight with her squad and can’t live without them—that is, until she gets a boyfriend. As soon as she’s coupled up, her BFFs will barely hear from her and she’ll never have time to hang out. WTF?
- Your friends will probably be a constant in your life. It sounds like one of those cheesy sayings that are carved on rocks in your grandma’s garden, but men do come and go and real girlfriends are forever. In today’s dating scene, it’s difficult to know when you’re in a casual relationship that’s only destined to last a month and when you’ve found the real deal that’ll go the distance. Yes, it’s natural to want to spend 24/7 with your boyfriend and you do need time to bond, but like any other relationship, you have to feed a friendship and tend to it regularly as well. That’s pretty hard to do when you’re dropping off the face of the earth every time you go on a second date with someone. You can have a group of smart, beautiful women supporting you through thick and thin—if you’re a good friend back to them.
- Girlfriends provide what boyfriends sometimes can’t. Your squad might not buy you nice gifts, take you out to fancy dinners, or satisfy you sexually like your run-of-the-mill boyfriend will but they do provide other important things. Girlfriends provide advice, emotional support, and an ear that will listen to any petty complaints or sexy stories. You can’t get into a fight with your boyfriend and then call your boyfriend to complain about him or ask what to do. I mean, you could, but it would probably be super weird.
- Solid romantic relationships should involve friends to some degree. Obviously, the dream is dating a guy you’re crazy about who your friends love too. I know that’s a little unrealistic to expect for every single guy you date, but the healthiest relationships definitely involve your girlfriends in some way. It might not be the ideal situation where they all get along right off the bat, but the right guy should encourage you to hang with your friends, and your real friends should support you if you’re in a happy, healthy relationship. If this isn’t happening, there’s a problem.
- You can’t abandon ship because you’re afraid of judgment. Your girlfriends care about you. I know it’s incredibly difficult to introduce your new guy to your friends, as I just mentioned, but if he’s the right guy, they’ll just know. If he’s not the right guy, they’re going to be straight with you—and hey, maybe you should listen to what they have to say! Yeah, they might get a little snarky and hypercritical, but you can’t shirk away from them altogether just because you’re afraid they’re not going to like your new guy.
- If you’re genuinely happy, their opinions shouldn’t matter too much. The opinion of your squad may be God’s will for a lot of things—where to go for brunch and which shoes to buy, for example—but when it comes to the guy you’re dating, you don’t have to take everything your girlfriends say to heart. Listen to what they have to say, of course—they may point out that he’s actually a sexist douchebag and you’ve just been too distracted by his beautiful eyes to really notice. If they’re just picking on how he wears his hair, that silly critique shouldn’t suddenly destroy a real, genuine attraction to a man.
- Consider how it would look if he ditched his friends for you. Imagine a world in which the guy you’re seeing ditches his bros for you, even if you didn’t ask him to. Some women (probably the type of woman I’m airing out my grievances about right now) might find that romantic but others will understandably find it weird. That man’s friends would immediately say, “Damn, she’s got him whipped,” assuming that she’s forcing him to abandon his friends. Not only is this a super unfair double standard but it should put into perspective the unhealthy truth that it might be a controlling partner influencing your judgment. PSA: Don’t ever let a man make you ghost your friends. Ever.
- Ditching your friends for a man is a big gamble. There’s nothing wrong with meeting a guy, falling for him, and seeing him regularly. There’s nothing wrong with making time to see him frequently, especially if you’ve just started dating. Still, there’s a big difference between being in the honeymoon stage of a new relationship and completely bailing on your friends every time a new guy comes into the picture. The time you know these men for could be brief, you have no idea, but your squad is your support system that’s going to stick around no matter what. You just have to treat them right.