The Six-Month Rule: Falling In Love Gives You A Pass To Neglect Your Friends, But Only For A Little While

Ricardo Miranda
Ricardo Miranda

We’ve all been there. After what seems like a century and a half of terrible OkCupid dates, almost-good Tinder connections and a couple of failed friends-with-benefits, you finally meet someone who seems like he’s not a completely terrible person. In fact, he seems like a pretty solidly decent human being. No, it’s more than that: he is amazing.

It starts innocently enough – you feel a spark and have the kind of first date that makes you want to write pages upon pages in your journal (or makes you wish you had a journal, because the cute way he remembered your drink order and opened the door for you seems like the type of thing you should be documenting). Then, before you know it, you start spending all your time together. You have someone to go to farmers markets with, dammit, and this is the most amazing feeling in the world. You have someone to eat brunch with. And regular lunch. And dinner. And late-night snacks. A few months fly by, and holy shit, when was the last time you hung out with your friends? Other than drinks you had a few months ago (time you spent gushing about this new guy) and the dinner party you hosted so your friend group could meet him, you haven’t spent any quality time with the people who knew you B.R. (Before Relationship.) You quickly realize that, wow, you’ve been kind of a bad friend.

Your friends, however, have not been late to notice. In fact, they knew this was going to happen. From the moment you said “we had an instant connection,” your bestie and your college friends and even your ex-coworkers that you occasionally have catch-up drinks with knew that they had lost you – at least for a little while. You were headed straight towards the exit door of your friendship towards the land of consistent – and meaningful – sex.

When you enter a relationship, it’s okay to kind of be a dick to your friends. It’s expected, even. If your friends are cool, they’ll get it. Sure, they might make fun of your gushy Facebook statuses behind your back, but if they’re really your friends, they do want you to be happy. It’s pretty common that when you meet someone you really, really like, they’ll probably see neither hide nor hair of you for at least one season. You’ll be busy – going to plays, meeting parents and doing other Pinterest-worthy things with your new person. Sundays that were once reserved for boozey brunches will now be spent in bed, cuddling and watching funny YouTubes with a guy your friends have only met once for drinks.

But eventually, you’ll realize that while you used to meet your girls for margaritas on a bi-weekly basis, you’ve now forgotten to respond to their last couple of texts. You’ve turned into the person you never thought you’d be: The Girl With A Boyfriend. Will your friends ever forgive you? Will you be welcomed back into the Ladies That Brunch? Can you find a good medium between being a girl who has someone meaningful in her bed but also has friends and a social life?

The good news is, you kind of have a pass. As long as your temporary Dicks-Before-Chicks phase hasn’t lasted too long (a good unit of measure is about six months), your friends should understand – no matter how many #MCM Instagrams you’ve already posted. Good friendships transcend the new relationship phase. Your best girls want you to be happy – but they want to be able to hang out with you, too. Everyone has their limits, though, and if you’re the girl that perpetually puts her guy before her gals, you will permanently lose friends. So once you come to the realization (hopefully sooner rather than later) that you need your ride-or-die friends, reach out. They should be there, welcoming you with open arms – and a good-natured joke about your coupled-up profile picture. Just make sure to acknowledge your bad behavior, buy a round a drinks, and promise not to get amnesia every time you enter a new relationship, and you should be good. At least until one of your friends has a good Tinder date. Then the roles will be reversed and it’ll be your turn to remember what it’s like to be young, in love and kind of an asshole to your friends. TC mark

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