After years of being fabulous and single, writing articles about being single, and having empowering talks about being single with my girlfriends, I have recently and unexpectedly found myself becoming one half of a budding relationship. I’m still navigating through the first few months and I have found myself to be racked by the desire to partake in obnoxious couple behaviors, even though the repulsion caused by them is still fresh in my mind. In order to continue nurturing the romance without irritating and/or nauseating my single girlfriends, I have come up with several guidelines for being a likable couple.
1. It seems so simple but can often be easier said than done: date someone that your friends enjoy being around. If you’re dating someone they can’t stand, that’s a symptom of a bigger problem; their concerns are probably legitimate and worth considering. When you date someone who gets along with your friends, they won’t feel as much like they’re (gasp) losing you to a significant other, and you don’t feel left out of the single friend fun.
2. Take time to do your own thing. Just because you’re a couple doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. There’s an episode of Sex and the City where the girls mourn their ‘Secret Single Behaviors’ that had to be given up when they entered a new relationship. I wholeheartedly disagree with this idea. Finding someone willing to make out with you on a regular basis is no reason to sacrifice these crucial activities! If you want to spend a Friday night soaking your dry hands in Vaseline whilst watching infomercials and eating Betty Crocker cakes, do it! If your girlfriends start to sense that you are losing yourself in the relationship, they will speak up — and for good reason!
3. Be sure to actively pursue your hobbies. It’s tempting to spend every second together in the early days when you can’t remember how the world looked before you put the rose-colored glasses on, but it’s important for you both to maintain your individuality. There’s an unfortunate tendency for people to grow into a version of their significant other. If you let your hobbies and pursuits fall to the wayside, you won’t have anything to talk about when you to go to coffee with your girlfriends except the way your heart melts when he plays with kittens and that’s BORING and UNLIKEABLE and likability aside, terrible for your personal growth.
4. Keep the staring into each other’s eyes to an ABSOLUTE minimum.
5. Tease each other. There’s nothing that makes people more uncomfortable than hanging out with a couple that adores each other too much. Where’s the fun in that? Tell stories and make jokes about things that happen when it’s just the two of you so everyone feels included.
7. Date someone you can be yourself around. Nobody wants to hang out with a strange, filtered, watered down version of their once-vibrant friend. If you’ve got a crude sense of humor, a potty mouth, a slutty section of your wardrobe, an affinity for party culture etc, these are things your friends will not take lightly to you disowning just to impress a significant other.
8. Don’t, for God’s sake, GROPE each other unless you are the only two humans in the room.
9. Avoid talking about how happy you are in your healthy relationship with friends who might fit into any of the following categories: has recently dumped or been dumped; is having a dry spell; has recently been demoted or fired; is menstruating; is having a fat day; is fighting with their mom; has a serious pimple; has been rejected by somebody at any point in the past seven days.
By keeping these guidelines in mind, your friends can at least pat you on the back for trying your best not to swoon when your new flame texts you a smiley face. The bottom line is that romance can sweep you off your feet but if it all goes wrong, your friends will be the one to stand you back up. So be sure to take the time and make the effort to nurture all the humans who matter to you, and not just the one you’re currently dating.