Dating Games: What about your friends?

When we start a new relationship, we tend to forget all about the people who were there for us before. It’s a nasty habit.

Dating Games 521 (photo credit: Illustration by Pepe Fainberg)
Dating Games 521
(photo credit: Illustration by Pepe Fainberg)
‘What about your friends? Will they stand their ground? Will they let you down? / What about your friends? Are they gonna be low down? Will they ever be around? / Or will they turn their backs on you?” These epic words from the female rap group TLC.
Friends should stay with you through thick and thin, at times when you need them, and times when you don’t.
But across the board, almost without fail, people tend to forget about their friends when they start a new relationship. It’s a nasty habit, and singles ought to make a pledge not to forget about the people who were there for them before, and will be there for them again if and when this current relationship ends.
It’s a different song, but always the same tune: When you’re single and looking, you surround yourself with your single friends for going out, and your coupled-up friends for hanging out. Then once you start dating someone and it gets serious, you instantly drop all your friends and become immersed in the new relationship.
Your single friends are put by the wayside. Only once your relationship reaches the level of double-dating do you recommence communicating with your coupled-up friends. And your single friends resurface only after you’ve either had “The Talk,” or broken up. That is, if they stick around long enough.
My friend Yali met a guy, and they started going out night after night after night. Ten days later we left on a pre-planned trip, where I found out all about Meir; but once we returned from our trip, Yali disappeared back into the black hole called love.
About nine months later I ran into Yali and Meir at Costco, and was happily surprised to see a diamond ring on her right hand. Their engagement had brought them out of their cave, and I was happy to welcome them back to the world as a committed couple.
I forgave Yali for immersing herself in the relationship because I could only wish to find my own beshert.
Then I danced at their wedding, and continue to be close friends with them five years later.
It’s natural to want to hang out with other couples when you become a couple, but it’s sad when you lose sight of your devoted friends during a new phase in your life.
My friend Dana does this time and again. I adore her, so I’ve always forgiven her – but honestly, it does annoy me.
Each and every time she starts dating a guy, she disappears off the face of the earth for months on end.
Then I’ll get a phone call from a sad and crying Dana, who needs a shoulder to cry on because she and her boyfriend have broken up.
Suddenly I’m in the picture again, on her speed dial. I’m her go-to gal. It annoyed me more when I was single because we used to go out together all the time, and she would leave me high and dry. But now that I have “S,” I don’t have to find someone else to go out with during one of her stages and can just be there for her as a confidante whenever she becomes single again.
Most singles are guilty of this disappearing act, so I don’t hold it against her. In fact, I was guilty of it too.
My situation was different since the beginning of my romance with “S” took place overseas, but I admit that I was awful at keeping in touch with my friends while living in Israel. Between the time-zone difference and not wanting to rack up the phone bill, plus – and let’s face it, especially because – we were in that “honeymoon” stage, I was not a good friend, plain and simple.
Since I’ve been back in the States, I’ve made up for lost time and made sure not to ignore my old friends.
Luckily for me, they were more than understanding, and we picked up right where we had left off.
Seeing it from this perspective, I understand why it happens: When you’re on the inside of something new, you want to spend all of your free time together; and when you can’t be together, you’re on the phone talking or texting or e-mailing because it’s new and exciting and you’re getting to know each other better and falling in love.
And even if you do pay some attention to your friends, your mind wanders back to your new relationship and you don’t focus well on listening to what they have to say. Or all you do is talk about your new relationship until your friends lose their minds.
And the worst part is, you’re so self-involved you don’t even realize what you’re doing.
When we’re the single friends being left out to dry, we hate it, yet we do the same thing when it’s our turn.
So let’s make a promise not to forget about our friends (or bore them to death with every last detail of our new relationship) when we become somebody’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
You will need and want your friends one day – whether the new relationship makes it or not – so show them how much you appreciate them by not ditching them the minute you (possibly) find love.