We’ve covered a variety of topics for International Women’s Friendship month; from frenemies to the role friendship can play in our emotional and spiritual well-being. However, all relationships have their ups and downs and one factor that can challenge our friendships is lovers. The introduction of someone new into our circle changes the dynamics…especially if we don’t approve of our friend’s choice.
While our natural inclination may be to give full vent to our thoughts, doing so could lead to unnecessary strain on, or the demise of, our friendships. Here are some principles and guidelines to help everyone involved when new love challenges a treasured friendship:
1. Boundaries First: We set the standard for the value others will place on our relationships. When a new man comes into your life—make it clear to him what your friendships mean to you. While it is important that we don’t foster competition, it is key that they respect the people who played a role in helping us become the person they are interested in. Also, make it clear to friends how much your significant other means to you. The reality is there is now less of you to go around. If you’re the new love interest, show respect to the people who came before you. When the explosive power of your new affection wears off—you will be glad that you are not the only thing in your honey’s life.
2. Think Twice, Speak Once: We can’t walk on eggshells around our friend’s significant other. We should be able to freely express our thoughts, ideas and values. However, the potential does exist to put our friend right smack dab in the middle of a big disagreement. Sometimes, tense situations are unavoidable, but it shouldn’t be because we were careless with our actions and speech. Familiarity breeds contempt—practice keeping the proper respect in your conversations and relationships with your friend’s lover. Words spoken can’t be taken back and have the power to hurt all involved!
You can read the rest, including what is considered the “golden rule” over on ESSENCE.com.
At one time or another, many of us have not gotten along with a friend’s significant other. How did you handle the situation?