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A true friend is someone who is there for another through thick and thin. A person who sticks closer than a brother or sister, and one you can turn to with any matters of the heart. A companion, mate, boyfriend or lover is also considered a friend, but in a much different way. This person is one who should be trusted and reliable and who romantically adds something to your life.

Many women long to have great friendships and the perfect man in their lives at the same time, and for many, this is their wonderful reality. But unfortunately, many women who are lucky enough to have the best of both worlds get so caught up in their love life that they tend to forget about their tried and true crew of girlfriends. They neglect the ones who stood by their side long before the new boo came along. So why do some of us often neglect or turn our back on our friendships for a new mate?

Some of the reasons could include being a little too excited about a new relationship; fear of being lonely; insecurities about who they are and the relationship altogether; and desperation for a man to the point where one will do anything, even take his word over their friends at the drop of a dime, in order to keep him. Many times, when a person neglects their friendships for their lover it’s because they don’t want to lose the person they’re involved with. And while this is understandable to an extent, especially if they’ve gone through a dry season in love, it’s still not a good reason to make your loyal friends play second fiddle to a man. It’s all about balance.

When a new love has come about in a woman’s life, it’s a great thing. We tend to give our all to a new relationship, but it’s important to find balance when looking to share time with your friends and your man at the same time. Here are some simple ways to do this.

Have something special you do with your friends each week, or at least every other week, and do your best not to spend that time bringing up your mate. Your friends won’t feel left in the cold if you make a consistent effort to spend time with them and stay updated on what’s going with them.

Find ways for your friends and your man to connect. That doesn’t mean they should be hanging out without you or that you all should kick it consistently, but your boyfriend shouldn’t be so eager to run in the opposite direction when you bring up opportunities for him to get to know your friends better. It’s important for all the people in your life to be able to vibe and get along, as opposed to them being such separate entities in your world.

Always remember that your friends need you, and you need your friends. They’ve been there for you before and during your relationship, and they’re often the people you want to talk to when your relationship isn’t as smooth as you would like, or when you need simple advice. And what would happen if your relationship ended abruptly? They would be the first people you would try and run towards. But what if they didn’t want anything to do with you because of the cold shoulder you gave them for so long? Remember this when you’re thinking about spending every waking moment with your man.

Many people say that good men and friends are hard to find, and when you find them you should hold on tight. But I believe that people are in your life for a reason during certain seasons, and if a man and friends you’re involved with are destined to be around, then they’ll be there through it all to help make you a better person. And there won’t be a need to choose one over the other because they already have a destined place in your life. But you have to cultivate everything in life, including your relationships. If you don’t balance and take care of them, you could lose them all.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

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