Picture the scene: you’ve gone to lunch with your friend, one of your super close friends, and after reminiscing about the greatest times in your life together they drop the news that they went on a date. Of course you’re over the moon with the fact your friend has someone new in their life and wish them every bit of happiness. As time goes on the date is now their partner, which is fantastic news right?!
You make plans to hang out, they say they’re too busy with their partner to come and hang out, that’s okay, maybe next time? After multiple attempts a time and date with your friend has finally been planned, with their partner in tow leaving you a third wheel. Suddenly, it’s all they talk about, their partner is the only person they hang out with and you never see them again (unless they’re together). Their partner won’t let them out of their sight to see friends and no matter how much you try it feels like there’s no hope that you’ll see them again, but there really is.
This isn’t the only problem when it comes to dealing with sticky partners. No one likes to be a third wheel. When we’re dealing with significant others that are preventing you from seeing your closest friends, among other cases that can cause concern in the friendship circle you’re in, it’s time to pull out the red flag. Here is the definitive guide to staying connected to your friends who have difficult partners.
The Big Social Gathering
There’s always an excuse for a party, get-together or social event right? Invite all of your friends to a big get-together where they’re open to bring their own friends and partners (and their friends too if you’re feeling brave!). The idea is to make the event as sociable or as entertaining as possible, which is where creativity can be brought into the mix. You can ask them to bring their own cooked or baked goods to share with everyone, or even bring the cooking or baking to your home with all the mess and burnt cakes to laugh about. Ask them to bring board games, paper, DVDs, music, anything that tickles your fancy and gets people talking. It’s also not exclusive to indoors; taking everyone outside to events also brings people together. The aim is to be with your friends and having a good time forgetting about how many weeks it’s been since you last seen your friend without their partner and you can even get to know their significant other even better than before!
• Movie marathons of your favourite films
• Cake baking together with everyone contributing
• Picnics where each guest brings one box of food
• Homemade dinner where you’re able to talk altogether
• Bowling – girls vs. boys
• Karaoke where each person has to sing with someone they don’t know so well
The “I just want some time with my friend” Day
It can be pretty hard just to even get them to come out and see you if they’re with their partner constantly, but this time also allows for awesome plans together in the future. Allocate one day a month where you spend time with your friend away from their partner, just you and them. Again this breeds conversations that are well overdue with your friends such as what they’ve been up to, if they have a new job, any holiday plans or funny things that have happened in the past month. If it makes you feel more organised have a set of questions ready to ask each other to avoid those awkward silences. Make the venue somewhere you all love – the ice rink, the bowling alley, the cinema, your favourite place to eat or even just at home watching trashy TV. Catch up with everyone and get in on the latest gossip without them feeling bad about leaving their partner at home.
• Chocolate, cheese and wine nights
• A road trip to your favourite place away from home
• Have an arts and crafts day where you make art for each other to keep, no matter how bad they look
• Take photos in a photo booth to put in a scrap book
• Go on a bike ride together, or partake in a similar sport
The “Come To A Compromise” Chat
If nothing else is working, you’re feeling the pressure and you can’t come to a solution, then the reconciliation chat is the next best bet. This is the perfect time to sit with the sticky partner in question and try and come to a resolution between you and your friends. Friends come first, but relationships also are a part of most people’s lives, so it’s really important to balance the two as much as you can.
Meet in an open place where you don’t feel any pressure (and in case you blurt out something you shouldn’t) with you, your friend(s) and their partner(s) and establish an equal ground. Tell them how much you want to see your friends, but understand that with them juggling work, hobbies and other pursuits on top of socialising with friends can be a challenge sometimes. If your friends understand what you’re going through they will commit to meeting with you as and when they can, so long as your feelings are established as valid. Your friends will come and go, and maybe go for a long time and never return, but as long as there’s light you still have a chance.
There will always be sticky moments in friendship, and around Valentine’s Day it truly sucks when you’re alone when your friends are with your their partners (move over, Ryan Gosling), but always remember that what’s important is that your friends will still be around when they come back. Whether they break up with them, whether they need you’re advice, whether they even tie the knot, show them that you’ll be there – that’s true friendship. Above all this Valentine’s Day, have fun, spend time with your loved ones should you find yourself alone, and don’t forget those discounted chocolates the day after!