How good is female friendship? There’s nothing purer in this world than having a kindred spirit to laugh with, cry with, and eat cheesy chips on the way home from the pub with.
Which is why when your best friend gets a boyfriend, it can sometimes feel like your whole world is crashing down. As she gets lost in the excitement of new love, it’s easy to be left feeling abandoned and lonely. Not to mention the fear that you’ll have lost her forever to some guy she met in McDonald’s at 4 am…
Sound familiar? If you’re going through this very same thing with your friend right now, know that you’re not alone and there are ways to cope. Here, relationship experts, psychologists and those who’ve been there before, offer advice on how to deal.
Let her have the ‘honeymoon’ phase
The first few infatuated months are undeniably the hardest. But remember, the love potion effect won’t last forever, so try to indulge your friend in the early stages and not take her abandonment to heart just yet.
“Remember what it’s like in the first flush of love and try to give your friend the natural space to enjoy her new partner and to get to know him, support your friend, ask her questions about him, even if you’re already bored of it”, says Lottie Daley, Writer & Broadcast Journalist.
Meet him and make friends
The longer you wait to meet him, the more you’ll dwell and become envious of this person you keep hearing about but have never actually met.
“Introducing friends early on is better than later and can help ease tension and apprehension”, says Fiona Lamb, clinical hypnotherapist.
Don’t push your friend to do anything before she’s ready, but there’s no harm in asking when you get to meet the lucky guy.
Be wary of badmouthing
If you’re feeling resentful towards your friend’s new relationship, it can be tempting to egg her on when she confides in you about a fight they had or a less than desirable trait he possesses.
But if we’ve learnt anything from past experiences, it’s to listen but refrain from any type of insult or negative commentary.
“In the event of a break-up or fight, resist jumping in and defaming his character and giving him both barrels”, says Carol Ann Rice, Life Coach. “Quite often relationships can start up again and that will leave you on the outs – especially if it becomes serious and long term.”
Be there for her, offer neutral advice, but beware that anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
Put your energy into something new and exciting
If your friend is leaving a serious void, fill it with distractions. Use the time to reassess your own life, and the goals you want to achieve. If her abandonment is making you upset and envious, it may be because there are areas of your own life that you’re unhappy with.
“It will take a while to adjust [to her absense] so give yourself time and find other opportunities to make new friends and develop new hobbies like enrolling in fitness or self-development classes. Put your energy into something new”, says Relationship Expert, Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart.
This doesn’t mean you’re forgetting your friend, but if she’s choosing to put her relationship first, why not put yourself first?
It’ll also give you plenty to talk about when you do catch up and the conversation won’t seem as though it’s all about her and her new boyfriend.
Plan time together
When your friend gets a boyfriend, the biggest adjustment will be the fact that she’s no longer ‘free’ all the time and available at the drop of a hat. The spontaneous hang-outs and drinks on a Friday night will become rare, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still hang out.
“You might not see each other as frequently as before, but as long as you make the effort to plan time together, your friendship will survive”, says Susan Hepburn an experienced, accredited hypnotherapist and psychotherapist to the stars.
Put dinner dates in the diary, and stick to them. Then if she does choose Netflix ‘n’ chill over meeting you at the pub one night, you won’t be as upset because you know you’ll see her soon.
“Remember that it’s the quality and not the length of time you spend with your friend that matters.”
Try enabling a ‘no phones at the dinner table’ rule when you do catch up so that you can have proper time together (and she won’t be tempted to text the bf).
Don’t bottle up your feelings
If it gets to a point where all of the above just isn’t working, you may need to broach the topic with her. Preferably face to face, because tone never translates over text.
Simply tell her how you feel and why, and suggest a solution to the problem. Whether it’s scheduling in a fortnightly dinner or planning a girl’s weekend away together. Chances are she’ll be oblivious to the way she’s been treating you and try to rectify it.
Don’t wait until you’re so angry that it bursts out – that’s when miscommunication will happen.
Remember, guys will come and go, but friendship is forever and sometimes it’s worth fighting for.