At our Life in Trinidad (LIT) office, I asked the question, “Is it okay if your boyfriend’s best friend is a female?” Like all things related to relationships, this is a dicey topic and so the office exploded into an uproar.
Half the ladies said (in not so many words,) “Hell no!” The other half, reasonably determined that it is okay. Coincidentally enough, those raising the flag in support of these controversial relationships, are the single women on our staff. The married women are not having it. I guess the instinct to protect your relationship is greater when you actually have a significant other. I was quietly amused, listening to the arguments presented.
Then finally, the question I was dreading since I lit the match and started this fire, “So what do you think, Dass?” Oh, no! How do I tell my married co-workers that I am the enemy? I am the one they fear. I have been the best friend. Cue dramatic music. Now hold up, before you start judging me! I know that there are unscrupulous females who have no inkling of loyalty and would stop at nothing to come between a happy couple. On the contrary, there are some of us who have no interest in interfering in other people’s happiness and have successfully navigated these choppy waters. Here’s how to be the female best friend that his girlfriend likes.
Respect his relationship. Boundaries are important.
With infidelity at an all-time high, it’s no wonder girlfriends are suspicious and distrusting of their guys’ female friends. Your actions must demonstrate that you understand his circumstances have changed. The juicy piece of gossip you are bursting to share with him could wait until tomorrow. Do not call or text his phone at an unreasonable hour. She will not be happy about that. Do not treat his relationship like it doesn’t matter. He chose her; it does matter.
Do not probe. You should bear in mind, he is not obligated to tell you everything. Your history together may have provided you with disturbing insights into his life in the past, but he does not owe you all the nasty details of his new love. You should remember, he is entitled to privacy. He has the right to withhold information for the sake of protecting his lady and his relationship.
She has the title
We always feel like we have the right to approve or disapprove of our friends’ choices in mates. Regardless of your opinion, she is his girlfriend. Who knows? Eventually, she may even be his wife. This change might be hard to get used to; you’re not used to being second in his life. He has made room in his heart to accommodate another human being and you need to find a way to be okay with that. He is going to have to cancel plans; he won’t be able to show up all the time. Friendships shift and change with time; this doesn’t mean you are any less important to him.
In a situation like this, it is recommended that you keep your attitude in check. Yes, you and he have been friends since high school but he has a girlfriend now. She has a right to be paranoid and neurotic. Let us not just assume that she is just insecure and jealous. In fact, if she does not question the nature of your friendship, something is drastically wrong. It is your job to make her feel at ease. Don’t be upset if she wants to tag along for the football game or answers his phone from time to time. If you care about this guy, it is your responsibility to put her at ease. Be nice. Be friendly. Invite her to come along when you can. If you go to the movies, sit next to her. Watch your body language; do not laugh and or touch him in a way that could be interpreted as flirtatious. Keep your conversation PG-13. She should not be given a reason to worry about what you guys talk about when she’s not around. Don’t be pretentious; she would relax if you are genuine. If you believe she is a great girl for him, let her know you are on her side.
It’s all on him
For the ladies who are violently shaking their heads as they read this article, you may be struggling with the age-old question: Can men and women be friends? We have been socialised to believe that this is impossible. We are trained to see men as either people we are interested in or not. Even as children, boys and girls are not usually encouraged to play together.
I think it is important that trust is established in your relationship. It’s about you and the other person. They should be just as committed to the relationship as you are and protect it as fiercely as you do. Life is a funny thing. The person you are most wary of, may not be the person responsible for the demise of your relationship. Sometimes you are blindsided and caught completely off guard. In the off chance your man finds himself in an uncompromising situation with a devious female, whatever happens is all on him. You should hope he does the right thing. I hope in that moment he chooses you.