boyfriend

What To Look For In A Friend’s New Partner

It’s always interesting when your friend starts dating someone new. You want the relationship to be good for your friend but also good for you. We are selfish creatures so there are many ways in which we worry about how a friend’s new fling will impact us. Will we like them? Will they like us? Can we hang out altogether? Do they understand that Sunday brunch is reserved for sacred gossip sessions and cannot be impeached upon? Will they treat your friend right or will you have to step in and get all Liam Neeson on their ass?

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I believe most of us ask two questions when our friends start dating someone;

  1. Do they remember it’s important to balance friend/partner time and make an effort to get that balance right? When couples can’t get this right, they fall victim to the ‘new relationship black hole’ and vanish off the face of the earth, leaving you friendless. In fact, the only way you know these people are still alive is through their ever sickening Facebook updates which have become a plethora of eye-rolling, gag worthy love notes to their new ‘bae’.
  2. Is their new partner a decent human being? They don’t have to be the type of person you’d want to date, or even the type of person you had in mind for your friend. They simply need to not be a shit person. If you’re able to make small talk at group gatherings and hang out with the couple without wanting to kill yourself, consider yourself lucky.

Sometimes, on rare occasion, your friend will start dating someone who exceeds expectations. I mean, they blow all other contenders out the water. If you’ve experienced this you’ll know that there’s almost nothing better; it fills you with joy and reaffirms your belief in love. Her partner knows friendships are important and encourages her to maintain them. He treats her right; he’s taken the time to get know her and likes her for who she is, he wants only the best for her. You are comfortable leaving her happiness in his hands. You get along with him; so much so that you actually consider him a friend, not just your friend’s partner. You can hang out with him when she’s not around and there are no awkward lulls in conversation. The two of you share a unique connection in that you’re both invested in your friend’s happiness. If she’s happy, you’re happy. And there’s nothing easier than being happy about your friend’s new relationship when you can see how good it is for her.

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Great Girls and Mean Men

There is a lady in my life I’ve always had a bit of a crush on (okay, there’s more than one but I’m only here to talk about one for now). She started off as the friend of a friend. She was one of those girls I instantly liked, before I even knew her. One of those girls I Facebook stalked constantly, thinking how gorgeous she looked in all her photos. As it turns out, she’s a total babe in real life, too.

Now that I’m actually friends with her (it’s so much easier to stalk someone once they’ve accepted your friend request) I’ve learnt that even people you think are amazing will have doubts about themselves. Hearing truly amazing girls doubt themselves is always disheartening. Knowing it’s because someone else has made them think that way is sickening.

You see, my friend is struggling to let go of a relationship, something almost everyone can relate to. The problem? This is a relationship that has done nothing for her confidence except bring it down. This is a girl who is worth so much more than she is being told. And the worst part is that the longer someone tells you that you aren’t good enough, eventually you start to believe it.

The irony is that my friend is painfully aware of how bad this boy (not worthy of the title ‘man’) is. She knows he is deceitful, rude, selfish. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook the bad parts once you’ve fallen in love with someone and it is hard to let them go. It is hard to get out of the habit of talking to them every day. It is hard letting go of a relationship when it feels like giving up, when it feels like failing.

But sometimes, giving up on someone doesn’t mean you are failing and it certainly doesn’t mean you have failed as a girlfriend. It simply means you are giving up on being disappointed, frustrated, upset or annoyed.  You’re giving up the part of your life that was bringing you down.

So to her, or anyone struggling to let go of a relationship that you know isn’t good for you, the self doubt has to go. You are stunning, smart and talented. You have achieved great things (in her case, among others, raising 2 beautiful little girls) and will continue to do so. You are a total babe and ‘total babe’ is a trait everyone loves. Anytime you doubt this, just come back here and remind yourself of how truly awesome you are. After all, if you don’t love yourself, how will anyone else? The key to future happiness in relationships is to start by being happy with yourself. The key to being happy with yourself is to let go of all the things that are making you unhappy – ungrateful, no good ex boyfriends included.

Yes, it can feel close to impossible to get over someone you dedicated your life to for some length of time. But when that person is lowering your self-worth, stressing you out and making you cry more than they make you smile, it’s time to kick them to curb and never look back. And if that’s too hard to do on your own? Gather your friends and ask them to skip with you along that footpath, smiling and laughing and yelling at you if your head even slightly turns to look around, until you’re able to do it on your own. And remember; don’t be afraid that you won’t find someone to settle down with one day, be afraid that thoughts like that might lead you to settle for less than you’re worth – because that would be the real tragedy.

When Your Friend is Dating a D*ckhead

Meeting a friend’s new boyfriend is always an interesting experience. You want him to live up to expectations, be handsome, smart, funny, a real gentleman. You want someone who recognises how fabulous she is and wants to make her happy. But what if he’s an absolute tosser, treats her terribly and constantly has her calling you to vent about his latest act of ignorance?

Telling your friend you don’t like her man can be tricky. You don’t want to come down too hard on the guy, in case she ends up marrying him. No one wants the bridesmaid giving the groom death stares during a wedding ceremony. You also don’t want to tell her she’s being stupid staying with him, as insulting her intelligence isn’t what she needs to hear from you.

The best thing you can do is be there for support, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bitch to. Of course, there is only so much of this one can handle before wanting to pull the shitty boyfriend in question aside and tell him to step up or f*ck off. As grand an idea this is to fantasise about, the truth is the only relationship you’re likely to end is your own friendship. Avoid confronting him like you avoid the creepy old guy who hangs out at your local bar on his own every night.

One important thing to do is ask her what it is she likes about him. Sometimes just because the attraction isn’t clear to an outsider, doesn’t mean it’s not there. This is especially important if you haven’t spent much quality time with the man in question and are basing your judgements on what your friend has told you. Some people only talk about the negative aspects of their relationship because they are the things concerning them. There is no need to vent to your girlfriends if everything is smooth sailing, is there? This might be the case with your friend – you are only hearing the negative stories and making your decision based on a misconception. Asking what she likes about him will help you better understand the relationship through her eyes.

If she really does love this man and is happy with him, then it’s best to gently let her know once or twice that you don’t always appreciate the way he treats her but, for the most part, hold your tongue and try to be happy that she’s happy. If, on the other hand, she isn’t happy, you need to be there to offer soothing words of advice, remind her how awesome she is and encourage her to have faith in herself and believe that she deserves so much better. Often the hardest part of leaving a relationship is wondering whether you will find someone better. Hopefully, if you keep assuring her, she will start to believe you.

Good Guys Finish First

We’ve grown up with fairytales where the prince wins the princess’s heart with his charm, good looks and chivalry. We have dreamed about these princes since we were old enough to play dress up in our mother’s wedding gown. Yet, when faced with such a man in real life, we often look right past him. As the saying goes, nice guys finish last. But while bad boys will always have that certain something about them that makes them dangerously attractive, I think it’s time to pay attention to the real benefits of dating a good guy.

If you are constantly waiting to hear back from your man, secretly dreading to introduce him to your parents and friends, or sick of wasting time waiting to hear back from him and wondering whether he really likes you, you may need to find yourself a good guy. These good guys can be spotted by their polite behaviour, willingness to open doors for females and consistency in following through with an arranged date. These are the guys you don’t have to worry about anything with, the ones who don’t cause frustration or the need for group meetings with the girls to discuss ‘what’s going on’.

I know it can be exciting dating a bad boy and don’t get me wrong, the idea of a man who rides a bike and looks a bit rough around the edges is always sexy. I’m not talking about this. I’m not talking about a man who has a bit of a wild side (this, I think we can all agree, is actually a good thing). I mean those boys who think too highly of them self, expect girls to fall at their feet and treat them like something they can mess around with then cast off again when they’re bored.

They can often be hard to spot in the beginning because they’re also generally the boys who know all the right things to say. They are masters of talking the talk, without walking the walk. Of course, there’s a difference between calling you beautiful because they know you’ll eat it up to saying it because they mean it. There’s a difference between simply telling you they’re happy to wait “as long as you want” before sleeping together, to actually waiting and not rushing you on it – and then not rushing out the nearest door, window, or fire escape afterwards without so much as another word because they’ve finally reached their ‘goal’.

Somehow, I’ve been pretty lucky not to waste too much time on boys like this and instead find genuinely good guys to spend time with. And I believe these good guys are actually everywhere, you just have to keep your eye out for them and, most importantly, not overlook them.

I think the phrase “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen” needs to be thrown out of some of our vocabularies and replaced with something along the lines of “if he treats you mean, tell him to f*ck off”. I know, I know, it’s not as catchy and doesn’t rhyme but it’s much better advice in the long run.

In my opinion, good guys should be the most attractive guy there is. Paying attention, remembering what you say, caring about what’s going on in your life, making future plans with you – these are all traits possessed by good guys. These are traits we should all look for and not settle for anything less. Our favourite fairytale characters certainly didn’t … and they all ended up living happily ever after.