In the left corner, we have the long-time confidante, partner-in-crime and support system – the best friend. In the right corner, we have the funny, dangerously good-looking guy who you’re highly compatible with – the boyfriend. Aaaaaaaand, right in the middle of this disaster, is you… GREAT!!
One of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally frustrating phenomena of life is when you find yourself in the middle of some sort of tug-of-war between your boyfriend and your best friend.
When people think of this situation, it is automatically assumed that the one at fault is the petulant and utterly selfish best friend who refuses to relinquish her time with her best friend to let her be happy with someone who could potentially be “the one” (cringe – I couldn’t find a better phrase). The truth is that the blame can be split 3 different ways (imagine that).
Firstly, the problem COULD be the best friend being petulant and selfish. We all know that there is nothing quite like having a best friend. There’s nothing quite like knowing that there’s always at least one person in the world who’ll always be there to support you; someone who loves you enough to view your successes as their successes and views your failures as the universe cheating you. The best part of it all would have to be those inside jokes that get you every single time, especially when you’re apart and something reminds you of it. Having a best friend is a blessing and nobody ever wants to feel that they’re losing that at all, let alone to someone else. Therefore it makes sense (even if it is on a primal and primitive level) that the best friend may turn irrationally jealous.
Secondly, the problem could be, you… the girlfriend with a skewed sense of perception regarding the situation. Here, you have this idea that your boyfriend and best friend will not get along regardless of whether either of them have given you reason to believe that. Your fear of possibly having to choose between them at a later stage clouds your judgement and you start seeing things that aren’t there. As a result, your behaviour actually brings into manifestation the tension that you actually fear the most.
Finally, the boyfriend could be the issue. I would have to think that this has to be the worst of the three. Here, the boyfriend fails to realise that he’s not only dating the girl in question but all the people she holds close to her. This just makes it awkward for everyone involved and really only makes the boyfriend look like a complete tool really.
How do you possibly get out of this unscathed?
Best Friend: do not be selfish. Even if you do feel uncontrollably scared that you’re going to lose your best friend, do not let that get the better of you. Be supportive at all times and remember how much you love your best friend and how you truly just want her to be happy. Should there be issues that you really feel strongly about, speak to your best friend about them, the way that you normally would. Be honest about your fear and don’t disguise it as anger or anything other than the fear that it is otherwise you come off as jealous and unreasonable which is where you do not want to be. Yes, things are going to change – that’s inevitable, but you have a great hand in whether that change is good or bad.
Girlfriend: do not be self-involved. Yes, you are the hot commodity in this situation; however, you should not assume that two of the most important people in your life are going to undergo drastic changes to their personalities because of you. Your best bet here is to exercise your balancing and compromising skills. It is very rare where everything just falls into place perfectly and everyone assumes the perfect role according to you and as a result, most of the work has to come from you. You are going to have to compromise on some of the time that you spend with each of them. You will have to choose your boyfriend over your best friend at times and other times you’ll have to choose your best friend over your boyfriend. This is the cold hard truth. You just have to balance it and make sure that each of them feels highly important to you.
It is also up to you to be the most understanding. Your boyfriend will voice his concerns to you and you simply cannot brush them off and assume that he’s trying to change you or your life. Imagine how he must feel being assimilated into your life with the real possibility that the people who love you most may not approve of him. Your best friend, too, will voice her fears of losing you and you cannot assume that she’s not happy for you or that she doesn’t want you to be happy without her, she just doesn’t want to lose one of the most important people in her life. You may also be wondering why it is up to you to be doing the most work and be moaning about how grossly unfair it is that everyone expect this of you, however, you ARE the one making all the changes. Yes it’s ridiculous, but that really is how it is. Make peace with it and move on.
Boyfriend: keep your cool. Be nice to your girlfriend’s best friend – even if she is being crazy. The problem is rarely you as a person so don’t get caught up in all of that. Be supportive of your girlfriend throughout it all, if her and her best friend aren’t getting along, this is probably the time that she’ll need you the most. Oh, and whatever you do, do NOT bad mouth your girlfriend’s best friend under any circumstance – I’m sure that’s self-explanatory.
Now, this is not a science and things may still go wrong even if you try your best to not be crazy, self-involved and rude. Sometimes things don’t work out – whether the best friends stop being friends or whether the couple involved break-up – sometimes things just don’t work out. Maybe the best friends had underlying issues for the longest time and the addition of another person was necessary for them to finally face up to and accept them. Or maybe the couple in question were not a right fit to begin with but needed an outside person to somehow illustrate that to them.
Either way, it all works out the way that it should – good or bad. However, the only way that you (no matter what role you take on) will be able to accept the outcome is if you know that you tried your best and gave it your all, otherwise it’ll always haunt you… and that’s a whole other kind of emotional warfare.