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How to handle co-ed friendships when significant others get involved

Our whole lives are about adaptation. Adapting to living on our own. Adapting to paying our own bills (and taxes, erg). Adapting to lost loves and new loves, and adapting to changes in friendships when your friends find love.

With my girlfriends, the main changes I see are (a) we have a little less time for each other and (b) our time together starts to involve significant others.

But it’s another story with my guy friends. As they find love, I prefer to feel like I’m not getting in the way. It’s good to make sure your friends’  significant others are comfortable with the fun and freaking awesome friend they already have (you), no matter how platonic your friendship was to begin with.

Over the years and in recent conversations with guy friends, I’ve picked up on patterns that seem to make it work with co-ed friendships.

Keep going out for drinks.

Especially if The Wooden Vine is on your Charlotte bucket list and you still haven’t checked out the ambiance.

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Kicker: Make sure you stick to a reasonable time frame. Don’t stay out until midnight. And don’t let your friend keep it a secret. That’s weird and you might as well just start the argument with your friend and his significant other.

Keep texting.

Vital if you need to remind your friend to bring his copy of “Pitch Perfect” to work so you can borrow it.

Kicker: Don’t text too much or too late unless it’s crucial. I’m actually an advocate for this on all levels of friendship – if a text conversation requires more than five rounds of back and forth banter, witty or not, pick up the phone. Or get a hangout sesh on the books. You need some actual human interaction. And don’t text something you wouldn’t want that person’s person to see.

Keep grabbing meals together.

I literally have a friend who calls me his lunch girlfriend. Whether we’re going to Qdoba or Draught, that friend has always been very clear about his very happy long-term relationship.

Kicker: Don’t treat each other to meals unless it’s a birthday tradition or someone forgot cash. You are not dating. Plus, money is one of the top reasons couples argue.

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Keep sharing feelings.

We all have them. We all need to vent.

Kicker: Don’t over share negative feelings about significant others to the point of bashing. Unless you and your friend are actually soulmates destined to be together until the apocalypse, you probably don’t want to be each other’s reason for breaking up. You probably also should find something more interesting to talk about.

Keep hugging

Maybe avoid reaching across the table to caress each other’s cheek. But if you’re friends with huggy people, keep hugging.

We all want love. It doesn’t have to be weird.

Photos: Katie Toussaint

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