Words by Rae Witte. Photo by Devin Avery / Unsplash.
Contrary to popular belief, you can be platonic friends with members of the sex you’re attracted to. Furthermore, it will definitely be easier for you to befriend your significant other’s friends if you’re on board with this concept as it will allow you to look at their friends as individuals rather than simply their friends. While it isn’t a golden rule (what even is a golden rule?), there’s something to be said about the company we keep. If you love or strongly like your significant other, you’d want to believe you’ll have things in common with their friends and therefore it won’t be difficult to befriend them.
As much as it should seem natural, you’ll want to make sure your partner is comfortable with you being friends with their friends. And, as much as I want to promote security within yourself, within your partner’s self, and within your relationship, it is not unnatural for insecurities to arise. Show interest in their friends by first making it clear you’re invested your person’s relationship. Recognizing healthy aspects of the relationships he/she/they have with their friends shows you care about how they are treated by others while simultaneously showing you notice how they treat others. This may be a little eye-opening if you are seeing someone who is inherently trash and treats people that value as such. (Take note of this for yourself, too!)
In addition to strengthening your relationship with your sig other, getting friendlier with their squad will also allow you to get to know him/her/them better, and it will allow for your schedules to never be an issue. There won’t be things no one wants you included in or you don’t want to be included in from grabbing drinks to friend’s birthday dinners. Furthermore, you can also ask them for advice on gifts, surprises, or planning special things for your person.
Here’s how to do it:
Remove gender from the equation.
Don’t sexualize compliments you pay them, like you wouldn’t sexualize compliments to your homies even if they are of your preferred sex you date. It will come off sus. Try to stick to complimenting their taste or their work (“I really like those sneakers!”) rather than a physical attribute of theirs. Same goes for judgements about them and to them. For example, if you are a man in a conversation with your girlfriend and one of her girlfriends shares a story of her sexual exploits, don’t say anything slut-shame-y to her, because you definitely wouldn’t to a guy friend of yours or hers.
Similarly, should you be in a position you meet someone new they are dating, offer genuine feedback should they ask or it seems appropriate. Bro code goes out the window for your friends, and you definitely don’t know this new person.
Have a presence for important things in their lives.
Be it a birthday, a new job or an engagement announcement, send your congratulations or well wishes. Once you reach a point where you can be friends with them on social media, this is easy. A quick celebratory response to an Instagram story is simple.
If you want to go above and beyond, you can show up to things you and your significant other would’ve otherwise if your person is out of town or can’t make it. Big birthday party of your significant other’s best friend and he or she is traveling for work? Just stop by, say hello, and say happy birthday. You would’ve been there if you’re person was home for it anyways.
Treat them how you’d like them to treat you.
While this seems fairly obvious, this is where boundaries come in. Perhaps there’s one friend that is a little too friendly for your liking. Without being rude, you can steer the friendship by giving off the same energy you want to receive whether it’s through body language, online, or even in the way you speak to each other. If there are topics the friends want to discuss with you or in front of you that you are not cool with, simply excuse yourself. You can say things like, “I’m going to let you guys handle this amongst yourselves,” and separate yourself.
Conversely, if you’re cool with whatever, listen and engage just like you would with your friends. You should be mindful that these are his/her/their friends, though, so don’t bitch and complain about your person to them. You can go to them with guidance should you expect something is bothering them, but that’s strictly for if you are looking out for your person and they seem to be struggling opening up. However, be conscious that it’s likely it will get back to them.
Finally, just treat them how you treat your friends. As long as you aren’t scheming on your friends, you should be good. If you are, stop that shit.