Dear Friends in Relationships,
While you are my friends and I do like your significant others, sometimes I miss hanging out with you. This is a general rule, and the only exception is if, as a result of your relationship, you’ve either a.) forgotten that I exist or b.) started talking down on me because I’m suddenly beneath you and I can’t possibly understand what your life is like now. While this doesn’t apply to all of my coupled friends, it’s a general issue that’s been bothering me. Please let me explain.
Once upon a time, you and I used to get together and hang out. We’d laugh and have a good time and do stupid things that we enjoyed doing. We talked and kept up with each other’s lives. Now when I want to hang out with you, you’ve got to ask someone’s permission. Please understand that every time you say something to the effect of “I don’t know what we’re doing. I’ll ask [insert name here] and get back to you if we don’t have anything going on,” it breaks my heart a little. Since when do you have to answer to someone? What’s wrong with making plans with me and telling your significant other that you’ll have to hang out later? Please try to understand that I don’t mean this in a way that is purposefully trying to alienate anyone. I’m not even singling people out. I’m simply frustrated with being good enough for someone as long as there’s no better option (and that applies to everyone, not just friends in relationships). I’m tired of being a back up plan or a second or third string friend. I’m not interested in bench warming. Put me in, coach.
Please, please, please… try to refrain from saying things to me like, “You don’t understand.” I think you underestimate me, for I understand perfectly well. I understand that you’re happy and excited, and I’m happy for you. I just hate that now when I want to hang out with you, I can only do so if I volunteer to become an automatic third wheel. There are few things that I hate worse than being a third wheel, especially when it means that I have to sit there awkwardly pretending not to notice two people pawing all over each other, feeding each other, making out, and generally making me feel like I’m not really wanted there as they’d rather be spending time alone. I’m not opposed to change because I know that all relationships and friendships have to grow and evolve, otherwise they cease to be. I just wish you didn’t treat me sometimes like I’m a little kid just because you’re in a relationship and I’m not.
I also understand that everyone has stuff going on in life. That includes me, even though I’m sure you don’t see it that way since, what do I really have to do except sit around and look for jobs, right? If you’d talk to me, you’d know there are other things going on in my life. Social networking is a poor excuse for keeping up with someone, especially if you don’t make any attempt to interact with the stuff I post (i.e., talk to me). Sure, you might know the rudimentary details of whatever mundane thing I decide to put up there, but would it kill you to say hi sometimes? Would it kill you to maybe answer me when I try to make conversation with you?
And if you happen to be the one person I am legitimately really angry with, you will know it by this: stop trying to use people in order to make your life easier. It’s not fair for you to even ask. I’m angry with you because you’re trying to use people I love. You wouldn’t know that I feel like this because the last EIGHT times I’ve tried to make plans with you, you’ve been busy with your boyfriend.
Finally, please understand that I’m not trying to be a jerk when I say this, but if I’m going to be serious about not letting people walk all over me, then I’ve got to enforce some rules. A rule that I’ve held for a while and followed sometimes better than others is this: if I make three attempts at communicating with you in any way (online, email, text message, whatever) and you don’t respond, I’m going to leave the ball in your court and you can come find me. That’s the rule I’m generally applying to everyone, so don’t feel like I’m singling anyone out. Don’t feel like I hate your boyfriends/fiances/husbands, because I don’t. I really, really don’t. It’s just that sometimes I just want to hang out with you.
If this makes you angry, I’m sorry. It’s just how I feel.