You talk every day, go out all the time, and make plans for the future. Whenever something funny happens, you text or email each other. Whenever anything shocking happens, they’re the first person you think of to tell.
Then suddenly, you start hearing about George.
George (of indeterminate gender, depending on whether your friend is a boy, girl, gay or straight) starts off as someone they share an interest with. Then someone they discover they have lots more interests in common with. Then someone they’re hanging out with all the time when they’re not with you.
And then, predictably, they hook up with George.
You’re happy for your friend. They’ve met someone they get on really well with, who they have lots in common with. You’re very happy. Really.
But you have to admit – it kind of feels like when George arrived on the scene, you got demoted to a non-speaking part. An expendable extra on set, who no one actually notices exit stage left.
Except you don’t want to exit stage any direction. In fact, you’ve kind of been pushed off stage by your friend’s largely vacant presence.
You get sad. You get pissed off. You alternate between missing your laughs and bitch sessions, to thinking how lame your friend is, and how clearly you were never really friends anyway since they can’t be bothered to make time to meet up anymore.
Then suddenly, maybe six months later, maybe a year, you get a text. Then a call. And you find yourself agreeing to meet up. You catch up over drinks and have a brilliantly fun time, and make plans to meet up the next week.
And just like that, your friend is back.
George is still around. In fact, apparently George is great, and definitely here to stay. But somehow, your friend is managing to balance both George, and life away from George.
Why do so many people disappear into new relationships?
When you find a person you connect with, you feel good in their company. The happiness and fun you experience is like a high – it’s addictive and keeps you coming back for more. So is it any wonder that you want to spend as much time as possible with your newfound addiction? The only problem with addictions is that they can be self-destructive. And in the case of relationships, it can mean potentially harming other relationships in your life.
But the fact is it’s human to fall into the grip of early relationship fever to the detriment of friendships. And it’s up to us, as friends, to be there – whether that’s when it all falls apart and they need a shoulder to cry on, or once they’ve emerged from the honeymoon phase and are ready to balance their lives again. It’s hard being cast aside for someone else. But sometimes being a friend is hard – but hopefully if you stick it out, worth it.