DAME’s Friendkeeper gives a pep talk to a woman with a perfect BFF, and helps a party planner navigate a break-up in her close-knit crew.
I have a relatively large but close-knit circle of friends that I hang out with regularly. We have BBQs, birthday dinners, cocktail parties, and even celebrate many holidays together. This crew is made up of a number of couples, many of whom are married or have been together for quite a few years. One couple has recently split. It was pretty amicable, but still—they’re freshly single after living together. And both are going through all of the emotions you’d expect. So, how do the rest of us deal with the breakup? Do we alternate invitations between each half of the former couple? Do we invite them both and expect one to decline? Do we hide all the sharp objects if they both show up? Can we keep them both part of the crew or do we have to vote one off the island? Please help! I’ve got an Oscar party to plan!
Don’t Make Me Choose
Wow! I’m really impressed that you do that much socializing! Cocktail parties, BBQs, birthdays…are Jeff Goldblum and Glenn Close in your group? Seriously, I never get invited to parties unless they are connected to work or family members who have to invite me. You think it’s me? Oh, sorry, not your question. Yes. Navigating the split-ups is a thing that happens more and more as we grow up. Sometimes the couple makes it easy, like when my uncle left my aunt for another woman and moved to Japan. See? Decision made. Invite my aunt. But more often than not the reasons are less dramatic, and the people are still around and alone and sad and all that stuff. The good news is, although it’s very admirable that you’re concerned about them and the best way to handle it, it’s really not your problem—it’s theirs. In the same way divorced couples have to negotiate the shared custody with their kids or pets, they have to determine what is best in their social lives. It may be that it will be fine for them to both hang out at happenings. At least initially. When you break up there are so many blecchy changes in your life, you want some things to stay the same. All you need to do is tell them both you love them and they are both invited and if they decide that’s not comfortable for them, they can come up with the plan to alternate. And if they can’t make it to the Oscar party, I’m free that night.
My best friend is fun, sweet, super smart, and fantastically gorgeous. Everyone loves her. I love being with her, but I confess to having moments of extreme, unattractive jealousy when I’m out with her, especially in a place where we are out to meet guys. I’m not the worst-looking person in the world, but I could lose a few (or 30) pounds, and my hair always seems to be in some stage of growing out. I really don’t feel that bad about myself except when I’m out with my friend. It isn’t her fault obviously, but it’s gotten to where I go out with her and feel like there’s a giant L on my head. I know when anyone comes over to us, they are there to talk to her, and I go home and eat and watch TV and vow to never do it again. But like I said, she’s fun and I do love her.
Under a Rock
I think you’re wrong—it is her fault! Why can’t she wear a big, fake warty nose and blacken a tooth and gain 50 pounds? If she was really a good friend…. Of course I’m joking! First, let me say, brava to you for admitting that you feel jealous. I think it’s the hardest emotion to cop to. Second, I know all too well this scene you speak of. I have this friend, and when we were younger this was us. Not only was she super hot, dressed amazingly sexy never looking like she was trying, had a great figure, and waist-length blonde curly hair, but she was also a phenomenal dancer. Me? Not any of those things. Fred “Rerun” Berry could rock his dance moves, but on me they just looked plain silly. I would walk (or slink, I should say) into a bar with her, sit down on a stool, and wait for the guys to flock to her. She was the Princess Bride and I was Valerie, Carol Kane’s character.
Several years later, I bumped into a guy we used to see at the bar we mostly hung out in. He told me that during that time, he had a crush on me. ME! Why didn’t he act on it? Well, he said I seemed very disinterested and unapproachable. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was putting out a vibe that essentially rejected me before anyone else could. I wanted to go back and put my better self-image (which for me came from age and understanding that there is a lot more to me than my split ends) inside my old self. I bet I would’ve had a totally different outcome. Sure my friend was fabulous, but her fabulosity didn’t erase my nice qualities. Have you ever worn something new and different and you’re sure everyone is looking at you? And then after you’ve had it for a while, you don’t even think of it? It’s the same kind of thing. You are comparing yourself to her with criteria you assume everyone is using. I once dated a guy who told me he liked the scar between my eyebrows because he didn’t like perfect faces. (It wasn’t a scar, it was a wrinkle from frowning at guys who felt the need to be honest with me about my imperfections.) I bet if I watched you with your friend I’d see your body language change, and your vibe darken. See if you can be conscious of that. Also, talk to your friend about your feelings. It’s amazing how people, who, to the rest of us seem to have everything, feel about themselves (and you!).
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