clearly we like our friends. we like them for being who they are. that’s what friendship is. appreciating our friends for everything they are, positives, areas of opportunity (hello corporate america) differences from ourselves and everything in between. this is why our friends usually last though the roller coaster ride that is the twenty/thirty something dating life. we look to them to give their rational opinion of the people we date, and often really listen to what they have to say. and if we are lucky, the people we date, become friends of our friends. they fit in, and our protectors accept them and life is good.
but before we get to the point where a significant other makes it through to ‘friend’ status, we usually put our core group through quite a bit of shenanigans with all the people we date. and i wonder, do we expect too much of our friends and their support and effort through OUR navigation of the dating process? well, ok, i expect a lot of my friends in general. so maybe i’ll rephrase. why is it that we are so quick to put our friends- our support system- in unfair, confusing and difficult positions while we are dating?
let me explain. we start seeing someone, and usually we see them one on one for a while (while we get to know each other) and then comes the friend introduction. this is usually a very important step in the dating game. we introduce this person to our friends for a multitude of reasons. 1. we are excited about this new suitor and want our friends to know the person that we think is so great. 2. we want our friends’ opinions- because, honestly, they do a much better job of staying rational about judgement on who is good for us and who is not once we get emotionally involved with a datee. 3. we want our datee to know our friends (our support system, our family) because our friends DO mean so much to us, and we love them for all they are. 4. but ultimately, we want our friends to make our datee feel as loved, welcomed, awesome, and supported as they make us feel.
and that is a lot to ask of our friends. friendships are hard. sometimes even more so than romantic relationships. they take energy and effort and emotional work. so to ask our friends to just accept a new friend into the group because we ’said so’ (in our emotionally and ‘carnally’ influenced state) is a large request. and often, because our friends want us to be happy, they oblige. and usually, the beginning of this friendship with the datee is not easy. it takes work. effort to get to know the datee, what their interests are, what their background is, etc. basically, the friends must play the dating game on a non romantic level to get to know everything there is to know about this new person. (and we all know how HARD dating is with someone we are ROMANTICALLY interested in)
so, as friends, we put in all this work and effort because we love our friend. and they deserve to be happy. and we want to do anything we can to increase their chances of being happy (read: entertaining the revolving door of datees that comes through). and during this process we usually don’t get to see our friend without the datee, cause that is how the early stages of dating are. and we go with this because we would rather see our friend than not, even if it means that we have to see their datee too, and put in work and effort.
so here comes the unfair part. we expect our friends to put in all this effort to get to know, and hang out with the people we are dating. and then we break up, or change how we feel about the datee, and expect our friends to just break up with them too. and this is understandable, at certain levels. but, obviously, this gets really tricky when the datee is around for any particular amount of time. because we get used to having them around. we have put in the effort to create a friendship, and then are expected to just ditch all the efforts because the emotional/carnal needs/desires/feelings of our beloved friend have changed.
it just seems like a lot. and i feel like it is unfair. now, don’t get me wrong. i have no IDEA how this could go any differently. and i love my friends, and usually have no terrible judgement on who they date (and if i do, its rational and i tell them), but stepping back and looking at the situation rationally gives me this weird ‘oh my gosh why is it like this’ feeling.
dating is hard. friendships are hard. because anything worth anything takes effort. but it seems like we expect our friends put SO much effort into OUR dating lives- all while they are trying to navigate through their own dating lives. and i mean. they do this to us too. but, i just feel like there has to be an easier way! why all this effort?!
i guess it all comes down to the fact that we love the people in our lives, and because of the nature of love, we put them through hell, and expect them to do the same. what is WITH our crazy human brains?!