When you’re in love, spending every second with your significant other (SO) can feel like the best thing in the world. Watching reruns and eating pizza becomes your favorite way to spend an evening, so long as they’re by your side. Where do your friends fit in, though — and is being together every second together healthy?
A good friend will support you and listen, but friendships go both ways. If you’re continually blowing off time with your besties, you can expect a bit of frustration. Without balance, you may start losing the people you care about.
How do you balance friends and relationships without hurting someone’s feelings? Keep reading to discover six ways to strike a healthy balance.
1. Communicate Openly
How can you possibly know how your friends feel if you do not communicate? Speak openly about your thoughts and feelings, but remember to listen to them as well. Ask your friends to reach out to you if you feel neglectful. Be transparent and recognize your limitations — often, other people will notice red flags before you do. There’s power in relying on a support network.
It’s also important to convey your intentions to your SO. Make sure you are both on the same page regarding time commitments. If they are under the impression that you’ll be spending every second together, that could spell future dilemmas between you and friends.
2. Create a Schedule
Simplify the balancing act by making a schedule. Dedicate a specific day each week — or biweekly — to meet up with friends. If you’re forgetful, schedule times to reach out. Set an alert on your phone, and when it pops up, send them a message. This way, you’ll be sure to stay in touch with those you care about.
Likewise, do the same with your special someone. Share your schedule with your loved ones so they know what days you’ve already committed. It’s OK to be unavailable if something comes up, but scheduling hangouts in advance will reduce the chances of you ditching out on your friends. It also will decrease the number of awkward group dates you have each month.
3. Keep Your Commitments
If you make plans, be sure to keep them. Reschedule rather than cancel if something comes up. Your friends will be grateful to spend time with you, and your SO will be impressed with your reliability.
You’ll feel happy and relaxed when you can uphold plans, which will make you a better partner and bestie to those you care about. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the number of commitments you’ve made, it’s better to be open than to bottle up your stress.
4. Stay True to You
Be honest with yourself. The key is to have balance, not make yourself miserable. Balancing friends and relationships can be tricky, but you need to be happy at the end of the day. If you must cancel suddenly, people will understand so long as it doesn’t become a habit. Spend time meditating and reflecting on your friendships and relationships to ensure you stay true to yourself.
5. Hang Together
What better way to balance your time than to hang together? Take a page from the Spice Girls and encourage your SO to spend time getting to know your friends. It’ll be a chance to bond and share memories.
Try to remember that including your date on friends’ night may seem strange at first, but it can be a lot of fun for everyone — just keep PDA to a minimum.
6. Evaluate Priorities
It’s normal to reevaluate your priorities as you age. When you are young and dating casually, the balance between friends and relationships will be different than when you’re married. Most married couples have a few core friends, but their spouse takes precedence. If you’re married, it’s normal to prioritize your relationship above all else. It doesn’t stop you from being a good friend — it merely changes your perspective.
If you have children, these priorities may shift again, especially if your values change.
Sometimes You Can’t Please Everyone
You can’t please everyone — so focus on keeping yourself happy. Decide how you want to spend your time and be prepared to live with your choices. If you can rest easy and feel like you’ve found a balance, then you’re probably doing just fine. Reflect on these six ways to balance friends and relationships and improve however you can.