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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m in a brand-new relationship with a man, and I am in love. We talk constantly and never get bored with each other. Naturally, this new relationship has become a high priority in my life. Unfortunately, my best friend is feeling neglected. She is what I would call a high-maintenance friend. She becomes upset with me when we haven’t spoken for a few days and is starting to demand a lit- tle bit more of my time than usual. I don’t think that I’ve abandoned my friend just because of my new relationship, but she seems to feel that way. What should I do? — Still My Best Friend
DEAR STILL MY BEST FRIEND: Carve out an afternoon to spend with your best friend. Let your boyfriend know that it is important to you to spend some quality time with her so that you can be fully present with her and not thinking about connecting with him. Talk to her. Acknowledge that you know things are different: You have fallen in love and are having fun with this man. You realize that you don’t have as much free time as you once did to hang out with her because he is your priority right now. Assure her that you are not dumping her. Ask her to be patient. You want to give this relationship a chance, which means you are choosing to put in a lot of time. Promise that you won’t forget her or abandon her. But, for now, you need her to cut you some slack.
When you are with your boyfriend, make sure he understands how close you and your best friend are and that it’s important to you that he and she get to know each other. Ultimately, you will have to navigate these relationships carefully so that you can keep them both. It is common for best friends to feel left out when love enters. It is also possible to have both relationships if you work hard to maintain them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex and I dated for two years, and we spent a lot of time together. He got to know my whole friend group, which was nice at the time. Our breakup was terrible. He cheated with a woman that most of us know, and everything got ugly. Now, six months later, I realize that my friends haven’t split from him — at least not on social media. I want my friends to unfollow my ex. I hate when I see them interact with his posts in any way. I don’t want to seem salty, but I feel that their allegiance should be to me and not my ex-boyfriend. How do I address this? — Unfollow Him
DEAR UNFOLLOW HIM:
You cannot control your friends. A challenge that often happens when people are in long-term relationships that include friend groups is that the split is not just between the couple; it includes (or doesn’t include) the friends who have become part of your fold. You cannot automatically get all of them to walk away from him. You can talk to them and remind them of the reasons for your breakup. Especially given that he cheated on you, you can point out how much he hurt you and that you really need them to be in your corner now. Ask them to stop engaging him. But then back off. Make sure you stop looking at his social media. Step away entirely. When you have done that, it will be easier to ignore whatever engage- ment he has with any of your people.