What to Do When a Friend Starts Seeing Someone

What to Do When a Friend Starts Seeing Someone
A Five-Point Plan

Losing a close friend to a romantic relationship is painful for anyone. For quirkyalones, people for whom friendship is the bedrock of our worldview, the process can be even more dramatic. The following five-point plan will help you cope with the immediate feelings of loss, grief, and/or jealousy, and segue into a mature acceptance.

Mourn the loss. Don’t try to pretend you have completely unconflicted emotions about the sudden unavailability of what used to be your other half. You’re not fooling anyone. Acknowledge that while the first reaction might be happiness, you also have sadness, mixed with chagrin; you want to be excited for your friend but you are worried about losing your partner in crime. It’s okay. Sit with those feelings. Let them stew.

Vent. You need to express your fears of abandonment, but probably not to your friend. Talk with other members of your circle.

Chill out. Now that you have aired your anxieties, relax. In most cases, the sexual frenzy will subside after the first few months and the friendship will resume. In the meantime, put renewed emphasis on friends who are available and try not to lose perspective. You have not lost your friend—she is just mentally on vacation.

Assert yourself. If your friend truly disappears into the vortex, you have a decision to make. Do you want to stage an intervention? Buy two tickets for a play, movie, or game. Express that you want to see your friend independently—”just the two of us.”

Open yourself to new possibilities. Friends are not replaceable or interchangeable. But if this individual is determined to spend all her or his time cocooning in bed, you may need to allow more kindred spirits into your life. Open yourself up to the possibilities of new friendships—especially with quirkyalones and quirkytogethers.

Let it run its course. Sometimes the only thing to do is nothing. Friendship—like romantic love—cannot be forced. You really can’t stalk a friend. In most cases, a friend will return from her seclusion. Or she may remain MIA. If the time is right, and the relationship is meant to continue, the friendship will evolve and return. When you friend comes back, she may be sheepish. She may be clueless. She may be just as tortured as you about the threat of a broken friendship.

Continued in Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics

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