Have you ever lost touch with a friend after the get a new partner? One day, you’re best buds doing best bud stuff, then they meet someone new and the next thing you know you haven’t seen or heard from your friend in a year. What I’m talking about isn’t when you see your friends less than you used to when they start dating someone, I’m talking about full-on cuts contact with their friends. It’s one thing if you hung out with your friends every weekend but now you don’t see them as often because they’re boo’d up. It’s another thing to go from once daily/weekly/bi-weekly/monthly hangouts to “Have you guys heard from Chad? I haven’t seen or heard from him since he got with his new girlfriend”. One of these is an inevitability. As we get older and our friends get married, or have kids, or buy a pet or something, you’ll see them less. That’s different from just cutting people off. That’s preventable.
Now, some quick caveats. If you are in a relationship and during the relationship you realize that your friends are really just friendly enemies, that’s completely different. Drop people who wish you harm, not the one who help you along the way. This also excludes the folks who relocate and lose contact to a certain extent with their friends because of proximity. To be clear, I’m talking about folks who make a decision, whether through their actions or inactions, to isolate themselves from the people who care for them. Caveats covered, let’s move on.
I don’t want to get into the motivations behind why people make the choice between their friends and/or family in favor of their partner, let’s talk about what dropping people from your life because of a new love actually means:
You lose your support system
Again, assuming you have actual friends and not friendly enemies, your friends function as your support system. Whether you’ve ever called on them for support doesn’t matter, but know that if you’ve got friends worth their salt, they will support you when you need them. They cheer you when you succeed, comfort you when you fail, and are around when the going gets tough. You lose that when you cut your friends off. Who will go to bat for someone who wouldn’t go to bat for them? You might be able to reconcile your friendships if your relationship ends, which it inevitably will, but even if you can reconcile you’ll still be seen as the type of friend who bails when you’re in love. No one likes or even respects that person, if we’re being honest here. If you’re a fair weather friend, don’t expect that anyone will rush to help you when the skies turn grey. When you need that support, it wont be there.
Isolation begets loneliness
Humans, like most intelligent organisms that we know of, are social animals. Pretty much all the studies that have been conducted that look at humans and isolation show that socializing is something we need to do and that it actually makes us happy. Yes, even introverts. Oh and that isolation is actually bad for our health. Social isolation is actually harmful to us on a mental, emotional and physical level. You might not think of it as isolation because you’re isolating with someone else, but trust me, it’s still isolation. Which makes you lonely. Which can make you physically ill. The worst part will be that by the time you realize you’re lonely and need someone to talk to about your loneliness, chances are good your friends will have lost the enthusiasm to hang out with you.
You’ll blame everyone but yourself
You might start thinking to yourself that the way your friends act around you now that you’ve isolated yourself is a little bit different. They’re less warm, open up a lot less, and probably regard you with a certain amount of suspicion. The thing is, they aren’t wrong for doing this. If I’m friends with someone, it means that I trust them and feel like I can depend on them to a certain degree. If someone opts out of our friendship by essentially ghosting on you, that trust and feeling like you can depend on them is out the window. Thinking of it like ghosting and dating helps. If you were dating someone and they ghosted, let’s say for 3 months, and then they come back and want to go back to the way things were, can they? Would you just accept an apology and go back to the way things were? I’m guessing not.
People grow to resent you AND your partner
Invariably, the feeling of missing a friend will turn into resentment. People resent the absence of something they once cherished. That resentment will more than likely apply to both you and your partner. Not to get too morbid here, but think about the way people talk about tragic deaths. People hate Cancer (with good reason), but look at the way we talk about Cancer, especially when we’ve lost someone to it. “Fuck Cancer!”, right? No one says “Fuck dying of old age!”.Less intense, and way less morbid, you know what your friends are saying about your partner who they think is the reason you’re no longer in their lives? Fuck them, and probably also, Fuck you.
People genuinely miss you
It’s easy for me to say all the negatives and all that, but when it gets right down to it, people are going to miss you. Putting aside the potential resentment, feelings of abandonment, or the shift in your interpersonal relationships, the people you drop will just straight up miss you a lot of the time. People are friends with people they genuinely care for, and all snark aside, losing someone you care for hurts. A lot. Especially when the solution is a simple phone call, or text, or impromptu hang out. You don’t have to choose between your friends and your partner. Even if one dislikes the other, you need to find a balance. You can commit to growing your platonic relationships and your romantic relationship if you really want to and you’re willing to work at it.
There are people I would give anything to see just one more time who I’ll never get to see again, so when people choose to purposely remove themselves from other people’s lives, I just don’t get it. If you’ve cut off some friends, solid genuine friends, and you’re wondering how to reconcile or where to start, just apologize and take things from there. Sometimes we cut people off not out of malice, but we just get swept up in a whirlwind relationship. It’s okay if it happens, as long as you work to repair any damage done. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough, there really isn’t a need to be stubborn about this. Would you rather be proud and alone, or humbled by people who love you? I think it’s safe to say that all of us isolate a little bit when we meet someone new, or start a new job, or have a kid, or whatever milestone you can think of, and then we reach out to our friends and apologize about our absence. If we can do this on a small-scale, I know we can do that on a big scale. If you’re willing to work at it, you’d be surprised by how often saying just saying sorry and committing to being a better friend can help repair a broken friendship.
Good Luck Out There.