| BOWEN MARSHALL
Then I thought, “What am I going to do with all of my time? Who will fill this hole in my life?” And, unfairly and selfishly, “Why is she abandoning me?”
I lost no time and set out on the friend prowl. Like Kate and Matt in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, I was determined to find someone. Only this time the ante wasn’t a promotion, it was looking for a Columbus-based friendmate who would embrace my inner awesomeness.
When we are looking for a romantic partner, the rules are clear. You go out, get your heart broken and turn to your best friend for support. But when you are dating for friends, are there rules? And more importantly, if there are rules, what are they?
To answer this question, I turned to one of my childhood besties and worked out a brief survival guide to friend dating borne out of our combined years of being on different friend markets.
- You’re gonna be lonely. Be careful of the friend rebound. Just like a romantic rebound, it’s all too easy to bounce into the arms of a new friend and end up rejecting them, not because they couldn’t have been a great friend, but because you’re not ready for the friendship.
- Look for people who will stand up to you. I’ve always said, if people won’t stand up to me, they won’t stand up for me. Sometimes I’m not the best of friends, and I want people who will call me on my bull. I’ve found that if they are willing to do this to me, they will stand up for me when I’m not around.
- Take note of the cling factor. If you feel like someone is texting you all the time and getting clingy, that may be a sign to back off from friend dating. I’ve found that the only difference between finding someone clingy versus excitedly texting them back is my level of interest in that person.
- Not every friend date leads to a bestie. Sometimes a bar friend is a bar friend and that’s okay. It’s okay to have different friends for different social settings. If someone doesn’t translate into multiple social circles, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great time with him once in a while.
- Friend Around: go on multiple friend dates with multiple people. Hang out in friend groups and see how they behave around the other friends that you enjoy and value. If they don’t get along with the people you care about, then maybe they don’t deserve the “bestie” spot.
- Beware of frenemies. You deserve people who build you up and are there for you when you are down. I think of frenemies not as people who are actively trying to hurt me, but as people who are careless with my feelings or who throw shade about me when I’m not around.
- Your friend is just a phone call away…but they’re grieving too. So, before you launch into your latest friend dish or trial of social angst, ask how they’re doing. Remember that you’re not replacing them, but it can sometimes feel like that. Be mindful and avoid comparing a new potential bestie to your existing bestie.
With the new year comes new relationships and new friends. Hopefully this friend-dating survival guide helps as you meet new people in the new year.
And hey, remember that Skype means you can still share a pint of ice cream with your best friend, though don’t try to feed your friend through the screen. That’s just messy.