Birds are singing, colors have never looked so vibrant, food never tasted this good, etc. etc., and surely, the world must be taking notice that you’re absolutely bursting with love. Here’s the thing, though: This big life change you’re going through — especially if you’re about to get married — is also a big change for your loved ones. And no one may feel this change more acutely than your BFF.
There’s a good chance she’s thrilled for you, in which case, bring on the many, many champagne-fueled events. But in the instance that she’s feeling a little left out, rest assured that a.) this is pretty normal, and b.) there’s a lot you can do to ensure you’re there for her during this time, just as you expect she’ll be there for you.
Below, Molly Guy Rosen, creative director of Stone Fox Bride, shares seven tips for taking care of your friendships ahead of the big day, from her book Stone Fox Bride: Love, Lust, and Wedding Planning For The Wild At Heart.
Not all love is created equal
Do not demote your best friend when you get married. That whole “husband/wife-as-best-friend” thing is weird propaganda that only exists in Paul Rudd movies. Your husband or wife is not your best friend! Repeat after me! Your husband or wife is your husband or wife! Your best friend is your best friend. They should fulfill two totally different roles in your life.
Your husband or wife is your lover, your life partner, your co-homeowner/renter, and (maybe) your co-parenter. Your best friend is the person who knows your every weirdest, darkest secret, who is always there to bitch to over a glass of wine, who immediately understands how you’re feeling, and who knew you before you were married. You need her now more than ever. Plus, when you keep your best friendships strong, there’s less pressure on your husband or wife to fulfill all your emotional needs.
Make room for change
So things will be different between you and your BF. You’re now sharing your space and your life with someone else full-time. Some (or all) of your crazy codependent text messages, phone calls, and marathon hangout sessions will probably become things of the past. That’s normal. If, all of a sudden, you experience a ton of tension, trust that it’s part of the process. Even though your impulse might be to say, “Fuck this, I can’t deal,” remember that you can. Breathe through the discomfort. Time will tell what happens next. You will most likely hit your BF stride again soon.
Talk it out…
Create a safe space to discuss your fears. Invite your BF out for a drink and open up the floor to shoot the shit about the crazy changes happening in your life. Maybe your friend is really secure and is like, Great! Peace out. Love that you met your soulmate. Let me know when you want to hang next.But, most likely, she will be feeling some mixed emotions — happy for you, but sad that your friendship is changing. Don’t judge her for that. Say something like: Yes, I met someone and I’m getting married, but I still love you. You’re my best friend, and I need you. Our friendship is going to go through an insane transition, but we’re going to weather it together. Then get wasted and google penis pics of Orlando Bloom.
…But don’t dish dirt
You can absolutely use your best friend as a sounding board to talk about the deep, dark stuff in your marriage — but check yourself before you do it. If something really stressful is going on or you haven’t seen your friend in a while, your impulse might be to unload and dive right into some juicy personal gossip. But ask yourself if you’re being confessional just for the sake of being confessional . . . and if this is really information that needs to be shared. You might not want to talk about the scary health issues your mother-in-law is having, or money troubles your husband or wife is experiencing. Ask yourself: How would I feel if the tables were turned and my husband or wife was sharing these things about me? Absolutely confide in your friend if these things are directly affecting you and you need advice. But blabbing on just out of boredom? Not cool. Have boundaries, baby.
You might feel like your world has just turned upside down, but that doesn’t give you license to talk only about yourself! In fact, you should try doing the opposite: Invite your friend to dinner, apologize in advance for being so self-centered lately, and spend the night asking questions about her life and actually listening to what she has to say (instead of waiting until it’s your turn to talk about yourself). Once, when I was having a crisis at work and had been talking about myself nonstop for months, I took my friend Rachel to brunch, set my phone timer for thirty minutes, told her to fill me in on everything going on in her life, and put a piece of masking tape over my mouth. I also recommend scheduling bimonthly friend dates. P.S. You are absolutely forbidden from ever even suggesting that you bring your husband or wife out on a friend date!
Give up the fight
If your BF and your husband or wife just don’t like each other, it’s not up to you to force them into a friendship. It’s a terrible situation for sure, but it’s made a hundred times worse when you make them hang out with you at the same time. Best thing to do is to acknowledge it: “I know that you don’t like ______, but he/she’s my guy/gal and this is hard for me to navigate. Please just try to be pleasant when you see him/her and remember how important he/she is to me.” You may need to make a similar appeal to your husband or wife. Then take a deep breath and let it go.
It’s hard to have an honest, uncensored convo in your apartment when your husband or wife is home — so why not kick ’em out of the house every now and then? Tell him or her to plan their own friends’ night, or coordinate when he or she is out of town for a business trip, so that you can have some alone time in your own space with your girlfriends. Toss some pillows on the floor, pop open some wine, order Chinese takeout, and make like it’s old times.
Excerpted from Stone Fox Bride by Molly Rosen Guy. Copyright © 2017 by Molly Rosen Guy. Excerpted by arrangement with Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.