Your Friends' Relationships

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what's appropriate behavior for single individuals who are good friends with 2 folks in a relationship.

Back in high school, there weren't a lot of rules on this. For one, we were in high school. For two, it was a small school, even smaller black community. This meant there was a good chance that a friend of yours was dating one of your exes at any given time. This also meant there was an excellent chance that two good friends of yours were in a relationship at any given time. I can recall seeing and participating in inappropriate behaviors because I was young and dumb. In word we all acted like we were cool with seeing another girl sitting in our b/f's laps or watching our boyfriends hold the hand of another girl as they walked around campus. But in reality, I know no one was.

Anyway, that was high school. This is the real world. And as much as I say and believe that life is just high school on repeat, I also think we oughta be doing some things a little differently. So what is appropriate behavior? And more importantly, why is being cognizant of all this important? Some is obvious. I mean you shouldn't be groping folks who are in relationships. You should be mindful of their significant other's presence, whether you know said SO or not. But why do we do that?

Not too long ago I was at a party with some new friends of mine. Late into the evening as the party was winding down and I was splayed out on the couch, a friend walked up and sat down next to me. He actually practically sat right on top of me as he chose the end of the couch I was closest to as his seat. He put his arm around me as if to give me a quick side hug and I did the same. All was good until I realized he wasn't moving his arm and the longer I sat there the more I realized he was... well... holding me. A few moments later, I noticed his hand rubbing my shoulder. It was about that time his girlfriend, who I'm better friends with, walked up and just began staring at us.

It's important to note here that I was aware they were having some issues. I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but this whole being in the middle of 2 folks in a relationships with issues thing is not new to me, no matter what I do.

She didn't say anything for a bit, but I immediately began wrestling my arm out of the awkward hold it was in and I stood up. As I walked past her, she asked me if I was trying to steal him from her. She was drunk, and I knew it but I wasn't sure if she was joking. I guess I paused too long because she quickly asserted that she had been joking. I laughed it off and walked away.

The next night, she and I along with 2 other friends were hanging out when I brought that story up (she'd also asked me a few other odd questions, in her drunken stupor). I wanted to know that we really were good. As I filled the other girls in on what happened, she looked at us and said, "he never does that with me..."

"What?" I asked cautiously, thinking (though in hindsight, maybe hoping) she thought more was going on than it actually was.

"Cuddle with me like that. He doesn't like to do that."

Record scratch...

And in that moment, I added one more reason to be careful what you do with someone's boo, harmless or not, intentional or not: you never know what problems they're having and how your "innocent" actions might exacerbate the situation.

1 comment:

T. Tappan said...

Wow! Drama, drama, drama!

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