Meredith was explaining to Alex (who is supposed to be trying to be her new best friend since Christina moved away) that his job was to answer every text from her, even if he was in the middle of having sex. Which he had been.
She said that "The Pause" is one of the rules of friendship. Real friends will stop whatever they are doing--and spouses and lovers just need to get used to it--to respond and be present. The text wasn't even an SOS text.. it had simply said something along the lines of "What are you up to?"
I wondered if, as an advocate for friendship, I was supposed to agree with her rule that gave such priority to friendship?
But I don't. I definitely don't. Our marriages/family are a priority and bonding time should never be interrupted. But even if we don't interrupt "moments" that doesn't mean we shouldn't interrupt our lives for each other.
With that said, there are a few more times I do think women, in general, should be willing to hit pause on romance/family for the sake of our friendships.
The Rules for "Pausing" Romance for our Friendship
Our reputations precede us when it comes to how much more important we think romance is than friendship. We have left a wake of broken and missed friendships in our past because we haven't practiced pausing the love in our homes to keep up the love in our circle of friends. Here are a few places I think we can afford to pause romance in order to maintain friendships:
- Hit pause on romance when you're on a girls weekend: I had someone write me last week and describe how thrilled she was to finally go on a weekend-away with a friend she hadn't seen in years, but then felt disappointed by her friend who called to talk with her husband throughout every day. It left her walking beside a friend who was on the phone a lot feeling like even when she had her friend, she wasn't really with her. I love my husband and could talk to him all day long and want to tell him everything... but GirlFriends, come on, we can go a day or two without having to catch him up on everything in real-time. On a girls weekend? Then tell your lover you'll see him when you get home or call only when it doesn't leave your friend out. On a romantic weekend? Same thing! Tell your friend/sister/mother you won't be calling for a few days and gift your lover with your undivided attention. In other words-- give your undivided attention to whomever you're with.
- Hit pause on romance when it's new to make sure your friends still feel their importance. I've seen and heard A LOT about women ignoring their friends for new love. Even if what we think we want is 24/7 with some new romantic interest, we will tell him/her "As much as I'd love to spend the whole weekend with you, I have a standing date with my friend on Sunday mornings so I can't get together until after that." Communicating you have a life and good friends can only improve a healthy relationship!
- Hit pause on romance/family when you're busy and time is limited. Yes life is full, no one is minimizing that. But if having friendships is important then the intimacy has to be maintained with ongoing love and connection. We will not go MIA on consequential relationships just because we're distracted with a busy life. We will fit in the important people, including our friends, even if it takes time we could give to family/romance. We will find creative ways to make sure that
- Hit pause on romance even if he doesn't go out with his friends. Many a couple, myself included, feel like they get almost all their needs met in each other, being married to their best friend. It can be hard to give up time with him-- I love being with him. But we have to carve out the time and perhaps say, "If left to my own tendencies, I'd probably just spend every moment with you, but it's important for me to make/keep my friendships so please don't take it personally that I need to go out at least once a week to maintain my friendships." We HAVE to peel ourselves away from family to give time to our friendships... the more we do it, the more meaningful those times with them will be. Our goal is to have a wide support circle made up of many different kinds of love and connection in our lives.
- Hit pause on romance even in the midst of engagement and wedding euphoria. With many women getting engaged this month and lots of weddings being planned this spring, it makes sense that woman are rightfully caught up in their love stories. No need to feel guilt about that! But we do need to hit pause to not only still make time for our friends, but also to make time for their lives when we are together. We don't need to only talk about the wedding. We can hit pause and ask them about their lives, being intentional to make sure we're thoughtful of what they are feeling and experiencing.
I'm all for love. Lots of it! So no need to choose one or the other-- all love is important!
This Valentines weekend, even if we're caught up in romantic love, we can still pause in some way, to remind our friends that we love them and can't wait until our next get-together. That's what friends do.
p.s. What rules so you wish you could set? What hurts you the most that your friends do when they're dating? Do you find it hard to go out with friends when your lover doesn't? Share with us! :)