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Relationships

How to Balance Your Relationship and Friendships

I’m blessed with a tight-knit group of friends. I also want to be a fantastic partner to my significant other. How do I balance friendships and a relationship? I’m no expert, but this challenging topic has come up in my past relationships. Frustrated buddies and I agree that it can be hard to walk the line between a love interest and friendships.

Similar to most life lessons, I learned how to balance a relationship and friendships the hard way.

Toward the end of my last relationship, we were rarely spending time together. We allowed life’s distractions to consume our free time, leaving only scattered moments for each other. As you can imagine, spending so much time apart did not help us work through things.

In contrast, my relationship in college ended because she felt like I was somewhat codependent. She believed that I’d stopped pursuing my friendships and ambitions as I solely focused on our relationship. I am not the “Perfect Ben,” as I’ve said many times. But I do know that these failures will help me be a better partner in the future. Here’s what I’ve learned about balancing friendships and a relationship:

1. Different relationship status = different answers

It may seem obvious, but a new person you’re dating does not require the same response as a spouse. A husband or wife needs to be the #1 priority; a new person you’re dating should not replace your friendships.

2. Start with a level playing field

Some of my friends in relationships spend most of their time with their buddies. Others are constantly with their significant others, and I rarely see them. Neither is wrong. However, if one person is always with friends and the other is sitting at home alone every night, then this relationship won’t work very well. Readers who are in a relationship, consider if your S.O. values time with friends on a similar level as you. If your S.O. places a vastly different value on time with friends, consider this a red flag.

In the beginning stages of a dating relationship, I think it’s important to monitor whether your S.O. likes your friends and your friends like your S.O. It can be really hard to navigate your relationship and friendships when nobody likes each other. I’d consider it a red flag. Again, consider what you value.

3. Communicate!

Talk, text, send smoke signals… Just make sure you and your S.O. communicate your expectations to each other — both about your relationship and how you fill your calendar. Some of my married buddies ask their wives before they do ANYTHING. Does this annoy me sometimes? You bet. However, I understand that it’s an expectation the couple needs to maintain, and it can help my friend out before he commits to a guy’s night on his anniversary.

Personally, I’m not in the camp of receiving approval each time before doing something with my buddies. However, I certainly want to communicate and know what my S.O.’s expectations are for that day, week, and month. Additionally, I continually gauge how much time I’m spending with her versus my friends.

Every couple has different expectations of quality time. Some people like to Netflix and chill. My ideas of quality time involves exploring Denver restaurants and having meaningful conversations. It certainly helps to understand your S.O.’s ideas of quality time.

4. Recalibrate

You’re going to fail your S.O. and fail your friends at certain points. With healthy relationships and friendships, we should be able to communicate with each other, recalibrate the relationship, and move on. I should be able to communicate, “Hey babe, I feel like we haven’t hung out recently. Let me take you out to dinner tonight.” If that fails, buy them something fancy (like a necklace or a pair of boots), and then say you’re sorry.

By Jordan Fuller with Ben Higgins

How do you balance your relationship and friendships?

Photo by NAZpicture

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Houston Erwin
    July 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Great post! And very relevant in the millennial time period. There has to be healthy communication of each persons expectation’s and quality time to allow a relationship to flourish.

  • Reply
    Sheila Servis
    July 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Great post. Your articles are very relatable and have so much substance. Sure hope you and your Mom will blog about your time in Honduras 🇭🇳

  • Reply
    Lan
    July 17, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Excellent post. Relationships are about balance. Unfortunately, some relationships fall because certain people believe you have to give up your individuality to be in a relationship. However, they fail to realize that you can have that, and so much more. You just have to find the right partner, and the right balance. Communication definitely plays an integral role in that.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    July 17, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Where can I subscribe?

    • Reply
      Ben Higgins
      July 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      On the home page under “Stay Connected”

      • Reply
        Billie
        August 17, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        I think once you find “THE ONE” you won’t have a problem balancing anything.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    July 18, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Yes this is so difficult and different phases of relationship you tend to need juggle this relationship spouse versus friendship time. It’s like doing a portfolio management when you are not a portfolio manager yet you need to achieve the balance with both.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    July 18, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Good post. Every couple is different, so I like how you focused on the fact that communication is key. My fiancé and I can tell if we haven’t been spending enough time together and try to fix that asap. Can’t forget about love languages too…for example mine is quality time and acts of service. If I feel we haven’t been spending enough quality time together, no gift is going to fix that. Just meaningful time spent together and little things to show me he cares, such as a sweet note or coffee before I head to work.
    Thanks for the read!

    • Reply
      Ben Higgins
      August 1, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Ashley! We happened to be working on a love languages post. We agree, it’s an important concept.

  • Reply
    Mandii
    July 18, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I think it’s important to know your significant others love language as well. I also think that spending time apart from your partner is healthy, you are still a separate person apart from them. Communication is key, and finding someone who brings out the best in you.

  • Reply
    Carmen
    July 27, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Of course it’s important to spend time with friends, even while in a relationship. However….putting your relationship with your friends at the same level as that of your wife/husband is ridiculous. When you enter into marriage, you are putting that person above all else.
    Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    That person is going to have your children, or father your children. You are going to be with them for the rest of your life. To say that your relationship with your friends is at that same level, well, good luck ever having a lasting relationship.
    Also, it’s called respect and consideration to talk to your SO before going out with friends or making decisions. Yikes. I feel sorry for your SO.

  • Reply
    Ashley M.
    August 17, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I absolutely loved this. My husband and I have only been married for 3 years now, but we quickly realized that you HAVE to put God first, and then each other 2nd. Everything else comes afterwards. This includes all things, such as games, work, hobbies, even your phone. After our first year of marriage we figured out that if our priorities aren’t in order, this marriage wouldn’t work. Since we have put them in order, things have flourished! We truly believe God will bless your relationship and marriage if you put Him first, and your spouse second, and everything else to follow. Keep up this mentality of being positive!! And thank you for the encouragement!

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