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Networking Opportunities: Choosing Your Friends Wisely

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Marriage means the beginning of a whole new beautiful world and an “end” to a fun and fascinating old one.

For me and my crew, the transition was relatively easy since most of my friends were part of the same social circle that just seemed to keep expanding, and since most of my pals tied the knot all around the same time and were officially wed by their mid to late 20s. In fact, it was probably “easier” being married than being single.

Yet, if you’re one of the few to head toward marital bliss first, one of the first changes, besides changing your name, you’ll notice you need to make, is shifting your allegiance and alliance from me to we, and that means sorting out your sidekicks.

Confirmed Singles: Single friends are great. They are ALWAYS in the know, readily and eagerly available, and generally lots of fun. On the other hand, if they’re not at least involved, they are likely always up to something, always on the “prowl” and may even put YOUR relationship at risk. In fact, many may believe that a free and easy social agenda is what your friendship is all about and may even oppose anything that “threatens” the way things “use to be”, and may even claim that you’ve “changed”.

According to experts, it best to proceed with caution weeding out who your true friends really are. A real friend will no doubt expect you to occasionally do “single” stuff with them, like accompany them to a concert or arena that may enable them to meet someone, but will also be willing to spend time with you on your terms, even if that means going grocery shopping. Give friends an opportunity to get use to the “new” you and get comfortable with your new role and obligations. Those friends that stick around are worth keeping, otherwise keep your (fond) memories and move on.

Same Sex Friends: Depending on personality and where they are heading some may be worth keeping and others may not. Regardless, even same sex friends may invoke a sense of jealousy, especially in the beginning when your spouse may want ALL you attention and may feel betrayed. Remember, if you don’t have a “problem” or an “issue” with your spouse’s friend, then a (weekly) break is quite healthy. However, before heading out, make sure to discuss it with and/or inform your partner and be clear about your intentions and his or her expectations. And, both should be prepared to compromise a bit.

Opposite Sex Friends: This relationship can be a bit tricky. In fact, it’s likely jealousy and insecurity will rear its ugly head. Keep in mind that as far as your mate/spouse is concerned friend is just a “code word” for another guy or gal you’re interested in. But, that doesn’t mean you have to severe your friendship completely.

· Include your partner on outings with friends of the opposite sex and make sure to show your significant other a significant amount of attention.

· Don’t be “secretive” about such friendships and try not to build the person up to a greater level than you build up your mate (especially if your “friend” also happens to be and ex-lover or ex-interest). Above all, refrain from comparing your beloved to your “best bud”.

· Take a sabbatical from the friendship. While it doesn’t have to be forever, give your mate time to grow, understand and trust you and then revisit the idea of rekindling your friendship. Remember, a real friend will likely understand (if not offer on his/her own) and reserve contact and conversation for special occasions such as holidays and birthdays.

· Keep communication open by having your opposite sex friend call or visit ONLY when you mate is home and including your mate part of the conversation or at least remaining within earshot so he or she can hear what you are chatting about. Also talk (much) to your mate and build his/her confidence about your “relationship”/friendship, giving him/her the confidence he/she needs to place his/her trust in you.

Mutual Friends: Friends you both share is a great way to maintain a happy and healthy social life. Try to incorporate friends (into your relationship) from the beginning allowing friends and your husband/wife/future mate familiarize themselves with each other building familiarity, comfort, and trust.

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