Ask Garrett for Dec. 08, 2013

     Dear Garrett,

     Friendships are always complicated, but sometimes college friendships seem even more complicated than high school ones. My best friend that I met in college has always been there for me, just like I have been there for him, but something has changed this year. I cannot figure out if I have done something, but every time I try to talk to my best friend, he is curt and irritated. It has been going on for so long that my feelings are starting to get hurt, but I just do not know what to do. How can I get to the bottom of this friendship mystery?

     Sincerely,

     Frustrated Friend

 

Dear Frustrated Friend,

Friendships are definitely incredibly complicated in general. There are many reasons that your friend could be acting this way, so this makes it difficult to give you advice. I would personally start by figuring out what the problem is. Take a moment to sit back and think about your relationship with your friend. Have you been ignoring him recently? Have you got mad at him over something? Are you letting a significant other monopolize your time? Are you always complaining to him about something? Do you criticize him whenever he vents to you? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you have probably found your problem.

Since your friend will not simply answer what is wrong, you will have to go about discovering the problem on your own. Once you find what you believe to be the true problem, make a change to fix it. However, do not confront your friend about it. If you try to get him to acknowledge what you have found to be the problem, then he will probably still deny it. After all, he will not want to deal with the confrontation that could come with acknowledging the problem. If you quietly fix the problem in your own way, he will probably eventually start warming up again, admit to the problem, and thank you for fixing it. Of course, if he doesn’t, that probably means you had the wrong source of the problem in mind.

It will probably be a process of trial and error, so good luck on mending this friendship.

Sincerely,

Garrett

 

     Dear Garrett,

          I just recently started dating a guy. I was seeing him and talking to him for about a week before we started to make it official and put a label on our relationship. Many of my friends have criticized me for rushing in to this, but I feel like I really like this guy. We have officially been dating for a couple of weeks now, and my friends claim that I am becoming distant and spending too much time with my boyfriend. This is a new relationship and I think I need to dedicate quite a bit of time to it. Is this wrong? Or are my friends wrong? I am so confused, and I could definitely use some advice.

     Sincerely

     New Girlfriend

 

Dear New Girlfriend,

I am always a fan of taking your time and not rushing in to things, especially relationships. However, only you know when it feels right to start dating someone, so, if you felt good about this after a week, then good for you. In regards to your friends, they may have a point. You just started dating this guy, but your friends have probably been with you for years now. Make sure that you are still hanging out with them whenever you get the chance, because you definitely do not want to ruin those friendships. After all, what happens if you do burn those bridges and then break up with this guy? You will have no one.

Balancing your time between a significant other and friends can be extremely difficult. Have you tried possibly introducing your boyfriend to your friend group? If you make him a part of the group, then your problem is solved. However, if your friends push back against this idea, do not try to force your boyfriend into the group. That will just make your friends angry, and that would be the fastest way to end your friendships. If they do not want him to be a part of your group of friends yet, respect their wishes. My advice in this situation would be to not neglect your friends and aim to spend more time with them. I disagree that you must devote a lot of time to a new relationship. Honestly, you should not have to consciously devote time to any relationship. In good relationships, you should not have to consciously do anything. It should feel natural, not forced or systematic. I think the relationships where the two individuals are always with each other at all times are the unhealthy ones, so you should definitely avoid this.

Fixing this problem can be extremely difficult, but just remember that your friends will always be there for you, and this guy may not be. Also, if he has a problem with you hanging out with your friends often, then just go ahead and dump him. That is a sign that he is probably a controlling jerk, and you should never let yourself be caught in that sort of relationship.

Sincerely,

Garrett

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