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Graphic by: Maya Palavali

Dear Girlfriends, 

Growing up brings many changes and challenges to our lives. The biggest one is how our dynamic changes in our relationships.

Our priorities shift as we get older and when we get into relationships, they feel all-consuming. Getting into a relationship can be exciting, a new person in your life, someone you want to spend all your time with.

While there is nothing wrong with that, sometimes while being a girlfriend, many forget to be a friend. 

Priorities shift when people get into relationships, however, it’s mostly for girlfriends. In her memoir, “Everything I Know About Love,” Dolly Alderton writes about how she watches women in her life fit into their significant other’s life better than they do their own.

“This means that when a woman my age falls in love with a man, the list of priorities goes from this: Family, Friends. To this: Family, Boyfriend, Boyfriend’s family, Boyfriend’s friends, Girlfriends of the boyfriend’s friends, Friends. Which means, on average, you go from seeing your friend every weekend to once every six weekends. She becomes a baton and you’re the one at the very end of the track,” Alderton wrote.

This is a story that every girl can relate to. Every girl I know has a story about how their friends dropped them after getting into relationships. If the relationship turns sour, then they might walk back into your life like nothing ever happened.

There are only so many times that someone can take being treated that way. It is understandable that you want to spend all of your time with your significant other, but they just became a part of your life, don’t forget the friends that have been there for you all along.

It is important to keep your friends around, especially during the early stages of a relationship. When you have rose-colored glasses on, it is hard to see your partner’s red flags. That behavior is almost always pointed out by your female friends. Keep them around, they are your support system.

There needs to be a balance between being with your friends and significant other. Dropping your friends should not be so normalized.

However, it is also important to communicate these concerns to your friend. Talk to them and let them know how you are feeling. Relationships change but communication is key to still maintaining them through the changes.

This letter is a combination of all the texts unsent (and sent) after canceled plans. This does not come from a bitter place, there is no better feeling than seeing your friend happy. But it is also okay to feel sad about the friend you used to have and the loss of the relationship had.

The patriarchal idea that women need to be in a relationship to feel complete, might also play a part in why this tends to happen. As a society, there is a lot of emphasis on being in a relationship for a “fulfilled life” which is not true at all.

Female friendships are so special and it is equally as important to nurture them as you would a romantic relationship. Your female friends will be there for you after a bad day when all you want to do is eat ice cream or when you hypothetically ever want to commit a crime.

So, hold on to them. Make an equal effort to reach out and follow through on the plans you have made with them. Be a good friend, not only a good girlfriend.

Sincerely, 

Your friend.

[email protected]

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