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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dear NwaVic, I Got Engaged and My Friends Disappeared

Dear NwaVic,

I decided to write you today because I know you are also engaged as well.  My fiance proposed to me earlier this year. I was so excited. I love him and my friends all seemed to love him. But then just like magic, they started dropping one by one. Well, all but for my best friend who is also engaged and has done her trad. They are now having lunches and attending group events without me. I am planning a wedding and working but I am not dead. I tried to ask one of my close friends and her reply was, "you have an oga now abi?" I am so confused. What difference is that supposed to make? I am still the girl they went to high school and uni with. Is this normal? Are you experiencing this too? Help. 

Dear F,

Thank you for writing NwaVic at First, congrats on your engagement. What your friends are doing isn't normal, but the course of losing friends in life transition is especially if you are one of the first to get engaged/married among your friends and they are still single. The truth is that when you get engaged, your life and commitment level changes a bit. In turn, sometimes your behavior changes without you knowing. What happens is that your time becomes stretched beyond what your previous normal was. Be it wedding plans, moving plans, and getting to know your new family. Your commitment is deeper because marriage means merging with another, the way you've never done with your friends.

On one hand, it could be that without knowing, you may be giving off a 'busier' (which they could interpret as "I'm better than you") vibe. In fact, this sometimes even happens just when someone starts dating. They start loosing friends because they are really invested in their relationship and unintentionally cut out friends. If I may add, I know girls who have lost friends in the process of wedding planning. It's this kind of behavior that birthed the term "bridezilla". Then when the wedding is done and their majestic bubble has busted, they start looking for their friends. Because no matter how much drunken in love you are with your partner, wedding hype and marriage, your friends still remain relevant in your life. They have probably known you longer and while your husband/wife should be your best friend, your friends "know" you differently and will provide the escape you'll need sometimes from your marriage. But I digress.

On the other hand, your friends may have just assumed/anticipated all of the above without any inkling from you. Just because you are engaged/married, they may expect you to drop them for your husband and so in order to protect their feelings, they become unavailable first. Or sometimes, it's just jealousy. When you happily make life changes, not everyone will be happy for you because it shows them where they are lacking in their lives. 
In trying to strike a balance, you only owe them one thing. Consistency. However you behaved to them before you got engaged, stay that way. Invite them to lunches/parties/hangouts as usual. If they decline, then that's on them and you have done your part.

In dealing with my friendships, I've learned a lot of lessons, three of which are the most important to your situation.
1. Friendship requires mutual effort. If one person is running and the other is chasing, unless the chaser wants to pass out along the way, s/he'll never catch up. The most you can do is your part= consistency.

2. Regardless of the physical distance between friends, a friend is always "there". You never have to look for a "friend." In my life, I've stopped chasing down people who don't want to be there. I say "good riddance" and move on to people who are happy to be in my life.

3. True friendships require transparency. While they may not have given you this courtesy, be the bigger person. For those friends you really care about, bring it up with them and give them a chance to express whatever the reason is for their distance. You also have to keep an open mind to listen to, apologize for and deal with any change in behavior on your part. If a "talk out" isn't fruitful, you'd have to cut your losses knowing you've done your best. Remember, it may not even be about you. It may just be about who they are and what they are dealing with in their lives at the moment.

Life transitions can be tough on relationships...marriage, engagements, bigger jobs, illness, relocation, children, etc. You change and grow. Sometimes you grow out of your friends. Your priorities shift and while true friendships last through life's phases, unfortunately not all friends can. Engagement and wedding planning will hurt some people's feelings. Prepare for it. Your friendships and sometimes 'familyships' will be tested. That's okay.

Your life is changing, own it. And in everything you do, never ever apologize for your happiness/blessings. It is yours to live. 

I hope this helped!

Stay inspired,
NwaVic||| |||Twitter & Instagram @nwavicesq

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