Keeping friends in the loop?
December 29, 2013 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Last night, while capping off a great day out, my girlfriend stumbled upon a big table crowded with friends she knew from before we met. It created a wave of sadness and nostalgia on her part that I could not do much about but listen. We go on several dates each month. I am working really hard to make our life more certain and rich but see clearly that I am not able to provide enough group experiences that my girlfriend would enjoy. I like to entertain but she is tired of always having everyone at our house. I can find lots of groups to join. I really want to ask her friends not to forget about us when they are going for a night out. What are some tactics I could use to do this?
posted by parmanparman to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's sweet of you to want to do this, but it is not your responsibility (and IMO, not appropriate for you to do). Your girlfriend must be the one who seeks out her friends from before she started dating you, and work to cultivate and maintain healthy friendships with these people.

If you'd like to help her with this, you can:
Let her know that you are perfectly fine with her spending time with her friends without you;
Encourage her to actively invite her friends to spend the day or evening with her; and
Maybe start doing some more things without her so that she is motivated to start paying her friends more attention.

Like I said, it's very sweet of you to want to do this, but your girlfriend is and must remain responsible for her friendships.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:09 AM on December 29, 2013 [20 favorites]

Yeah, seconding that this isn't your responsibility.

I also wouldn't worry about the "sadness and nostalgia" she felt in that moment - maybe it's something she just felt in that moment but then she got over it about five minutes later. Or maybe this is going to inspire her to reach out to those friends more often herself.

Or, maybe there's a really good reason these are all people she hung out with before she met you, but doesn't any more. There's a group of people I spent a year with that was awesome, and if I ran into them all hanging out at a bar I'd get really excited to see them - but later on I'd remember "oh, wait, yeah, the reason we don't hang out is because Marge accused Homer of stealing my bracelet and Homer brought Bart and Lisa in on the defensive and then Lisa also piled on her own issues with Marge and it all just turned super-petty and pointless they were all being jerks".

I wouldn't worry about this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:25 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

If she doesn't want to have people at home any more, why is she not organising nights out?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:38 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think this is nice of you! Try inviting her group of friends to join you guys more often. This doesn't have to be "entertaining" -- it could just be hanging out like you saw them doing.
posted by Houstonian at 5:39 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing not your responsibility. It sounds like you are more social and you make it happen. Your gf is not so into joining groups or finding classes or making a social scene. I'm sure when she wants to, she can, but for her it's not a pressing weekly need. That's not a bad thing, it's just different needs. I wouldn't feel like it's your responsibility to make a social scene for her, or that she's somehow lacking or unable to do it herself. She's more than capable of keeping up Facebook friends with these people, so don't try to live her life for her.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:23 AM on December 29, 2013

While I will echo what people above are saying about her friendships not being your responsibility in a larger sense, there are smaller ways that you can show you care in this way.

Here's an example, take from it what you will.

Many years ago I was dating a really really amazing guy. We spent a lot of time together, which coincided with a pretty big change (unrelated to him) in the kind of weekend socializing I tended to do. So I drifted away from some close friends and/or neglected them a bit in that Relationship Haze we all tend to get.

One day we're lounging around my apartment, and he says "Hey, let's go have a pitcher of beer and play some pool." These are two things I am unlikely to ever say no to, so clothes on and out of the house.

Arrived at the bar, to find upwards of twenty of my old close friends waiting for us to show up. He'd organized the whole thing without me knowing (making me slightly concerned that he could lie to me so effectively ;) ), because he knew I'd been missing them even though the way we'd interacted before wasn't something I did much of anymore.

It was an amazing afternoon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:21 AM on December 29, 2013 [6 favorites]

I'm a woman, but if I were in your position and I wanted to help my husband stay connected to friends that weren't including him/us in outings, I'd probably pick the friend of his that seemed to do most of the organizing of outings and, if he seemed nice, would try to ask him and his SO out on a double date with us to the movies or dinner or whatever you guys like to do. ("You seem cool, I'd like to get to know you guys better...") I'd check with my husband first and see if he was up for the double date idea.

I guess you could also say to your girlfriend, hey, I wonder if you miss your friends sometime? Want to plan a night out with them next weekend where we meet them at _____ bar/restaurant and plan to catch up a bit?

It also sounds to me like you generally go to some effort to make your dates special and lovely for your girlfriend, including this last one, and that instead of ending this last fun night happily your girlfriend was actually sort of sad and melancholic because you all happened to run into these friends of hers and they made her FEEL ALL OF THE FEELS for some reason. If this was sort of a one time thing that's not really a big deal, but if she seems melancholic or not really responsive while you are sort of doing cartwheels for her, if it were me I'd wonder whether this was the best fit, but I might be reading way too much into things here (if so my apologies!!!). Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 9:44 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

My friend group organizes events by a method coined by the underground poet Erin Watson referred to as a Klaxon. If there's a restaurant or bar you want to check out (generally the kind of low key place that doesn't mind a big group of people showing up one by one) you post on Twitter:

BARBECUE KLAXON meet at small's barbecue at 2pm saturday for fried chicken and ribs, everyone welcome


PIZZA KLAXON meet at boiler room at 8pm friday #pizza #pizzaklaxon

Or Facebook, or whatever. Typically at least two people have agreed to meet, so if no one picks up the Klaxon, it's ok. But typically if there's enough chatter about the Klaxon, it turns into a pretty good group. Yesterday I had plans to get barbecue lunch with two other friends; it turned into group of seven people chowing down.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:04 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

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