Q: MY BEST friend recently came out to me, her family, everyone.
I completely accept that she is gay, and have no problem with that.
But I do have a problem with her new girlfriend. I never get to see my best friend alone anymore, and I'm starting to really miss our friendship.
I don't like the influence her girlfriend has on her, and she's turning into someone I don't know, someone who only ever hangs out with gay people. How do I save the friendship when her girlfriend keeps coming between us?
A: People change throughout their lives, and friendships that weather change and last a lifetime, are ones in which both friends let each other grow, and who nurture this change and independent self-development.
Try to put yourself in your best friend's shoes: she has come out, she is now living openly gay, presenting the truth of who she is to you, to everyone she knows, and to the world. This would be a highly liberating, but also anxious time for her.
She is stretching her wings, discovering new aspects about herself and her identity, testing new relationships, making new friendships in the gay community, but also probably wondering how her family and 'old' friends will accept and treat her.
During this time it may seem she is spending more time with her new girlfriend and her new gay friends, and it may hurt, or incite some jealousy to now have to share her, especially with other 'new' friends, but you need to give her space to express who she really is.
Ask to meet her for a one-on-one day, and use this time to be open and honest with her.
Express to her how you've missed her company, and that you'd like to try to spend some time each week or each month, just the two of you, because she's your best friend and you love her, and want to stay connected.
But remember that healthy friendships require equal give and take, and you cannot ask her to make all the effort of balancing the friends and lovers in her life, without giving something of yourself in return.
Tell her you'd like to get to know her girlfriend, and her new friends, so you can understand who she is, and who she is becoming. Be open and accepting of the changes she is going through.
Try not to criticise her girlfriend until you have made a sincere effort to get to know her.
Chances are, there's an undercurrent of jealousy running between you and your best friend's girlfriend, which will most likely dissipate once you get to know each other, and as you all learn to share your time and friendship between you.
If you extend your hand out in genuine friendship, you will not only earn the appreciation and continued friendship of your best friend, but you will find yourself surrounded by a whole new world of friends.
Rise above petty, jealous squabbles, support your best friend at this important juncture in her life, as she enjoys being openly gay, and remember that if the situation were reversed, you'd expect the same loyalty and love from her.
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