We’ve all been there. Your buddy’s just dumped their girlfriend or boyfriend, and all of a sudden, that newly single significant other is looking awfully good. It’s nothing to feel weird about; after all, if someone’s dated your friend, you’ve probably had a good chance to get to know one another, and you’ve probably also heard some pretty good things about them through the pipeline.
But actually taking that particular plunge can be a daunting task. Nothing ruins friendships quite like money or love, and your prospective relationship might wind up driving a wedge between you and your bestie.
It doesn’t have to be like that. I’m not going to promise that the rules I’m laying down here will guarantee a smooth transition, but they’ll at least give you an idea of how to look for love without stepping on your friend’s toes.
Tell Your Friend About Your Plans
Yep. You’d better listen to this one, no matter how much you don’t want to. Here’s the thing: I’m not telling you to ask their permission. You’re not getting married, and they’re not the father of the bride (or groom). But I am telling you to let them know – they’ll get the news eventually, and if you cover it up, it’s going to wind up feeling a bit like an affair.
How you actually handle this step is definitely between you, your friend, and their ex. Asking someone out that your friend only went on two dates with? Just a formality. Thinking of hooking up with someone they were with for two years? Maybe a little more challenging.
But no matter what the scenario is, be genuine, be understanding, and be you. No matter how short their relationship was, it’s still a little strange to have a friend interested in an ex. Do them and yourself a favor, and explain your plans before you follow through on them.
Realize that Sometimes, You Don’t Get to Have Both
Another rough truth. It’s something I see all the time; you want to start something new, but you also don’t want to lose your friend. That’s how low-key relationships start, and that’s how friendships often end.
Before you do anything, evaluate how each member of this particular triangle would react to the news. Sometimes, this means acknowledging that asking your buddy’s ex out means losing your buddy. What you choose to do with this knowledge is up to you, and there are definitely times that I’d advise just letting the relationship go for your friend’s sake (just stick to the internet if it’s strictly physical), but don’t make the mistake of setting a person up for a nasty emotional fall just because you’re afraid to do some soul-searching.
Don’t Be a Jerk
Congrats! You’ve told your friend, you’ve weighed the odds, and you’ve popped the question. What now?
Well, now is where you’re going to have to make your own way.
People are endlessly variable, and the best way to keep your bonds with your pal and your new date is to keep both of their personalities and histories in mind. You’ll often hear that it’s best to keep them completely away from each other, but you know? Even that isn’t always true. Sometimes – especially if you’re all members of a close-knit group of friends – it’s best to swallow what awkwardness you can, and avoid busting up an entire posse.
So think! Be considerate, be careful, and seriously, don’t be a jerk.