Yesterday I included a someecard along with my post, mostly because it was funny and fitting for the subject matter. The card said: “Happy birthday to a friend of a friend who I now like more than the original friend.”
Like so many things I love, it’s funny because it’s true.
Or, in this case, could be true. I didn’t send the card to anyone specific, but I’d be lying if I pretended a specific friend and friend of a friend didn’t come to mind when I first saw it.
Haven’t we all seen this scenario play out? I’ve been the friend of a friend before… but I’ve also been the original friend. No matter what your role in this threesome, it’s dicey.
Dicey scenario 1: Mutual Friend introduces you to New Friend. You and New Friend get along famously. You are meant to be. But going forward, don’t you always feel like you have to invite Mutual Friend along? I do. If Mutual Friend introduced us, it’s because she thought we’d hit if off, but I would never want her to feel left out. And it’s plenty likely that part of the reason she introduced us was for her own benefit—if we can hang out three strong, then suddenly she can use her time more efficiently. See both of us at once. A twofer!
Dicey scenario 2: You are Mutual Friend. Suddenly you notice that your friends are hanging out without you. They have inside jokes and secret handshakes you know nothing about. On Facebook they both post about going to a matinee of The Back-Up Plan (you never know, there could be people seeing that). You check your phone for a missed call, your invite to the last-minute movie. Nothing. You remind yourself that even though you introduced them doesn’t mean you always have to be around for their playdates. But still, you kinda want to scream “Uhh hello? Remember me? The reason you two know each other in the first place??”
It’d be nice to think that we’re all mature adults, and once we grow up (ha!) we stop feeling left out. That we no longer need to worry about friends feeling slighted or ignored. (Ask any new bride how that “not worrying” plan worked out with her wedding party.) But like I said, I’ve been in both dicey scenarios. Here are my general solutions:
Dicey scenario 1: I always at least invite Mutual Friend along, unless I find something I have in common with New Friend (say, cooking) that Mutual Friend isn’t into. In that case, I’m usually ok inviting just the New Friend.
Dicey scenario 2: When friends who I introduced are hitting it off and suddenly seem to like each other better than they like me… well, I try to remind myself that it’s good to be a connector. Bringing people together, good karma, all of that. And then sometimes, I will admit, I say something passive aggressive like, “Isn’t it funny that I introduced you guys and now you’re, like, totally BFF?” I try not to, but we might as well lay it all on the table. This is a safe space, right?
Have you ever found yourself in either of these dicey scenarios? How’d you handle them?