A reader named idlemusings wrote to say it bothers her that one of her girlfriends always asks, before the two of them spend time together, if it’s OK for her boyfriend to tag along.
“While we’ve all known each other for many years and I enjoy his company, sometimes I just want some girl time,” idlemusings wrote. “How do I communicate this to her without making both of us feel awkward?”
This is an interesting question, and my original answer was going to be: Simply tell her. You could say, “Let’s make it just us this time, so we can talk about all that girly stuff I feel awkward saying in front of Paul.”
But what that approach doesn’t take into account is the fact that she wants to bring Paul along—otherwise why would she ask? Making time for “just-us girls” is not a priority for her. By making a specific request to leave him out of it, you would be asking her to compromise, to bend to your will if she wants to see you. Do that too often, and your get-togethers will start to feel more like duty than pleasure to her. That’s not a good basis for a friendship.
Face it, she likes to spend time with him. (This is sweet! After so many years together, they’re still very companionable.) If you send a message that you don’t feel the same way, it could drive a wedge between the two of you. If she believes she has to choose between the two of you, she will pick him.
So I would recommend an indirect approach. The next time you want to see her, suggest an outing that would not appeal to him. Get manicures, for instance. Or go shopping for shoes.
Another strategy would be to get together with her at a time when you know he is unavailable – does he travel out of town for business? Does he work a weekend shift? Does he regularly see his own circle of friends for a “guys night?” Is he glued to the TV during football playoff season? If so, that’s an obvious time to schedule a lunch or dinner date with your friend.
Did you ever have a friend who asked to bring along her boyfriend every time you saw her? How did you handle the situation?
(image via RealSimple.com)