As I mentioned before, on New Year’s Eve, I will be attending a best friend’s wedding (dateless), which may not sound completely odd, but in my case, the best friend is not the groom. My best friend is the bride.
To be clear, the Groom and I have become good friends, so much so he has given me the honor of being one of the groomsmen. And now that I’m close with both the Bride and the Groom, I have become what I like to call a sharefriend.
For some, being a sharefriend — someone who is cool with a couple as opposed to just the man or the woman — is difficult. The Bride and I are very close and have been for years, so in a way, my loyalty is to her. Then again, the Groom and I have become very close, and as men, there’s an unspoken bond we both have with one another, which stands on a firm foundation of loyalty.
The whole situation has me thinking about how to effectively be friends with a woman without disrespecting her man or her relationship. So here it is, six things a sharefriend cannot do. For the women who read this, take all the advice I give to the men and reverse it to be gender-appropriate.
GET THE WOMAN A BIRTHDAY GIFT
Let’s say I get invited to the birthday party of the female-sharefriend. As a matter of fact male-sharefriend himself invites me to the party. The only gift I should give is my attendance. What do I look like showing up to a taken woman’s birthday party with some gift card to her favorite restaurant?
DATE SOMEONE WHO LOOKS JUST LIKE THE FEMALE-SHAREFRIEND
Think about that for a minute. I am dating a girl who looks just like my friend’s girl. Just like her! Is there anything more awkward than that face-to-face meeting? I doubt it. I can just hear him now: “Hey, you know your woman looks just like someone, and I can’t figure out who. Oh wait a minute, I know who. My girl!”
CALLING JUST THE WOMAN
The Bride and Groom share a land line, and though I have both of their numbers, I usually call the land line first, unless I have something specific to talk about with either of them. If they don’t happen to be home, I leave a message acknowledging both of them. If the Groom picks up, I don’t just say, “Hey man, is the Bride there?” No. That’s inappropriate. We have a conversation first, then he either volunteers the phone to her or I politely ask for her. No matter who you’re closest to, as the sharefriend, one must treat both people in the relationship as equals.
NO TELLING INSIDE JOKES IN FRONT OF OUTSIDE PARTIES
The Bride and I have a lot of funny things we laugh about from the days we kicked it in college, back before she even knew the Groom, but I don’t bring up those jokes whenever the three of us are hanging out together. Laughing, joking, those things are all good, and it’s perfectly acceptable to make the woman laugh, but as a sharefriend, at some point I better start making the man laugh too.
THE ONLY TIME IT’S OKAY FOR ME TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE WOMAN IS IF HER MAN TAKES THE PICTURE HIMSELF
Let’s say I’m out for a night on the town with a group of friends, including my couple-friends. Everyone’s having a great time taking pictures, and the female-sharefriend asks me to take a picture with her, and as we’re taking the picture together, the male-sharefriend is coming back from the restroom or the bar. Awkward! Even more awkward? He never even saw us take the picture together, but the next day when their sitting down on a couch together scrolling through the pictures they took the previous night, a picture of me and his woman smiling hard pops up on the screen. The man may not get mad, but he just might ask, “So when did you two take this picture?”
NO DANCING WITH HER
Going back to this imaginary night out with my couple-friends, let’s say it includes some dancing, and I’m sitting down to give my feet a break. The man-sharefriend decides to do the same, but the woman-sharefriend still wants to dance, so she’s out on the dance floor by herself, doing her own thing. It is NOT my duty to go out there and pick up where the male-sharefriend left off. I cannot imagine when it would ever be appropriate for me to just grab the female-sharefriend’s hand and start twirling her around right in front of the male-sharefriend. I don’t care if he’s landed himself in a wheelchair and cannot use his legs. If something so unfortunate were to happen, my duty, as the sharefriend would be to push him around in the wheelchair while the female-sharefriend dances with him.