Make It Stop: “My Best Friend Always Invites Her Boyfriend To (What’s Supposed To Be) Our Lady Dates”

My best friend, who I’ll call Fiona, doesn’t ask me first if it’s okay to bring her boyfriend along when we have plans. I’m not a confrontational person, but this bothers me. He’s a nice enough guy, I guess, but it throws our dynamic off to have him there. I find myself censoring the things said because I don’t want to hear his opinion about my work situation or love life. And frankly, it’s come to the point where if I knew he was coming out with us, I would’ve rather stayed home. I’m afraid if I say anything about it, she’ll tell him, then it will become even more of an issue than it already is. What should I do?

What a letdown. She’s trying to cram best friend-time into boyfriend-time and that’s not fair to you. Especially if you were looking forward to dishing the dirt about last week’s one-night stand but he keeps interrupting right when you’re getting to the juicy part of the story. No one wants to feel like the third wheel in their own friendship.

Since Fiona’s the one in a relationship and you aren’t, it’s up to Fiona to preserve the bond you share. That means going out of her way to make plans without her significant other and using your time together to focus on you two. If she can’t do that, then she isn’t a very good friend.

So let’s change the expectation: assume this guy is coming to everything. Whether it’s a Tupperware party, a run to CVS for tampons, or a bris, assume he’ll be there. When you accept plans with her, prepare yourself for Senior Tagalog to tag along.

If you’d rather do your own dental work than hear him prattle on about his disappointment that the “Game of Thrones” TV series is diverging from the “Game of Thrones” book series or whatever bullshit he does that annoys you, then vote with your feet. Ease off plans with Fiona for a while. Just keep saying you’re busy when she asks to hang out. It might feel weird at first, but stick to your guns. Once you stop making yourself so available, then you can say that you’d love to catch up with her because you could really use some Fiona time, one-on-one. See if that “one-on-one” tactic works. If she still brings her boyfriend along, then you know where her priorities lie.

Listen, you’re in charge of your free time and you shouldn’t spend it doing something that makes you miserable. The fact that you have all this frustration might be a sign from the universe that you should dig into your contact list and forge some new friendships. Think about it. If you took all the energy you spent stewing over Fiona’s bad behavior and applied it to making plans with your “B” team of buddies, how much more happy would you be? There are people out there who will respect your time and use it to connect, not just see it as an opportunity to air their significant other out like a dog that’s been inside all day.

I know it might not seem fair, but friendships change all the time, especially when romantic relationships are introduced. The key is to recognize when your expectations aren’t being met, to wish your friend well, and to move on with maturity and grace.

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.