Friday, 3 October 2008

Sam: Where do you draw the line?

Friends. When you are in a relationship, you’d think that they would be the last one’s that you’d have to keep an eye on. The last one’s that you’d think would do something a bit naughty and inappropriate around your girlfriend. But let’s face it, we’ve all got one. One of your friends who just dances around in that grey area between inappropriate and out right out of order with your woman.

I’ve got one mate like this. At first it’s really hard to put your finger on. For me it started as a strange feeling of discomfort. There was nothing really blatantly out of order and I ignored it because I really like this guy. But then the niggle got stronger and I really started paying attention to his body language, since after all actions speak so much louder than words.

Around my fiancée he was just a bit too attentive. Actually when I watched him, a lot too attentive. His attention would be totally absorbed in her when she talked and he would fix her with intense laser like eye contact. Then I noticed that he was spending a bit too much time inside her intimate zone (inside arms length away) – literally getting just too close for a friend. Then the real corker came when we were all watching a movie at home together. He sat in between me and my fiancée, with me in between him and his girlfriend. So were were seated like this:

His Girlfriend – ME – HIM – My fiancée

And then draped his arm out along the couch behind my fiancée’s shoulder. Basically his body language was way crossing over the line – he was sitting where her partner should sit, draping his arm in a way that only a partner should, and sitting as close as only a partner should.

Now you may think I’m banging the drum a bit here – but when my fiancée and I talked about it the level our how weird this all felt came out. It was a strange kind of feeling of being a bit soiled, like he had done something a kind dirty that we couldn’t put our finger on, and couldn’t really say anything out loud about, but just felt really wrong. And it was made worse by him doing all this right in front of me and his girlfriend, which was frankly just pretty disrespectful. The problem is that you can’t really turn around to someone like this and say – ‘hey mate, your body language is a bit weird, you are crossing the intimate line between friend and boyfriend, so back off buddy’.

After having a good chat about it, my fiancée worked out a plan, we wouldn’t say it, but we would take action that said it. In the last case we both got up to get drinks, then I came back and literally plonked myself down in between him and my fiancée. When he was chatting with her and getting too close I would do the same.

This got the whole thing more under control and made us both feel more comfortable. But how boring, having to constantly fend off a so called friend. Needless to say he doesn’t get as many invites around to ours any more.

What about you, got any line crossing friends? How do you deal with them?


TheRose said...

And what about friends who insist on getting too close and cuddly with *you* around your girlfriend? Given that lasses tend to be more tactile anyway, that's another tricky one...

Anonymous said...

Depending on my mood, most of the time I find it hilarious. Because frankly, trying to get past me would be like trying to run from trained attack dogs.
I know this and my partner at any given time has known this. And so friends, acquaintances or otherwise can demonstrate their attraction to my partner all they like, but they are frankly going to hit a brick wall, even with my most 'vulnerable' fella who might find such attention flattering. That brick wall being me. Apparently I am quite intimidating for a lady.

Does the attention cross a line? Yes, if they say they are a friend. That kind of behaviour demonstrates that their idea of friendship is different to yours, so you just learn to invest less in them. Less time, less emotion, less trust, etc.

Will said...

Your mate is taking the piss out of you. You don't seem to suggest that this is to do with you being controlling or your gf enjoying the flirting. Tell your gf you are going to say friend is going too far. (Tell, not ask). Unless her reaction concerns you (she may be all for the old "Leave it, he's not worth it" don't lets have trouble line), do it. Don't react if he implies she is responsible. Agree with your gf that if things don't cahnge, she will say to him that she knows you two have had a word, she hoped that would sort it and if it happens again, she will tell his fiancee he's been coming on.