So you tie the knot till death do part (must they make it sound like capital punishment?), pocket all the cash-n-kind gifts and chug off into the sunset to make your own world. Together. Just you two. Dreamy. Right? Wrong!
I think one of the worst (and also the most common) mistakes a couple can make is thinking now that they have found ‘The One’ they don’t need new friends – or can afford to ignore the old ones. This is especially true today with most people living away from families, often in new cities for the first time. Life in all its glory will soon reveal how its much more fun when you share your relationship with a good circle of friends. You understand why the used-to-be-social guy who had started replying to your text after 3 days has suddenly resurfaced full of vacation plans. Or the used-to-be-life-of-every-party girl who was suddenly found watching Serendipity, calls you out of the blue to find out where the gang is meeting today!
So heres what I consider a must-have on every couple’s “friend list” (for want of a better term) – in random order:
1. The Veteran – the couple who got there just a little before you, and have already ironed out some of the baffling kinks of ‘together’ life. They can act as an invaluable fount of wisdom on issues ranging from domestic help to the best places for brunch. They are also the ones who are the first to understand when you have to take a rain check because you have in-laws visiting – and will also know exactly what you mean when you ‘need to get out of the house’.
2. The Newbie – the antithesis to The Veterans, this is the couple who got there a little after, and now its your role to play the mentor. It is fun to see them going through the same growing pains you went through just a while back, and come out smiling on the other side. Refrain from interfering too much however, since everyone needs their own share of stumbles and little victories – and also its mildly sadistic fun so get your popcorn ;)
3. The Third Wheel – the single bachelor friend is a must in every couple’s life, to remind them of times when life was one big party (as opposed to one big party with cleanup afterwards)! This type of friend is especially invaluable to pick up emergency beer, play bartender, and act as an incentive for other singles to turn up to your party ;) Usually this person gets along like a house on fire with both of you, and when he/she finally bites the dust you cant help feeling a little sorry even though you are happy about it.
4. The Catalyst – Someone who always manages to instinctively know when a certain topic is likely to cause tension amongst the two of you, and invariably steers the conversation in that direction. Just for kicks. While a kick is usually what this ‘friend’ deserves, they are useful nonetheless as their actions sometimes help you confront the troublesome issue by bringing it out in the open, and maybe resolve it together. Lets just call them necessary evils and leave it at that.
5. The Dream Duo – The aspirational (usually somewhat older) couple you want to become ‘someday’. This can mean different things for different people of course. Could be the couple with the huge house, fancy car and perfect families. Could be the couple doing a trip around the world with no mortgages to worry about. Or the couple who chucked their boring jobs to sing/paint/write – and succeeded. Whatever be your poison, its good to know them and see how it works from the inside.
6. The Wild Child – the friend still frozen back in time. College has just not ended, everyday is Saturday night and the party continues. Lose yourself in the music and smoke and get transported back to the good old days – but remind yourself to get back home eventually, because crashing on the floor with 20 unknown people is not as much fun anymore as a warm comfy bed.
7. The Old Guard – the friend who knew you as a snotty kid and has seen you through braces, bad grades and awkward adolescence. Has watched you make a fool of yourself in previous horrible relationships and stood by you during the breakups and deleted your ex from their phone-book without you asking. This is an instant confidence booster and will secretly (and silently) always always be ‘on your side’, while paradoxically accepting your spouse unconditionally as the ‘best thing that ever happened to you’. This one is a keeper, right up there with your siblings.
8. The Joneses – the couple constantly trying to be you! Buying similar furniture, taking the same vacations, and comparing notes every minute. If done without any malicious intent, it can be quite amusing to have your own personal ‘groupies’. After all imitation is the best form of flattery – a reiteration that you must be doing something right ;)
9. The Booty Call – the couple with whom you have nothing really in common except evenings of shared laughter. Since neither your background nor social circle is similar, there is no baggage of any kind. Interactions are usually intermittent and sudden, and the time and venue for the next get together is not decided. This is the couple equivalent of being in an ‘open relationship’ and simply translates into a very good time with no strings attached.
10. The Swingers – An interesting category where the female member of one couple is similar to, and gels very well, with the male counterpart of the other couple – and vice versa. Makes for very comfortable team dynamics and results in a happy foursome for trips and outings. Just make sure you are not ‘too comfortable’ with someone else’s spouse because that could throw things out of gear.