Monday, March 19, 2018

About Having 'Couple Friends'

The dinner conversation floated to this 'Coupler' app. It's a couple dating app, yup, matching couples to other like-minded couples. Double dating. It makes perfect sense if a couple is relocating without a ready social network in place, or to a strange new faraway city and you have the urge to fill up the weekends with activities that aren’t part of any boring standard social club run by expatriates from the same continent.

The man and I have never relocated for work. Even if we had, the cities that we would have moved to already hold an existing circle of friends (for us both). Given our interests, we wouldn't have a problem joining uhhh 'hobby groups' to fill our after-work hours. I highly doubt I'll use 'Coupler' or any similar app. The chances of me meeting people from a secret supper club or book club is higher. That's not to say online acquaintances can't turn into friends. They can, and these apps could save us loads of time when doing double-dates and sift out the awkwardness of first meetings by delving straight into complementary interests and views.

You can discount the time if you had studied overseas because when you're a student, you'd oddly have a mushrooming social life, whether you like it or not. I made a conscious choice to stay away from parties, not join any Singapore clubs and hang out alone. Solitude is always preferable. Then I recalled the op-ed in The Washington Post about having 'couple friends' and threw it up for discussion too. It's written by Rachel Raczka and published on March 13 2018,'Why are we so obsessed with having couple friends?' Well, the man and I are not; apparently neither are these friends whom we were having dinner with.

The last few paragraphs from said article in The Washington Post.

This article quoted loads from this book that I don't think I want to read, 'Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships' (2012) written by Drs Geoffrey L. Greif and Kathleen Hoitz Deal. "Greif and his writing partner Kathleen Holtz Deal explored the dynamics of couples and their couple friends, and found that heterosexual relationships benefited best when they were able to connect on a deep emotional level with another couple." I'm not particularly keen on reading about gender roles, defined, re-defined or otherwise.

Well, the man and I like having varied sets of friends who could also be couples. We love them all. (By 'couple', here, I'm not just defining it as a heterosexual pairing.) It's rather silly to stick to one set of 'best couple friends'. It's virtually impossible. You can, but there's no point. The man and I don't even do everything together, much less watch the same genre of shows. We're not stepping into the realm of (leisure) traveling with friends either. (Unless there's a firm itinerary or an end goal to this trip.) That's quite a no-no for me. I've got eccentric interests and strong opinions, and I wouldn't want to ram those down anyone's throat.

We never compare our relationship to another, or discuss what we think of the other couple's dynamics. Mainly because, 'why the f^*k should we care as long as they're happy with each other? It's other people's business.' It's not in our place to comment. On the other hand, there can't be a persistent fight or niggling thought about 'Why can't you be more like so-and-so?' That is the death knell for any relationship. If you continue this partnership wanting more or differently in terms of fundamental outlook, lifestyles, aspirations and values, then perhaps this relationship isn't meant to be.

There's also this matter of 'staying friends with whom' when a couple breaks up. It happens all the time. Depending on who's closer to whom, I guess. Often, the friendship melts away into something distant as the different people find new partners and build up new social circles. It's a fluid thing, isn't it? If friendship happens as they organically do, it happens. If it doesn't, it simply won't.

“Sometimes when you’re in a couple and have individual friend groups and you try to just add your significant other into that world, it can be awkward,” Nitschelm explained. “This way, it helps you start on the same footing with new friends together.” 
Couple friendships aren’t always a positive. Like all friendships, couple friendships can be toxic. House explained that if the connection with another couple is only surface level and not deep, such a friendship “can actually hurt the [romantic] relationship because you might get bored and have a bad time.” 
“If you’re bringing out the negativity in your relationships, you might be bringing out the negativity in that other couple’s relationship, too,” House said. “And they’ll start to realize, ‘Every time we hang out with that couple, we get in a fight, too. Why is that?’ No one wants to be around negative people. It’s entertaining at first, but we don’t want to actually live it. The reason you have couple friends is to feel better, not worse.”

No comments: