New couples are fun to watch. They act a little silly around each other; laughing too loud and rolling their eyes too much. They’re always late to group events because they are so wrapped up in each other they lose their concept of time. They stay up too late on work nights talking on the phone or hanging out. And I probably don’t have to tell you this, but they talk about each other to absolutely everyone. It doesn’t matter who’s ear they're bending; friend, co-worker, dental hygienist, cabbie. The advice in this column is two-fold. To the people on the outside looking in, be patient. To the new couples out there, know your audience.
Whether you’re single or just comfortable in your long-term relationship, try to exercise patience when spending time around showy love birds. Resist the urge to throttle them as they feed each other tortilla chips and try not to throw up directly on them when they dedicate a song to each other on karaoke night. When two people are in the giddy, getting-to-know-you stage, cut them some slack.
If, however, your friend or colleague who’s in the new relationship can’t rein it in enough to be a friend or productive colleague, have an honest conversation with them. Tolerating some over the top, gushing conversations is one thing, but if Romeo forgets plans with you because he’s too busy making goo-goo eyes at Juliet, there’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with a kind conversation if you feel your toes are truly being stepped on.
Let’s turn things around now, shall we? New couples need to think about who they’re bubbling over to before getting carried away. If you are madly in love, call up you sister to dish, don’t read your love letters aloud to your recently jilted cubicle mate. If someone is unlucky in love or has recently had their heart broken, they won’t just be annoyed be your lovesick monologue, they’ll be hurt by it. Consideration doesn’t have to fly out the window just because you have a standing date for New Year’s Eve.
If, however, your friends are being unsupportive of your newfound happiness, that’s another cause for honest conversation. Nobody expects someone in a new relationship to be somber around their single friends; everyone is entitled to share a little happiness with people who care about them. If someone in your world is acting particularly frosty toward your new relationship, ask them why. You’ll be surprised what you might find out, and how quickly the ice will thaw once everything is out in the open.
No matter what side of the glass you currently sit on, pay attention to these words. For the most part, all of us will spend some time in each role, so it’s important that you think about how you’re presenting. Whether you are gritting your teeth to get through dinner with your friend and her new beau or doing your best to curb your enthusiasm about Valentine’s Day in the company of a heartbroken cousin, all it takes is consideration and a little courage if you need to have a tough talk with someone you care about.