Friends can be the absolute worst. Yes, they can be destructive, selfish, overbearing and isolating. No, I have not been abducted and replaced with another blogger.

Maid of Dishonor and Worst Man

They develop horns and hooves.

They develop horns and hooves.

They were your best friends when you got married. They fixed E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. They knew just how to tweak you, so you and Mate would not break up before they pulled off the world’s most fabulous wedding. Today, not so much.

Every time you gripe about Mate’s dirty tools in the laundry room, she is right there to tell you how her ex used to do the same thing. When you go off like a rocket because there are pantyhose on your shower rod, he recites the last in the saga of the bathroom at his newest ex-girlfriend’s house.

It feels like support at the time.


The comforting support turns out to be a reticulated python wrapped around the length of your marriage. It can strangle the life out of anything.

There is a fine line between commiserating and exacerbating. Before the wedding, you commiserated. After, your friends are exacerbating what can become the most isolating part of your marriage: Communication aimed at the wrong target.


When you are constantly speaking of Mate (even in negativity), it shows you still have interest. [Let me stand really still while that sentence sinks in…about Mate and all your exes.]

If you truly did not care about what Mate thought, felt and did, Mate would never once cross your mind. And when Mate did something to (annoy, impress, elate) you, it would go unnoticed as unimportant: The same way total strangers fail to get your attention.

Trip Ring

Friends can modify a single point score from Mate into a triple (darts, anyone?). This is a plus when Mate does something BFF’s mate is not. But when Mate is doing something completely alien (or worse), BFF can triple how bad you feel about Mate’s behavior.

Off the Board

You missed the entire dartboard when you took this to BFF (or worse, Quaint) instead of Mate. BFF does not have the ability to speak on Mate’s behalf, even if BFF is Mate’s BFF. Go pull your darts, and come back to the line.

Only You

Standing on the line with the darts in your hand, look at the board. You know what you need to hit to win. Aiming is a solitary experience. Lonely, isn’t it?

Take a bit of finesse.

Takes a bit of finesse.

You are looking at the target, but you know the draft (what other people say), the fletching (experience) and the straightness of the shaft (strength of marriage) all directly affect the path of flight.

Before you toss that dart, turn off the fan. Fine, you got BFF’s take on how atrocious Mate is in (concert, comparison) to any other random mate. Stop letting BFF blow you into loneliness.

Misery Loves Company

Sure, it does. Do you really want to be isolated and lonely with Mate sitting across the dinner table? As long as you are discussing these things chipping away at your marriage with someone else, you are adding to the misery. You are beginning to resent Mate for not seeing how much ____________ drives you to the brink of sanity.

Stop keeping miserable company. No, this does not mean you have to trade in BFF for a new Quaint. It does mean you have to grab loneliness and toss it off the board.

Bull’s Eye

What you want is Mate to return to the person you married. Fact is, Mate is the person you married. You just did not realize how you would react to situations in your life. Are some of these tiny (or huge) separations in your fletches?

  • Hours spent at work
  • Night out with (girls/boys)
  • Mate’s BFF
  • Hours spend on hobbies (alone, with others…not you)
  • Tolerance
  • Loss of job
  • Religion
  • Idiosyncratic habits at home
  • Abandonment of habits
  • Substance use/abuse
  • Children
  • Retirement
  • Money

Your marriage will not hit the bull’s eye without easing the feathers or replacing them.

Smoothing the Feathers

Just like the ruffled feathers on an angry bird, you can smooth them. Communicate. Sit down away from the problem and talk. Do not wait to talk until Mate has (had a drink, yelled at the children, just come home from a night out). Talk about it (over breakfast, at sandwich night, at therapy).

Not all feathers can be eased back into their original state, but most can be smoothed to the point you can learn to hit the target despite their altered state. It means a little different finesse than when the dart was new, but the flight pattern is novel to watch, and the success of a bull’s eye is sweet.

Unfortunately, there does come a place where the darts must be replaced. Before you toss your darts in the bin, be certain you have done all you can to ease the fletches. You may well be amazed how much Mate may know about feathers when you take the time to ask.


How have you smoothed feathers? Have you had to wait for Mate to smooth feathers you separated? How willing are you to kick loneliness off the board?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. As Jim Morrison famously sang “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” When people get married, and the honeymoon period is over, they start to see things that they never noticed before, or things that they thought were cute are all of a sudden infuriating. That’s why I am a strong proponent for living together for a couple of years first, to really get to know mate.

    • I promote two years before considering marriage, even if you do not live together. There are some things you will never learn without living together.

  2. LOVE THIS! Excellent post Ann Marie, and so true. I don’t think people are aware of how they can bring down or build up a friend’s marriage. We are also often unaware that we should go to the source, not our friends when it comes to our marriages. Going to friends can be a form of betrayal. Sometimes we just have to allow our mate to have ‘quirks’ and focus on not maximizing theirs while minimizing ours:) Angie

    • You are right. We allow our friends such a special place we never dream how their attitudes may affect what should be our most important relationship. Even before marriage, couples absolutely must rein in the attitudes friends bring to the table, which can muddle their perspective.

      Friends are great at pointing out when your picker is broken, but may not be so good at refraining from framing a new (or old) Mate with prison bars when infractions occur.

      And I think I may have stumbled upon a series for later. Thanks, Angie!

  3. It is funny but I never listen to what friends think about their friend’s marriages or relationships, after all it is not mine nor their business anyway and I am far too private a person to allow a third or fourth person’s viewpoint in mine, so I keep everything to myself and it works out just fine…

    Besides what could they offer me that I do not know for myself? Life is complex of course but one has to use one’s own knowledge and expertise, and in the trueness of love or loving one can easily solve anything and so the partnership needs no outside influences, well not in my opinion anyway 🙂

    Have a fun rest of evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • It is a great practice to take all matters to Mate rather than to outsiders. It builds the strength of the relationship and leads to finding ways to bridge or close the gaps between you.

      I hope to have a grand evening. I am looking forward to the next post in 15 minutes 😉

      • Yes I have just added one 🙂 lol
        It was a quick one… A quick posting
        so keep that in mind when you get
        a chance to read it 🙂

        Be good now, I always am 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  4. I’m grateful that my hubby and I met after being previously married, having kids, holding down full-time jobs and dealing with financial ups and downs. This gave us the knowledge and maturity not to hold on to such unrealistic ideals that newbie couples have. We already played the game of juggling with people we were not meant to be with. It’s much easier with your intended partner.

  5. Mo

     /  October 11, 2012

    And here I thought when I saw darts and a maid of dishonor, that someone was going to “shoot their eye out”. It was an icicle I swear. Friends are great to have but I can’t say that many friends are good to keep around.
    Oh btw that snake on this page gives me the willies and it is so huge its not even funny.

    • Coming from you that is hysterical! I think she is awesome 😉 Kiss the troops. Even if they are all being hormone bags. <3


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