How to be Friends With a Guy Without Upsetting His Girlfriend

Having a mixture of girl and guy friends can be a lot of fun. Sure, some people might believe that guys and girls can’t ever be just friends, but that’s not always the case. You can totally be friends with someone without any romantic feelings. Unfortunately, there are still some jealously issues that could arise when it comes to your guy friend’s girlfriend. Dr. Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships and Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships, weighs in on maintaining friendships with guys who are in relationships.

Be cautious of your body language

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and occasionally cross the line that separates friendship and flirting. Interactions between guys and girls who are friends might sometimes blur that line. “Accidental flirting is something you should definitely try to avoid,” says Dr. Greif. “You should also be more conscious of your body language, unless it’s how you interact with everyone, both male and female, and so it’s a part of your personality and never taken seriously.” Even just a playful punch on the arm might not seem so innocent to his girlfriend. It’s not like you can’t ever touch him, just be aware of how his girlfriend might perceive it.

Related: 4 Things You Shouldn't Tell Your Friends About Your Relationship

Be patient

When a close friend is in a relationship, it can seem like that’s all they care about. It’s even worse if it feels like his girlfriend is hovering or with him constantly, keeping you two apart. If it's a new relationship, cut him some slack! “People lose a piece of their friends’ time to their friends’ new relationships all the time,” says Dr. Greif. “Couples have a hard time finding time for each other, their families and for their own friends. Be aware that the friend is hoping to keep you in place while also pursuing an exciting intimate relationship, so be patient.” It’s easy to get jealous on both ends, but remember what’s really important--maintaining your friendship. "It is important to avoid spending more time with the friend than with the girlfriend," says Stacey Tanner, a sophomore at New York University. "As a friend, you should understand that he needs to spend a little more time with his girlfriend."

Don’t give his girlfriend a reason to worry

Just because she’s your friend’s girlfriend doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with her. Of course it’s nice if you can get along and all hangout together, but it’s also important to not be fake friends. Becoming friends with her just because you don’t want her to see you as a threat isn’t a great way to start a real friendship. You also don’t want her to think that she has to worry about you as competition. “It’s better to let her assume the best and know that your guy friend is trustworthy as opposed to making it seem like he could have other people interested in him,” says Dr. Greif. You don’t want to approach her telling her that you don’t have any feelings for him, because that will just make her worry. "The easiest way to show that you and your guy friend are just friends to his girlfriend is to keep your friendship as normal as possible," says Amber Layfield, a senior at Appalachian State University. "If you act like you're upset over him having a girlfriend, that shows her that there is something to worry about when there really isn't."

In the end, friendship is a two way street—so as long as you both put in the effort, his girlfriend won’t get in the way of that. While jealously can play a big role, you can do your part by not giving his girlfriend anything to be nervous about at all!