My best friends are some of the most important people in my life. I couldn't imagine my life without them in it.

Which is why, as soon as I start dating someone new, I plan to keep those best friends as some of the most important people in my life. The status of my relationship does not alter how important my friends are, it only adds an extra important person into my life.

Too often girls and guys find that their romantic relationships overshadow their personal friendships as soon as they enter a new dating phase. Maybe a guy swept them off their feet? Some new girl completely blew them away?

Meeting a new significant other is great and something to be excited about. And that person definitely should become a huge and important part of your life, especially if you see yourself staying with them long-term. However, getting into a serious relationship is not an excuse to abandon your other friends.

This is something that has happened to me several times, and I know that it has happened to several of my other friends as well.

And it hurts.

You were there for that friend through everything, the heartbreaks of past failed relationships, the good and the bad times, yet, now that they have found a boyfriend or girlfriend, suddenly it's as if you don't matter the same way anymore. It seems as if they don't value your friendship as much now that they have someone new.

This doesn't have to be the case! Just because you've started dating someone does not mean that that person should take over your life.

You can and should make time to see your other friends as well. It's not healthy to devote all your time and energy to just one person. What happens if that relationship fails? Then where does that leave you?

This is exactly what happened to one of my close friends. She started dating a guy who she thought was going to be the person she was going to spend the rest of her life with. They did everything together and dated for several years. But in the end, it didn't work out.

The problem was that she had devoted so much to her boyfriend that when they broke up, she had no other friends to turn to. She had neglected them and made excuses for so long that they had moved on and she didn't know who her friends were anymore. It was a really difficult and lonely time for her and she had to spend a lot of time rebuilding those friendships and creating new ones.

Dating is a beautiful thing and something to be celebrated with your friends. Go on double dates, bring him/her along to meet your friends. Spend a girls night in occasionally or have a guys night out. It's healthy to have friendships outside of your dating relationship.

Don't let just one person monopolize all your time. Your best friends are crazy important. After all, you've gotta find your bridesmaids and groomsmen first. I know for me, my best friends will be just as important to me once I start dating again as they were when I was single.