I have a girlfriend (let's call her "Alice") who is 24, and I am 18. Before I met this girl I became good friends with "Bob" (he is 25), who then introduced me to "Alice". A few months after this we began dating. We have been dating for around 3 weeks now and it is at the stage where we think "Bob" should be informed.

Ideal ending

Ideally, "Bob" will not mind and our friendship will not be affected. However I don't think that will happen and I think he will be upset about this. While the age difference is an issue, I think the main problem is that I am now in a relationship with one of his best friends. He has also recently gone through a traumatic stage in his life, and I would not like to add any more issues to his plate.


How do I approach Bob about this and inform him without risking or ruining our friendship?

  • 2
    Is the primary point of contention here the age difference or the fact that you got with a friend of his?
    – Magisch
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:44
  • The main problem is your second point.
    – Tom Eaton
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:51
  • 1
    @TomEaton I made an edit to your question to bring out more what you actually want
    – Magisch
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:54
  • 1
    Can you add a location or culture tag here? That might help people better consider what the friendship and relationship customs are where you're from. Dec 6, 2017 at 15:30
  • 1
    It's usually not a good idea to accept an answer within 24 hours of asking the question. The checkmark will make other users of the site think that their attention is not needed, while they might provide valuable additional insights into your situation. Many of our users are currently asleep because of time zones; you might be missing out.
    – Erik
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:48

5 Answers 5


This is how relationships usually started before we had the internet.

The answer is pretty simple, you can just tell Bob. There's nothing to say that he wouldn't be happy for both of you and hoped that this would happen.

Before doing so, speak to Alice about it. If Alice has known Bob for longer than you, she might have a good idea about how to progress with this.

People going through traumatic stages often welcome positivity from other people, something to feel good about.

Of course, we don't know all the facts, but the chances are that he'd be happy for the both of you.

  • Except if Bob wanted to hit on Alice. Then he will most probably mind it Dec 6, 2017 at 15:04
  • 3
    @XtremeBaumer Bob wanted to hit on Alice? I don't see that in the post.
    – Jess K.
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:04
  • @JessK. That wasn't mentioned and probably noone except Bob knows this. Yet I think it is something which should maybe be considered. Maybe Alice can give some insight on this topic (her relationship with Bob). Updated the comment to make it clearer Dec 6, 2017 at 15:08
  • @XtremeBaumer Fair, I wondered the same thing. However, we can only give answers based on the OP's statements. I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed a detail.
    – Jess K.
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:10
  • I don't believe that Bob wants to hit on Alice, as he recently said he is looking for a relationship and is active on tinder etc.
    – Tom Eaton
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:11

Keep in mind that no matter how you inform Bob, he might need time to adjust.

However, as Snow pointed out in his answer, this is how people used to most commonly meet (through friends).

I'd recommend having the person who is closest with Bob be the one to tell him (or whoever has known him longer, if you're both as close). You could even start with:

I'm really glad you introduced me to Alice.

and see how he responds. Make small-talk about the person. Then you could say:

Well, we wanted to let you know that we're seeing each other now, and we hope it doesn't strain our friendships with you at all. Since you were the one to introduce us, we're really thankful for you.

Basically, acknowledging his role in your relationship might help him feel like he's not getting third-wheeled or set on the back burner while you and Alice pursue a further relationship with each other.

Again, if Bob needs time to adjust, let him have the space. However, make sure you emphasize to Bob that he still has importance to you both individually, and to your newfound relationship.


You two have been dating for weeks, and Bob has no idea? This can only happen in one of a few ways:

  • you're dating secretly, and nobody knows. You don't go places together in public, you don't mention to your friends what a great time you had [at the movies, on a picnic, at the zoo, at that new restaurant] with your girlfriend, Alice, on the weekend
  • You and Bob are not that close, so while you tell many people these things, you don't really see Bob to tell him. Ditto for Alice.
  • You are actively hiding the relationship from Bob because you're worried how he will react

If it is the last, then I think you are missing a third possible reason Bob might get angry, which is deception and hiding.

I presume you don't want this to be a big deal and don't want Bob to be angry. So don't make this into a big deal by sitting Bob down to tell him. Just start mentioning this aspect of your life whenever you talk to him, and encourage Alice to do the same. Work it into an ordinary conversation.

Oh man, last week I went to [thing] with Alice and it was amazing! [Details of what was great about thing.] You should totally go if you get a chance!

[If Bob invites you to something] That sounds terrific! I need to check with Alice to see if we have plans that day already.

[If Bob tells you about something he did that sounds fun eg a movie, an art exhibition, a new restaurant] I wonder if Alice would like to go to that with me. It sounds like something she would really like.

Alice should be doing the same when she has her own conversations or get-togethers with Bob.

While he might ignore them, any one of these comments could easily lead Bob to say

Alice? What does she have to do with anything? She's my friend, after all.

(Or the equivalent sentence to Alice about you.)

At which point you can say something like,

Yes, she is your friend, and we've been on several (a few, a lot of) dates since a few months after you introduced us. I'm so glad you did!

Don't rush into a summary sentence like "we are falling in love" or "it's getting serious" or "it's time to tell people we are a couple". Let him ask you that sort of thing.

  • We have not been dating for 3 months, I was introduced to Alice 3 months ago. I have edited the OP to make this more clear.
    – Tom Eaton
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:13
  • that doesn't change much, but lowers the "we were keeping it secret" factor if you just didn't see Bob for those few weeks, even though you are close, or he and Alice are close. Still, don't make a big deal, just be sure to talk about this new excitement in your life. Dec 6, 2017 at 15:16
  • A reason for not telling him could be that you two weren't sure whether it's gonna work out or not and you didn't want to bother anyone with something that doesn't last long Dec 6, 2017 at 15:18

You said

Ideally, "Bob" will not mind and our friendship will not be affected.

I think this should happen in almost all situation, not just "ideally".

There are objectively no reasons for which Bob should be upset, except for the one and only case where

Bob has a crush on Alice

Does he (as far as you know)?

  • Case NO: where's the problem? Would you be upset if someone was dating your sister/friend/cousin/etc.? As long as your sister/friend/cousin/etc. is content, anybody else should be content. You sure can inform Bob, but more on a "Hey, look at how happy we are thanks to you" side.

  • Case YES: (the worst and hardest case) inform him right away, the sooner he knows the better, and be tactful while you do; this is the best you can do, after which whether to ruin or not to ruin your friendship will be all on him.


Regarding the age difference - if you can be friends with Bob (such good friends that you worry about hurting his feelings) when he is 7 years your senior, why shouldn't you date a girl 6 years older than you? Bob must consider you mature enough to be his friend, so he shouldn't see the age gap between you and Alice as an issue either.

I agree with a previous comment that this 'good news' might be welcomed by Bob and actually lighten his mood during this 'traumatic time'.

With this in mind I think you should tell him directly. Say:

You know I've been seeing some more of Alice.

I think a casual approach is best - the more you weight it, the more of a big deal it seems. You've not given us any solid reason to believe that Bob will react badly.

Hope all goes well.

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