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Polyamory Quick Tip: How to Wear the Friend Hat

·357 words·2 mins
Poly 101

Part of what can feel daunting when trying to navigate polyamorous relationships is how few cultural models we have for a lot of what happens.

How are we supposed to act when we’re sharing a romantic partner with others? And how should we interact with our metamours (i.e., our partner’s other partners)?

Popular depictions of love triangles are profoundly unhelpful. Adversarial. A great how-to of what _not _to do. And we unfortunately don’t have great examples of how we _should _act.

But as I said in a previous piece, we do have plenty of cultural models: They just aren’t romantic.

We share friends with others all the time. Even our best friends sometimes will have a _second _best friend.

So one really helpful tool I have in my polyamory toolbox is the Friend Hat.

Using the Friend Hat

The Friend Hat is a really simple technique with a lot of uses. That’s why it’s one of my favorites.

When you’re feeling a bit lost as to how to interact with a metamour, you can ask yourself:

What would I do if we weren’t sharing a lover but a best friend?

If you find yourself unhappy about your partner’s choice in other partners, the Friend Hat can be used as a self-check to differentiate between having practical concerns about a metamour and disliking them for other reasons:

Would I have concerns if a close friend were dating this person?

You can also use the Friend Hat as a check to determine whether or not your partner is making reasonable requests.

Would what my partner is doing or asking for be appropriate if that same request came from a close friend?

And it comes in handy to make sure you are also doing the same.

Would what I’m asking from my partner be reasonable if I was asking this of a close friend?


Now maybe that’ll help. And maybe it won’t. But wearing the Friend Hat means you at least have a starting point to launch your own assessments from.

Because sometimes it’s easier to rewrite something that you’re familiar with than to start completely from scratch.


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