FRIEND ALERT! FRIEND ALERT! YOUR SINGLE FRIENDS NEED YOU!
Are you one of a twosome, head over heels and goo goo eyed in your love bubble? Have you perhaps forgotten what it’s like to be single and a part of the minority, rather than the majority? Still got single friends who you no longer understand?
Then this post is for you!
Your single friends need you. It’s as simple as that. In my experience in the realms of relationships and friendships, there are two types of people in the world. The ones who disappear into a relationship and make friendships secondary, and the ones who place the same amount of value on friendships as they do on romantic relationships. That’s not to say that the first group of people suddenly stops caring about their friendships, it’s just that their focus shifts away from the effort they might have put into friendship, to making their romantic relationship as successful as possible. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but if you’re the one losing your friend, it can feel pretty harsh.
And we cannot blame people for wanting to pair off and find their happy ending in the arms of another that they find attractive AND interesting; I mean, that’s the dream right? However, becoming a casualty of this happy journey can be a bit disheartening. At this current moment in time, probably about 90% of my friends are in pretty serious relationships, and this is nothing new. I’ve been a card carrying third wheel since my early teens. Whilst I was busy being a late bloomer, my friends would play trial and error with the boys and girls via serial monogamy games, and I was pretty happy being the single friend who dated on and off much later, who always had a new guy on the horizon to make jokes with my friends about. But then, things started to change.
It didn’t happen gradually – or maybe it did and I just didn’t notice – but before I knew it, everyone but me was in a pretty serious relationship and I was starting to receive subtle nuggets of advice and comments about my own dating pitfalls. I wondered how I had gone from happily single to an ‘us and them’ situation in just a few short months. Worse still was that there was less opportunity to wax poetic about some of the brief dalliances I was engaging in in the dating arena, because now friends only wanted to hear about it if the person was serious. But, but, but, if they were serious, they wouldn’t be brief and I wouldn’t be making jokes about them! The friends that had previously been single with me, or at least were still able to identify with the experience of being a single person, were becoming less and less, until there was just me on an island of one.
I couldn’t call up my friends for an impromptu drink anymore, because 9 times out of 10 they were doing something with a significant other. I was invited to less things because I wasn’t part of a couple, and when I was invited, I felt more and more out of place. Where were my buddies, who I could talk to about anything? Why couldn’t I just call them up and chat with them, without worrying about interrupting something they were doing that was more important, like hanging with a significant other? And hang on; how come I’m not as important anymore?
In the rare times I’ve been in a relationship for an extended period of time, I’ve always been mindful that I didn’t want to leave my friends behind, mostly because I know how that feels. I would never cancel on friends for a partner, and I would expect a partner to be the same with their friends also – always stipulating how important my friends were to me.
And then recently I got a clue, finally. Perhaps the natural order of things was that you had friends growing up and eventually in adulthood, you all simultaneously got into relationships and then you wouldn’t have that awkward single friend problem because you were all in a couple and so could totally understand each other once again.
Excuse me whilst I gag on my own sarcasm.
Why oh why oh why should friendship come second to a romantic relationship? Why should there even be a ranking? Why can’t there just be, the people you have in your life, where no one is asking you to choose between anything, and that space of care you had for friendships doesn’t suddenly have to be drowned out by someone you now share a bed with?
I need my friends and I am not ashamed of that fact. Please do not take my frustration as bitterness – I’m happy when my friends are genuinely happy, in or out of relationships – I just take issue with the way things inevitably go. This isn’t about being able to see friends everyday (I couldn’t do that even if they were all single, none of us have that physical time); this is about that invisible wall that builds over time between the friend in a relationship, and the single friend. The wall that makes it harder for the single friend to talk about a potential guy or not yet meeting ‘that guy’, or even their relationship status in general without the relationship friend eyeing them with a little pity, and some deluded assumption that they know better about all things relationship related now.
This doesn’t apply to all friends by any means, but the invisible wall is starting to happen with the majority, and I fear that my FRIENDS TV Series fantasy that I’ve been holding on to for years (where myself and five friends live in close proximity and our hanging out schedule never changes regardless of whether we’re in or out of relationships) will never quite come to fruition. Also, this doesn’t apply to friends with kids because I feel like taking care of another human being and making sure they stay alive can take priority over most things, and that is really OK.
But to the friends in relationships that have single friends, here’s the best piece of advice I can give you: Your friendship with your single friend will inevitably change because you’re in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that it has to disappear completely. If you want to keep your friend, then keep being a friend.
Image credit: Couple and Woman by Lluisa Iborra from the Noun Project