We may have entered into a new phase of our lives, but this doesn’t give us a license to dole out unsolicited advice and opine on the actions of our single friends. Sometimes, it’s a miscommunication. Sometimes, it’s jealousy. Sometimes, it’s just oblivion. If you hear us saying these things, here are some insights:
1. “You weren’t invited because I didn’t think you’d want to be around other couples.” We think we’re being thoughtful by not subjecting you to feeling lonely, jealous, or bored. Instead, we’re offending you. If we really thought about it, we’d know that a close single friend will want the option of being included in our plans and is perfectly capable of enjoying a night out with friends, couples or not.
2. “You’ll find someone special soon. It’ll happen when you stop looking.” Don’t you love these gems of wisdom? What single person who wants to meet someone isn’t looking? And what if it doesn’t happen soon? And why does finding someone special have to be the magical solution that all of life’s focus should be about? It’s not. We need to think broader than that. We’re just trying to keep you hopeful, but really, it comes off as callous and condescending.
3. “I wish I had more free time, like you.” We say this while frantically running to the dry cleaners to pick up our partner’s work clothes or attending family’s events on both sides or navigating two schedules instead of one like in our former single days. We’ve forgotten that being single doesn’t mean you live a life of leisure. In fact, you’re working hard on one income, running errands with no help, attending tons of social functions and likely spending more than your fair share of time dating, a second full time job.
4. “Why would you ever spend money on THAT?” Our days of springing for designer clothing or last minute trips to Las Vegas are probably behind us. Especially since we’re saving for a home, children or married people stuff. We may have forgotten that it’s fine to splurge on something every now and then. Plus we have no idea what your budget is and it’s none of our business anyway. We’re jealous. Let’s just leave it at that.
5. “I’m so happy that I don’t have to date anymore!” This is just rude and likely inaccurate. We’re envious that you get the chance to meet new and exciting people on a regular basis, whereas our days of hot, steamy one-night stands are long gone.
6. “I didn’t invite you with a date, even though you started seeing someone.” This may seem cheap and thoughtless on our part. Many times it’s about the size of our event, budget and not having to cut decent friends from our guest list so that your semi-significant other of a couple months can attend. As a former single girl, I loathed going solo to weddings. Especially the slow dances. But I often found such events to be a great opportunity to catch up with out of town friends visiting and talk to other single guys.
7. “You’re too picky. That’s why you haven’t met anyone.” We think it’s helpful to point this out when it seems like you have a revolving door of potential prospects. You may be ending relationships with people because they’re too loud, too quiet, too angry, too boring, too nice, too short, too awkward or too controlling. Ignore us. You’re the one that has to be in the relationship, not us. We just want to see you be happy.
8. “I would never do online dating. It’s too sketchy to meet total strangers online.” We only say this because we’ve probably been with our significant other for a really long time and met in high school, college or through friends. We probably never tried online dating. Anyone living in 2014 should be aware that online and app dating is normal these days. Educate us.
9. “I know this great person I want to set up you up with. They have a gambling problem, are broke from a divorce and have alimony payments but they are single too and actively looking!” Married people love to set up their single friends but ignore that just because people have been actively looking to settle down for a long time, doesn’t mean they’re willing to settle. It’s insulting to push two people together just because they both have pulses and breathe oxygen.
10. “I can’t make it to your birthday party because I’m so busy with (married life things).” Getting married does not excuse us from continuing to attend social functions for our single friends. That said, we will have more in-law family obligations and at times will need to coordinate / compromise with our significant other in terms of choosing things to go to, but if we value your friendship, we’ll keep showing up for you.
11. “Partner and I think this. Partner and I are planning this anniversary trip and I can’t decide if she should go on an African safari or Four Seasons in Hawaii. Partner did the funniest thing the other day…” We’re probably in that honeymoon phase of completing our significant other’s sentences. You’ll find this incredibly annoying, especially when we go to brunch together and every other word out of my mouth is about my partner. It’s probably a phase. Don’t be afraid to call out such behavior as you’ll be saving us from losing friendships all over the place.
12. “Better make plans with me now before the babies come.” Sad to say, but this is just reality. The first several months of becoming new parents is unlike any other several months of your life. They are all encompassing and life is flipped upside down. That’s the simple truth. Friends can be supportive, but unless they have moved in to help, they will need to understand that they will (and should) play second fiddle to that baby.
13. “I can’t make it because I have to spend time with Husband/Wife/Partner.” Believe it or not, just because your married friend lives with his or her spouse, does not mean that they spend quality time together without effort. Work schedules, baby schedules and other obligations often make regular bonding time a challenge. Understand that your married friends may need to take time out for their relationship.
14. “Maybe you should join a running club or put yourself out more if you really want to meet someone.” If this is said in response to a single friend complaining how they are not meeting anyone, it could be a helpful suggestion. Going about the same routines and spending time with the same people is not helpful for meeting new romantic prospects. That said, it’s easier said than done and coming from a married person, such advice often comes off as smug.
15. “I’m having a birthday party for my 2 year old with a bunch of 2 year old friends with clowns and a five performers dressed as Disney princesses and will be insulted if you don’t come.” In contrast to #1 above, this married person is trying to be inclusive and mindful of not crossing you off the invite list simply because you don’t have a Disney princess. But forcing you to feel guilty if you don’t attend is not cool. You have every right to decline and your married friend should understand. If you really want to shock everyone, jump in with both feet and arrive dressed as your inner Elsa from Frozen.