The effects of being the single friend of the group, when all your friends are married or in serious relationships.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about being the single sister, about the stages of coping with being the single sister. In this blog post, I would like to go through the effects of being the single friend. Which has been even stranger than being the single sister… Because deep down, I always knew that I was the most likely to stay single out of the three of us. However, amongst my friends, it wasn’t always so obvious. In fact… All of my friends and I always thought that I would be amongst the first to marry, not the last.
I was always the friend with the boyfriend, and most of my friends, while they did have boyfriends from time to time… Never quite as constant as me. I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends, but I did have long term relationships that were very serious. And now, I’m near to the only single friend. Out of all of my close friends, 90% of them (if not more), are either married, engaged or in very serious, long term relationships. And even more so, I’m so far away from it, especially now with COVID.
As the single friend, you basically go through very similar stages I wrote about in “the Single Sister” post. Perhaps even the exact same ones. However, there are a few additions that differentiate the single friend from the single sister title.
You feel left out sometimes
I have a couple of friends that we’ve always hung out one-on-one, so this does not apply to them. However, I do have a few other friends that we mostly got together and hung out all of us together, and once in a while one on one, too. If you’re hanging out with a group of friends, and they all have their significant other, or if you’re at an event and you’re the only one without a +1… It can be quite frustrating. Especially if you have difficulty feeling comfortable in your own company and skin. Great friends would be minded to this, but even for them it’s difficult to always be on point. Not to mention, they understandably want to spend some time with their significant others.
Two of my closest friends are both married, and for a long time now we’ve been a trio. – Hanging out either all three or just two of us, if one can’t. However, since they got married they started double dating with their husbands, and while I’m super happy for them, and I really do think it’s great… It can be a little deflating at times, and even though I try not to let it get to me, I’m only human. And sometimes I can’t help but feel left out.
You’re priorities and preferences are different
It’s likely your friends no longer want to go out as much, and prefer to stay in, or head home early when you are out. Cutting outings short, or just not being as wild and crazy as they used to be. Which for me, is okay, because I’ve never been much of a partier. But many of my friends have become that “old couple” that just doesn’t want to go out as much anymore, if at all. Let alone do anything too over the top, like go out to a bar or pub in the middle of the night. They simply lose any interest to actually go out, have a few drinks and listen to some loud music.
This doesn’t apply to everyone, because I know many couples (that are also over 30), that still go out regularly. Unless they have kids, then in both cases it’s mostly out of the picture, and is very rare to get them out at night. If you’re single, you get to decide for yourself what you want, when you want. And your married friends likely can’t, because they have a husband to think about, maybe even kids. Not to mention, that their own priorities may have changed too. Perhaps they no longer want to do the same things you do, or it’s not as important anymore, if at all.
Your interests and discussion topics are different
In general in life, as time passes and we go through life experiencing new things… We also change and evolve, and so do our interests and hobbies. If you’re still single but your friend is not, then it’s likely that the topics you used to talk about will change. Personally, I still manage to find so many things to talk about with my friends. But sometimes, there are topics like marriage life and problems, or talking about children…That can be very boring for singles. Especially if they’re spoken about in a group setting.
I’m not talking about your friend just sharing with you, getting things off their chest. More like when you’re feeling left out or disconnected when everyone around you is talking about changing diapers. Baby steps and achievements, or marital issues. It’s also likely that your friends won’t want to speak about boys as much… Or have any interest in hanging out with you in places where you can meet potential suitors.
They have less time for you, and may grow apart
This one is definitely quite inevitable, no matter how much effort you put in. Keeping in touch and maintaining friendships takes some work, and that’s not easy to begin with. Especially when you have many different friends… And even more so if they’re not all in the same group of friends that always hangs out together. So when your friends now need to devote most of their time and attention on their significant other… And even more so if they have kids, there will be less time for you. And that’s okay, I get it and it’s part of life. It’s just not always easy.
If you and your friend want this friendship… You will find a way to keep it, and it will stay strong even if you don’t meet up a lot. However, for many people this is not the case, and again, it’s hard to maintain so many deep relationships… So when your friends get married, and especially when they start having kids, you may just naturally grow apart as time passes. If you don’t put in the effort, you just might lose touch.
I do believe that a true friendship can survive it all, as long as you put in the effort.
If you feel like you’re being neglected or if there’s anything else that is bothering you… I highly encourage you to talk to your friends about it. Because they may not notice it on their own, no matter how attentive they are. Especially if you’re good at hiding it like me. True great friends will care and even want you to tell them. And they will put in that extra effort to make some changes to make you feel better.
Sometimes you might need to adapt and reevaluate certain friendships, because as difficult and as sad as it may be, it’s also part of life. People grow apart. Other friendships will probably undergo some shifting and some altercations accordingly. You also need to accept the fact that sometimes friends will go on double dates without you… Just like you go out with single friends without them. If you don’t have single friends, this might be a great time to start befriending some. Either way, it’s important to be minded to the things that bother you, and work on solving them. Because there’s always a way. And if you don’t you’ll probably end up even more miserable.
I also like to look at what I have and cherish that, instead of focusing on what I don’t and they do.
Being single is so great, and I have many posts about being single and happy, and practicing self love. Most of your married friends may even be more envious of what you have and they no longer do. Not that this is a jealousy competition… But there are pros and cons to both sides, and I do believe that everything is what you make of it. So try to just focus on your pros and make the most of them.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
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