Sometimes, we single people wonder if our married friends have forgotten what it’s like to be single. There’s misunderstanding because we’re at different situations in life. I’ve been blessed to have close married friends who still get it, but I’ve also been in those awkward moments. To clarify some of these misunderstandings, here are 10 ways married friends can support their single friends.
1. Invite us to spend time with you because you’re still you. Being married didn’t change your character or personality (we hope). We’re still friends. Let’s spend time together. From the single friend’s perspective, I can tell you that I’m more mindful of staying out late with my married friends, especially if they have children, because I know they have people waiting for them at home. I’m also mindful of when we go out, because they may not be available on as many days as they were when they were single.
So if you got married and your single friend suddenly spends less time with you, it’s most likely because she doesn’t know how to approach you. She’s wondering if you can stay out late, or if you’re still willing to go out dancing with her, or if you’d even want to go out (in case you extended that honeymoon, know what I mean?). It will help to extend the invitation yourself and be open about what’s changed with your schedule (if any). My friends and I toss out several days at each other and find that night we’re all available.
2. Don’t turn us into your token single friend and only invite us out when you want to let loose. That makes us feel used, as well as pressured to show you how fabulously raging our lives are. Not all of us like the night life. Some nights are quiet and low-key. We’d love to spend those kinds of nights with you, too.
3. Don’t be afraid to invite us to your married-friends gathering. Here’s the thing. The older we get, the more people get married and the more the single friend gets singled out. The more we become the rarity, and we get left out of BBQs and holiday parties. Because more of our friends are married, those gatherings look like married-friends-only gatherings that may seem awkward for the single friend. Let us worry about our own feelings of awkwardness. If we don’t feel like being surrounded by married couples, we’ll turn down your invitation, but it would be nice to be invited in the first place.
4. Ask for permission before trying to set us up because not all of us want to be set up or ambushed at your married-friends party. Some single friends want to stay married forever. Some go through phases of wanting to marry and wanting to stay single. Some don’t date; some do. Some like being set-up; some really, really don’t. Ask first. If we say no, don’t push.
5. Stop asking these questions: Why are you still single? When will you get married? Don’t you want to get married? Do you have a boyfriend, yet? Are you seeing someone? When will you start dating?
Because we’ve pretty much answered them a million times. I understand that people are curious and most come from a place of genuine interest to share life. But perhaps first check our social media accounts, or ask, “What’s new?” If we don’t mention a significant other, it’s either because we don’t have one or we want to keep it private. Either way, we’re not ready to divulge information.
6. Be open about your own relationship, especially if you can’t help but ask us about our single life. Don’t interrogate us about our single life, and then not reciprocate about your married life. Also, it’s good to help us see the reality of marriage, its ups and downs, its joys and challenges. Don’t assume we’re uninterested in hearing about your life, or that we won’t get it.
7. Release us from multiple gift-giving like during Christmas, especially if your family is growing and a friendship hasn’t developed between us and your spouse. We’d love to celebrate the holidays with you, but the holidays are expensive. This is coming from someone who’s love language is gifts. It’s hard to give individual gifts to families. We hope you can appreciate one gift for all of you to share, even if it’s really just for your kids to enjoy.
8. Don’t assume we have more time than you. Being single doesn’t mean tons of free time. If your single friend is always traveling or going out or doing this or that, it’s not because she has tons of time, but it’s because she carved out the time for them. Married or single, we’ll make time for what’s important. The priorities are just different. Don’t assume we have the time to do you that favor, especially if it’s last minute. Go ahead and ask, but don’t say, “…since you’re single” or “…since you have the time” or “…since you’re not married/don’t have kids.”
9. Want more for us than marriage. If we want to marry someday, it’s not the only desire we have. There are other areas of life we want more of or to grow in, like career, ministry, and other personal goals. Let’s talk more than just the topic of marriage.
10. Count us in as godly adults in your child’s life. Something I learned about family ministry, is that parents are the primary spiritual leaders of a child’s life, but a child’s chances of growing spiritually and staying in the church increases as the number of godly adults in his life increases. Don’t count out your single friends as spiritual leaders in your child’s life, especially when your child hits puberty and the teen years. We can be your partners in leading your child into spiritual maturity, especially when your child vies for more independence from you.
Join me this month as I talk about loving your single life. Tomorrow, I’ll share some ways single friends can support married friends.
Tell me. What’s one thing you wish your married friends knew about your single life?