How To Deal With Being The Only Single Friend
While I have been single for many years now, there are many reasons why one might be single. Whether by choice, chance, or the sheer fact that dating is hard and sometimes we’re just happy how we are. I have really found peace and freedom in being single. And while I thoroughly enjoy it, sure I also desire to be coupled up at some point. But it’s important to enjoy where you are no matter what. But being the only single friend in a group of friends can be a challenge.
Whether it’s your group text, or dinner out with your group, or an actual trip, dealing with being the lone single friend can be challenging to navigate. You can sometimes feel left out of the group or conversation at times. There are definitely some things you can do to cope with being the only single friend so you feel less isolated.
In all honesty, this is also a two way street. There have been married friends of mine where friendships just dwindled. And others that flourished even after their lives changed. I think with anything, take it all with a grain of salt. Some people are better friends than others, and sometimes big life changes will affect them. Period. But all you can do is control your own actions and mind frame. And these are some things I can do to help feel more included, and empowered, by my single-ness.
How To Deal With Being The Only Single Friend
Make The Most Of Your Free Time
Everyone’s busy with kids, marriages, soccer practice, whatever. But you know what you have that they sure as fuck don’t? Time. And lots of it. So enjoy it. If you don’t make the most of your freedom and this time in your life, you’re going to look back (even if you do find Mr. Right) and regret wasting it worrying, sulking or feeling left out. Embrace what you do have and that is lots of free time. People would kill for that, enjoy it!
Have An Agenda
I find that when I’m with married people, or parents, they tend to instantly talk about what they have in common. It’s sort of human nature right? Which leads the conversation instantly to talking about their kids, marriage, whatever. But if you’re the only single person at the table, it can make you feel isolated and not part of the conversation. Shame on your friends for not thinking about your feelings, but also shame on you for not speaking up and starting a conversation YOU can enjoy.
How do you do this? To avoid these scenarios, I like to come prepared with a bit of an agenda. It can be as simple as reminding yourself before walking into a get-together or heading on a group trip, a few things you know you and your friends have in common and can chat about. It sounds silly I know, but we tend to default to what’s easiest. Path of least resistance right? By having a few topics in mind you know you and your friends can chat about, you can be the conversation starter. You can hold control of the conversation and where it goes.
And if your coupled-up friends have nothing else to talk about besides their marriage or children, it’s time for new friends in general.
It’s Okay To Set Boundaries
Haven’t we all heard the “you’re so lucky you’re single, my husband is so annoying sometimes” bull shit. It happens all the time. Some sort of “aren’t you glad you aren’t in my shoes so let me vent to you about it all”. Set a god damn boundary. Because while they may think you’re living the life, you may also desire to be coupled up, which you’re allowed to desire. So dumping all their grievances on something you are wishing for is just rude. And if they can’t respect that, move on.
Let the married people bitch to one another, while us single folks can bitch to each another as well. Because sorry, I am also not answering questions that sound a little like “tell me about your dating horror stories” simply to entertain them because their marriage is not a horror show. That’s my boundary. Misery loves company, but we are not the same company as we are living two very different lives.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Ha, easier said than done, right? But it is definitely a muscle you can train. And I find a few things to be helpful here. It’s important to notice what your triggers are that make you spiral and start comparing yourself. Sometimes these may be things you see on Instagram, or conversations, or situations you get put in. Set boundaries for them. If it’s social media content, mute or unfollow. I can not tell you enough how important it is to focus on your mental health here. This goes for anything that you find yourself comparing. And if it’s conversations or social situations, set a boundary and be honest. Tell a friend “hey do you mind if we change the subject” or suggest a new place or outing that you know you’ll feel better in.
Become A Great Third Wheel
Okay so being the third wheel can totally suck. But it’s probably because your bestie might suck a bit too. It’s true. It’s rude to know that there is a third wheel hanging out and you aren’t making an effort to make people feel comfortable. I feel like that’s a general awareness thing people should know. Don’t be the friend who leaves your third wheeling friend out of conversations, or talk about inside jokes and be touchy feely the ENTIRE time. Be self aware. But you as the single person can also become a better third wheel.
Make an effort to grow your friendship with your friend’s partner. Get a group text going so you feel part of the group and grow your OWN inside jokes together. I’d suggest not texting husbands separately unless it’s a specific topic. I think this is a tad inappropriate unless in certain instances. Obviously, as friendships grow, you can adjust. But off the bat, if you’re not close with their significant other, start with a group text to grow your friendships.
It can be tempting to just settle for a relationship because you want to avoid being the only single friend anymore. But don’t. The only thing you gain from losing your singlehood when you settle, is misery. It’s not worth it. And if your friends try to tell you that you’re being “too picky” ask them if that meant that they weren’t picky enough with their significant other? It’s such a bizarre comment. I have standards. And that’s okay. Own it. Dating is also very different now than it was years ago when your old high school and college friends were dating their now partners. They’ll never understand, and that’s okay. And that’s why we aim to also have single friends!
Grow Your Single Friend Group
While being the only single friend in your friendship group can be successful and not miserable (trust me, I do it, my friends are great!) it is also important to grow your single friend group too. Having a group of women who get dating in this new era is super important. And I get it, making new friends is hard. But here are a few tips to growing your network and making new friends when you’re an adult.
Don’t Read Too Much Into Social Media
It can be easy to draw conclusions about not being invited out when you see your friends getting together. This is another reason why you may need to mute your friends on social. It’s fine, it’s your little secret. But I feel like we tend to feel left out when we see things on social media that we weren’t invited to. Yet it doesn’t ever cross our own minds when we’re on the flip side sharing our social outing when we didn’t invite every one of our friends, too. It’s a petty thing to worry about. Unless you continually find yourself being left out and not included as a friend anymore, then there’s an issue. Maybe it’s something worth addressing, or maybe it’s the friendship just dwindling.
Just know that people are going to get together without you. And that’s why it’s important to have your own single friends, your own hobbies and joys, and know that your friends may want to hang out with their coupled up friends sometimes. That’s just life.
For more conversations about dating, being single and happiness, you can browse some of my favorite posts right here.