It’s that time of year again when thousands of women say yes to the bling and wedding invitations appear in the mailbox with your choice of chicken or fish. Your Facebook timeline is polluted with cheesy engagement photos and epic proposals; one outdoing the other. All of a sudden you’re aware more than ever of just how single you are! You try to hide, but you know better and adjust to the new found excitement but deep down you’ve seen how this plays out before…another friend bites the dust. Staying hopeful you attend the wedding and then…you never talk to your friend again. Okay I’m being a little dramatic, but things certainly do change and they change fast.
In the beginning I harbored so much jealousy and anger due to the adjustments that I wasn’t ready for and there were so many things that I wish I could have told my girlfriends before they walked down that aisle. I felt alienated and for awhile I faded to the background but over time we worked on our friendship because they needed me just as much as I needed them. However in order for us to maintain our own relationship, it required them to put in effort and things began to change for the better. Here are a few friendship codes of conduct when you are newly engaged and have single friends:
1. Share their accomplishments on social media the same way you share other people’s engagements
A great form of inclusion is celebration. In today’s era we celebrate and share so much via social media including finishing that degree, buying a new car and home, and of course… An engagement. However, what about your single friend who traveled overseas to do volunteer work for a cause, or wrote her first novel, or started a business, or developed her brand? Those are important things to share with a larger network too. In fact some people may argue that those career game changers are more important than being just another wife to somebody. However all of those things are special indeed.
2. Call them sometimes to see how they are doing
Everyone assumes that because your single and or childless that you don’t have as many worries or issues but that’s just not the case! Your single friends have extremely lonely days where no one bothers to check up on them and if they live alone that loneliness can dwell in their heads and hearts and make them think no one cares about them. Married friends stop calling their single friends for fear of not having anything to relate to. There starts to be a preference for talking to the women who have a committed relationship because they somehow seem to understand their own lifestyle better. However, if you don’t limit your conversation to just relationship talk, than you will see you still have lots in common with your homegirl!
3. Make plans with only them
Leave the man and caravan of married ladies at home and make plans to go to brunch, the movies, or shopping with your friend just like you used to do before the man and the family became the center of your universe. By doing this it reinforces that you can still be that home girl from way back who doesn’t let a relationship dictate the sisterhood and bond that you developed since day one. So many women make the mistake of disregarding their friendships and then when they need a friend they are no longer relevant to that individual.
4. When spending time with your group of friends don’t spend hours talking about marriage and or your relationships
I once went to a ladies gathering to do vision board making and a friend of mine literally spent an hour talking about weddings and marriage. Granted she was excited because another one of our friends recently got engaged as I too was but I was the only one single out of five women. It annoyed the heck out of me and I bit my tongue so hard and pretended to be excited to hear all of it. But inside I was annoyed especially because I had recently gotten out of another failed relationship. It didn’t feel good inside.
5. Show up for your friends important milestones
I can no longer keep count how many baby showers I’ve attended or weddings and all the gifts I’ve bought. But, once I had a book release party and only one of girlfriends I grew up with came. One out of five!!!!! Some of them offered sincere apologies about not being able to make it but some didn’t say anything, let the days go by as if I did this on a regular every weekend. No one called with an apology or took into account that it was my very first book that I had ever written! It hurt me to the core at that time and I felt so unimportant to my friends. We’ve since moved past that but the pain still lingered for awhile.
6. Don’t throw a pity party for your single friends
Have many times has a single woman heard this? “Aww don’t worry you’ll find someone for you.” I’m sure many times. Nobody wants to feel like charity or like something is wrong with them for being single, especially among their girlfriends. What is already understood doesn’t need to be said. Clearly if you could attract love so can they. The rules of attraction apply for everyone it’s just a matter of timing and no one needs that type of reassurance which actually does the opposite…. It breeds contempt. Instead try using language that’s uplifting and positive and move on quickly from the Debbie downer moments .
7. Include them in your wedding
When the first of my girlfriends got married I was not asked to participate in her wedding. I was confused. I had known my friend since we were freshmen in high school and although I went away to a different college I still loved her very much. I was at least invited to attend the wedding however and when I got there I noticed people in the wedding who weren’t even that close to her and there was a bit of drama on the backend which did not support her decision. I didn’t really want to be in a wedding at the time but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I wasn’t even ASKED. This happened again a few other times with my homegirls as the years continued. Don’t think that all your single friends are too wrapped up or envious to actually be happy for you. When we were younger we said we would be in each other’s weddings, those dreams have now deteriorated because people sometimes change when they get in relationships.
8. Be honest with your girls
I find that the biggest disappointment once your friend gets married is how much they hold back after saying I do. Heart to hearts become fewer and your friend no longer trusts your insight or advice because her man is there for that and she no longer goes deep with you to solve the root of issues. I miss those days when you could meet up with your girlfriend, pour out your heart and they would listen even if it took two hours. Afterwards, they would give your their honest opinion! Everyone needs a plateful of realness served piping hot every now and again.
9. Plan a girls getaway and actually have fun
The first trip I ever took with my married friends after they got married was a bit different. I already knew it would be because these women were beyond flirting but I didn’t consider they would forget how to actually have the kind of fun that they didn’t have to feel guilty about later. Newly married women I learned, were extra careful not to stay out too late, not to dance too hard, and did not want any unsolicited attention from the opposite sex. If a group of guys walked by us and gave a compliment on the trip they would freeze up or immediately be rude and as the single girl I sometimes felt they could at least be cordial without giving an impression of interest. It’s healthy communicating with the opposite sex as long as it’s innocent conversation. I spent that trip regretting why I didn’t go with my at least one other single friend who didn’t really have a list of rules and and would at least allow me interaction with other single men.
10. Don’t forget you were once a single girl too
Before you met “the one” before you accepted a ring and said yes, you were just like the rest of us. A Single, independent woman trying to find her purpose in this world, be great, and find true love. Did you forget all of that? Did you forget what your options were before your knight and shinning armor came and saved the day? Life used to consist of parties where you could dance and openly be yourself, spontaneous travel, and trash talking. Remember who you are and don’t get lost in the mesh of bridal showers and seating charts. Have a glass of wine with your single homegirl and enjoy an afternoon where you keep it all the way real with your day ones.
Appreciate your girlfriends no matter if they are single or married. As much as married women need to be kind to their single friends, it’s very important as single women that we are also respectful and adapt to the changes that are happening in our married friends lives as well. The world does not revolve around us and sometimes our friends won’t be able to accommodate us in the way that we are used to. But, with a little understanding your friendship can withstand the true test of time!
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