How Not to be a Dick to Your Single Friends in Five Steps

What to do when you have a partner to maintain your friendships.

Being single can be hard, really hard and what doesn’t make it any easier is when your coupled friends stop understanding your single status. They seem to just magically forget that they haven’t always been in a relationship and come out with eye-rolling comments such as “the less you look, the more likely you will find it” and “I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be single now” yeah thanks for that…

If you are in a couple cocoon, you may not realise that you do the below behaviours with your single friends so this is a good checklist to keep in mind to maintain your friendships.

(Single girls if you have coupled friends that do any of the below to you maybe casually forward to said coupled friend this article … they probably don’t realise…)

How not to be a dick to your single friends in 5 steps

1. Don’t slot your friends around your partner’s schedule

Have you ever had it when a coupled friend reaches out to make Saturday night plans to find out she is only going out because her boyfriend is? At first, you get all excited thinking of the past crazy nights that you drunkenly walked home sharing a pizza and laughed the next day at all the drunken photos you took in the toilets. You hope that maybe you could recreate some of that magic. Then it slips out that your friend’s partner is going out with his friends and you know that it is the only reason she wants to see you. It’s especially annoying when your friend wants to ‘out fun’ her partner on his night out “If he’s going to a club WE are too”

If this is you

Let me tell you it feels pretty shitty to be on the receiving end of this. Remember, your friends were there before your partner and will be there when your relationship goes through a rocky patch. No relationship is perfect, and there will be times when you need your girlfriends and a bottle of wine (or two). Don’t treat your friends as consolation prizes with your time. Their time and energy to the relationship are as valuable as yours coupled up or not.

2. Don’t try and set them up with your boyfriend’s weird friends

Your friend wants to spend time with you. But she keeps pushing her boyfriend’s single and often weird friends onto you. You almost feel a sense of obligation to try with his single friend even though ordinarily you wouldn’t give him the time of day. You almost feel like if you don’t go out with them as a group, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your friend. You start to feel pressured and awkward about the situation.

If this is you

I know you want to see your partner as much as possible and if their friends get on with your friends you can all see each other even more HOORAH! This group situation even limits the chances of your guy meeting other girls as his single friends would be with your single friends. DOUBLE BONUS But… this is a really selfish reason to set your friends up with someone. Unless this friend of his is a great match leave this alone.

3. Don’t not invite them to things

Your friends start to do couple things together with other couple friends, weekends away, dinner parties, and you aren’t invited. It looks like a kind of unspoken rule that only if you have a partner that you can join. You begin to feel further and further ostracised from the group, especially when you are alone over the holidays. Not only do you have no one to go out with, but your friends have gone out without you. You want to tell your friends that being single in a room full of couples doesn’t make you feel left out but being excluded does.

If this is you

Sometimes we get so used to seeing our friends and our boyfriend separately that we don’t even think of merging the two. You might even think it will be hard to split your attention between the two when you are so used to devoting it all to one or the other. But, try and adapt, merging your single friends with couples isn’t necessarily awkward. Your single friend will at most have a great time and at least be thankful for the invite.

4. Don’t talk about your partner all the time (or only contact your friend when you are having trouble in your relationship)

You’re happy for your friend you genuinely are that she is all loved up in a relationship. Still, you miss gossiping about people you went to high school with, discussing if you should do further education or complaining about your boss being unbearable. It feels like her love life dominates your conversation as if news about your life is trivial. It’s also super awkward when she is bitching about him over some argument about unloading the dishwasher — as you feel like you can’t contribute. Listening to your friend only talk about her boyfriend gets boring pretty quickly and leaves you feeling like your life means so much less to her now.

If this is you

Talking about your boyfriend’s new diet or about the day you both went sofa shopping might be interesting to you, but it might not be so much to your friend who feels like you aren’t involved in their life. I know your new (or old) love is really freaking exciting to you, but that doesn’t take prominence over everything happening in your friend’s life. It’s OK to talk about your relationship but don’t make it the only thing that you talk about. Life is so much more than that.

5. Don’t stop socialising where they serve alcohol

Your coupled friends stop wanting to go out in bars, and you see the chances of you being able to socialise to meet new people start to diminish. It’s like now they have their partner why should they bother going out? Which seriously sucks for you…Not only have you lost your weekend buddy but you also now have no one to go out on the weekends. Your socialising is now all midweek coffee catch-ups, which is fine, but it isn’t what you both want in your friendship.

If this is you

Remember when you had fun going out? It wasn’t all about getting a guy, was it? Of course, that was an element of the night, the whole looking at who’s eyeing up who but the essence of your night out was having a good time with your friends. Why does that have to stop now you have a partner? Now you have a boyfriend you can still go for food and some nice drinks afterwards. Balance what you do socially with what your single friend wants to do.

Sometimes a little empathy and understanding can go a long way when people go through different stages of their lives. Adapting and balancing what you both want in your friendships is vital. And remember situations can always change so value your friendships and don’t take them for granted in whatever situation.

Freelance writer. You can find me reading under a palm tree in Rio de Janeiro. E-mail: nikola.grace.radley@gmail.com

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