Have YOUR friends ditched you just because you’re SINGLE? Here’s how to handle it
When I was 15, back in the day when people whispered ‘She’s divorced’ behind their hands, my parents split up – and my mother almost instantly lost most of her friends.
Forty years ago, you couldn’t have a pretty, single woman in your friendship group. She’d be out to steal your husband!
The next sentence should be ‘How times have changed’ … except, sadly, they haven’t.
Lots of single women are still ostracised from close groups of friends for the same reason: they’re seen as a threat.
In a couple, you’re their ‘lovely friend Maria’; single, you become “Maria who’s desperate and sex-starved and might just have her eye on my partner’.
It’s the complete opposite for men: half decent single men aren’t just welcomed by couples and groups of friends, they’re snapped up within seconds for single girlfriends.
Why not the reverse?
Because another thing hasn’t changed: there always seems to be a much higher proportion of great single women than single men and women are still the social organisers.
It’s unusual for men to arrange the get togethers, so if a woman does feel threatened by a desirable, newly single friend, it’s remarkably easy to suddenly forget to include her.
Anyone who has ever been given the cold shoulder for this reason by friends they love and rely on for support will never do this to others.
Breaking up with your friends can sometimes hurt more than breaking up with a partner.
It’s unfair, it’s cruel and it’s mean.
I have been blessed with friends who have always made me welcome regardless of whether I’m single or partnered up.
I sometimes think my couple friends preferred me single because I’d come over and entertain them with all my dramatic dating stories so they could live vicariously through me!
Some couples love having single friends for this reason.
But single ‘blacklisting’ definitely goes on.
Rather a lot it seems.
This is despite the fact that being single is becoming more the norm than ever before (2015 figures from the Office of National Statistics show 51% of people in England and Wales aren’t married.)
Here’s how to deal with it if it’s happening to you (and something you should also read if you’re thinking of doing it to your single friend).
WHAT TO DO IF FRIENDS OSTRACISE YOU SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU’RE SINGLE:
Take it as a compliment
Their bad behaviour stems from fear: they’re frightened their partner will find you so irresistible, they’ll either attempt to seduce you for a bit on the side or fall madly in love and run off into the sunset.
In essence, it’s a compliment: if you weren’t attractive, they wouldn’t feel threatened.
Give them time to adjust
Another reason why people avoid seeing a couple once they split is because it makes them feel nervous about their own relationship.
If you split up, it means they might too.
Even the happiest couple imagines what it might be like to be single again when good friends separate or divorce.
This is all normal and, again, no reflection on their affection for you.
After a month or so, most friends have dealt with it and are over the blip.
So give people time to adjust.
Think about how much you want the friendship
You’ve waited a while and it’s now obvious you have been dropped by certain friends?
Personally, I’d have a good think about whether you still want the friendship.
Any friend who suddenly doesn’t want to see you purely because you’re single is effectively saying they don’t trust you or don’t consider you interesting enough to see solo.
If you understand where the insecurity is coming from or think there might be more to it, fine.
But if you don’t, maybe it’s wise to let them drift away.
If you do still want the friendship, fight for it.
Call and say ‘Look, I feel like we don’t see each other enough anymore and I miss you all/both. Is there a reason why I’m not invited around as much?’.
Few people will have the courage to admit they’re threatened and are pretty much forced to make a date to see you.
Once she’s seen you a few times and realised nothing has changed and you aren’t making a dastardly play for her or other friend’s husbands or partners, she might well calm down.
Who knows? You might laugh about it later!
If you’ve just been dumped or single for longer than you’d like, you feel unattractive as well as unloved.
Flirting with your male friends – innocently – seems just what the doctor ordered to lift your confidence.
And it is, if they’re single.
Sometimes, even if they’re attached, their partner won’t mind a bit, especially if you’re very old friends and she knows you wouldn’t dream of muscling in on her man.
But if they’re not old friends or she’s the jealous type, don’t go there.
Also be careful when getting dating advice from someone else’s husband or partner.
It’s a great idea to get a male perspective on things or another view from a gay girlfriend whose opinion you really value – especially if they know you well.
But even if you don’t want the other person’s advice, it’s respectful to ask both of them together.
Even if they know you’re completely uninterested in their partner romantically, the intimacy can feel disturbing.
Don’t ostracise yourself!
Sometimes, you ostracise yourself from your couple friends rather than the other way around because you feel like the odd one out.
One woman I counselled lives in Kent, and said she felt so ‘ashamed’ not to have a husband, she stopped seeing her friends.
I was shocked that she thought that way: half of Britain is divorced, why on earth should she feel shame?
“It’s different in London,” she say.
“In the suburbs, people are old-fashioned. I rarely get included and when I do the women are embarrassingly territorial over their men or I feel sad that I haven’t got someone by my side.”
The obvious advice – to hang out with single people instead – works for younger people.
But if you’re a bit older, single friends can be hard to find.
Make new friends
But it’s not impossible to find them.
It’s much easier to expand your world by trying new things when you’re single because you only have yourself to answer to.
Make a list of five things you’ve always wanted to try then do one new thing a month (or a week if you’re feeling adventurous).
The more new people you meet, the more new friends you’ll make.
Friends who have a healthy mix of single and coupled up friends and couldn’t care less if you’re ‘you’ or part of two.
See your couple friends as inspiring
Rather than seeing couples as people to envy, see them as inspiration.
They found love, so will you.
If you really can’t handle being around couples right now, see friends separately.
Not all couples are joined at the hip.
Ditch any friends who make you feel bad about being single
To be happy single, you have to stop listening to people who tell you you shouldn’t be, that it’s ‘unnatural’ to be single, that life can only be good when you’re part of a couple and people who insist your entire life purpose is to find a mate.
People mean well but those boring, repetitive, antiquated things others assume just because you’re (Gosh! How tragic!) On Your Own, will do nothing but drag you down.
Being single isn’t something to be pitied. It’s damn good fun a lot of the time!
Mix with people who wholeheartedly agree.
And on that note…
Dazzle ‘smug couples’ with statistics
Some people really do believe their coupled status makes them superior to single people.
Research shows single women are healthier, happier and wealthier than their shackled sisters.
Single women travel more, are more likely to drink champagne, eat in expensive restaurants and buy designer clothes than married women.
Single people also go out more, have more friends, meet more new people and have more sex than people who are married.
Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it?
You can see why everyone thinks you’re a threat.
You must be so eager to give it all up, right?
YOU’RE A SINGLE GIRL? AHH! WELL, YOU MUST BE….
Here’s some comebacks when people assume you’re….
They say: “You’ll never guess what. Dave’s friend John has broken up from his girlfriend. He’s a lot older than you and a bit podgy but nothing a good woman can’t sort out. When shall I set something up?”
You say: “Actually, I’m seeing someone right now. He’s a model and far too young but it’s probably not the right time to meet your friend.”
They say: “I really can’t understand why you’re single all this time. You’re attractive, funny, talented. Why hasn’t someone snapped you up?”
You say: “Thanks for the compliments. I’m asked out all the time but right now, I’m really enjoying not committing to anyone.”
STILL HEARTBROKEN OVER YOUR EX
They say: “Poor you. Not only did that guy break your heart, you’re still hung up on him. Being dumped is so humiliating. It took me years to get over Steve. Remember?”
You say: “You know what, I was upset for a while but now I’ve decided I quite like being single. Weird isn’t it? Best thing that ever happened was him leaving.”
They say: “You should get a cat to keep you company. Being on your own isn’t good for you. You know George and I more than happy if you want to pop over when you’re lonely one Saturday night. We’re always home, aren’t we George?”
You say: “That’s so sweet. I thought about getting cat but I’m out six nights out of seven, who would feed it? And I promise I’ll find time to see you on a Saturday night but I’m booked out until December. Sorry guys!”
They say: “Pete and I had the best sex last night. Oops! Sorry – I forget you aren’t getting any. Hope I didn’t make you jealous!”
You say: “Not at all.” Smile mysteriously then add, “You should be the one who’s jealous – I get to sleep with someone for the first time again.” Add a wink.
They say: “What was wrong with that last guy you dated? I know he was boring and been out of work a while but he wasn’t that bad, surely? You’re just too fussy that’s all.”
You say: “Don’t you think I deserve the best?”
For more of Tracey’s views visit traceycox.com. For her product range visit lovehoney.co.uk
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