Friendship is a Two-Way Street

As a single woman surrounded by couples, it’s always hard to understand what role you occupy within the group. In my own experience, this is especially true when it comes to formerly close friendships that begin to weaken when a new relationship arises.

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Now…as a friend, it is your job to support the new relationship and accept that your friend might not be as free to do things as they once were. In each case though, there are limits. Remember that it is also their job to be there for you, so if they put all of their focus on their new love and allow you to fall completely off their radar it’s time to have a talk.

It is easy to say that the single friend is just jealous, much like a young child who gains a sibling and now has to share their parents’ love and attention. But really, this is just an excuse that makes the single friend feel guilty and therefore too uncomfortable to raise the topic again. Do not let this happen to you.

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Women tend to assume that their friends will be there no matter what, and in most cases, a true friend should abide by that rule. What most women seem to forget though, is that if they are not treating you like a friend, they are not necessarily welcome to the perks that friendship brings.

All too often women only use their friends to fill in the down time between hanging out with their new boyfriend, and assume that no-one will notice. These women also tend to spend the entire time they’re with you talking about their boyfriend, with little to no interest in your life at all. When their relationship hits a rough patch or fails though, they expect you to be waiting with a shoulder to cry on or a carefully drawn out plan of vengeance to ease their broken heart. Most times, a good friend will still be there, but to avoid being constantly cast in the role of ‘third wheel’, or even ‘afterthought’, it is important to make sure your friend understands that a new boyfriend is not a get out of jail free card in terms of letting you down.

If you are, or ever have been in this predicament, I have compiled a humourous ‘Life Cycle of a Third Wheel’ using content from around the magical internet to ease your pain. Enjoy!

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Under Pressure (and no, not the awesome Queen song)

Welcome back friends! This week, I want to focus mainly on the different types of pressure people feel to change their relationship status.

First, there’s familial pressure. This can exist in a range of ways, from arranged marriage, to constant questioning, to an increasing desire for grandchildren.

In regards to arranged marriage, I cannot really relate as it is not a custom within my family, but on a more general scale, I am definitely not a stranger to the practice of familial pressure. Not a holiday gathering goes by on my mother’s, or father’s side of the family without my lack of relationship becoming a point of discussion. I used to simply laugh it off, say I was too busy with school, work or sports to focus on anything else. Lately though, as I’ve found my “single voice” I’ve made a point of stating that I am fine on my own. I refuse the notion that I have to be in a relationship at all times, simply to please my family, and the fact that it took me so long to come to this is almost embarrassing.

Embarrassing, but not uncommon. Many people, commonly women, are essentially living life in an endless game of musical chairs; always being told they need to hurry up because there are not enough stable places for all of us to land, and as time goes on, these places dwindle even further. This pressure also leads many people to settle, as discussed by Sunny D in this post on her blog Spoken Words & Thoughts.

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This pressure goes beyond family as well, other guilty parties including friends and Quantity Discountsthe media, but even more abstract things such as corporations promoting buying in bulk to save money or group/family discounts typically for 4 people puts pressure on those who are single to join an alternate way of life. This pressure then, exists in almost all aspects of the average woman’s world, making it all but inescapable.

I think the pressure from friends is easily understood by most, even the unintentional pressure they place by making their own romantic progress. Getting married, having children, discussing which suburb is closest to the best schools and for the best price all remind the single woman that she is just that, single, and in combination with the media, reminds her that she is abnormal. This is not to say that couples should be condemned for making single people feel bad about themselves, as I am living proof that you can be single and surrounded by couples and still be happy, but just to comment on the pressures felt by many single women to follow a certain path.

I find that there are not enough media outlets telling women it is okay to be single and reflecting a positive image of single life, so women continue to feel as though they are doing something wrong, and therefore, not fitting in. Aside from certain seasons of shows such as Sex in the City, Girls or a handful of others, the single friend tends to be Girls Quotethe sad, lonely girl who constantly wants to be set up on dates, while also consistently humoring the audience with all of her horrible dating mishaps. Destined to be unsuccessful and a victim of ridicule, the single woman is rarely presented as single by choice, but instead, single by the choice of others. Robbed of agency, this version of the single woman is still under the same pressure to have a successful romantic life, which is what makes her overall character so tragic.

This blog though, hopes to reach out to the online community of single women and remind you all that, as I said in my first post, being single really isn’t the end of the world.

The Three Types of Single Friend

Before anyone calls me out for “putting people into boxes”, let me say that I understand that not everyone will fit into one of these categories, or they may, like myself, fit into all three of them. This post, and the accompanying video are just meant to outline the three most common types of single friend that most of us have come across at some point in our lives. Something I should point out before you get to the video though, is that I believe that everyone who is single has, in fact, chosen to be single. There is no magic relationship genie watching over you waiting to give you that perfect “meet cute” you see in the movies where you take the wrong cup at Starbucks and end up having an adorably awkward conversation with a handsome guy who just happens to be around your age with a great job and an even greater sense of humour. Instead, it is up to you to find love, should you choose to do so. This also isn’t to say that everyone you’re interested in will be interested in you, but you don’t know if you don’t try and you don’t get what you don’t ask for. –I’m just full of cliche sayings today, aren’t I?– Anyway! Without further ado here is my video titled “The Three Most Common Types of Single Friend”

That clip I shared near the end of the video is from a show called My Mad Fat Diary and if you’ve ever struggled with any kind of self confidence issue, Rae Earl is probably your spirit animal. Unfortunately for me, the only ways I am not like Rae Earl are that I am missing the awesome British accent and cool leather jacket she always seems to be sporting. I understand feeling like you aren’t worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you that you are, even if no-one else will. If you want to be single, stay single, if you want someone, give it time, because the worst thing you can do is rush into something you either aren’t ready for or aren’t fully invested in. Most of all though, just remember to be happy with yourself, because at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your decisions.

The Single Sidekick Handbook

20140225-190453.jpgWelcome back friends! Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you that being single has its benefits, I’m going to share how you can use your single status to benefit others as well! Selfless? Yea, I know.

This, of course, is done by being the best Single Sidekick you can be. Now, don’t get too hung-up on the word sidekick. I did not choose it to symbolize a lower worth for the single girl, but rather, I chose it because although we are the leading ladies in our own lives, we also need to be there for our friends in a supportive role when they need us.

With your single friends – As a Single Sidekick, you are usually going to be the one your friends call when they get dumped and need to vent. This is where you show up with ice cream, pizza, and any/all other comfort food necessary for a satisfying after breakup binge. Don’t worry though, it’s not all tears and inspirational “you were always too good for him (or her as the case may be)” speeches, because once you’ve returned your friend to her confident and spunky self you’re also the one she calls to go do awesome new activiti20140225-190445.jpges or take spontaneous trips. This is where you get to assume the typical “wingwoman” role, as she will for you, and have fun making great memories with even greater people.

With your couple friends – When out for a girls night, uninvited “advances” are almost a given. To avoid awkwardness and become the hero of the night, it is a good idea to “jump on the grenade” by distracting and redirecting the annoyance elsewhere. Single Sidekick to the rescue or what? Although “I have a boyfriend” or even “I’m married” should send them packing, sometimes desperation (usually mixed with some liquid courage) makes any woman seem like fair game. In this situation, a Single Sidekick may also seize the opportunity to redirect the group. I’m not suggesting you run away scared, or leave because you feel uncomfortable – you have just as much right to be there as anyone else – but if the night is trailing off this is the perfect excuse to reboot the evening and head off to a new and exciting activity.Friends-With-Kids-Poster

When your couple friends have kids – The offer of free babysitting is always a nice gesture. Allowing your friends to take a break and rejoin the social world for a night will not only leave them more relaxed, but will also allow you to enjoy a night in and earn you brownie points to boot! Couples often have the misconception that single life is an endless cycle of disposable income and late night adventures, but it is always nice to change pace and see how the other half lives, even just for a night.

Consider this post my Single Sidekick bat-signal on behalf of all of your friends. Go forth, and be the best Single Sidekick you can!

And what better place to start than with more research?!

Here are some other blogs to consider:

It really isn’t the end of the world…

In my opinion, a good way to start this blog is to explain a few of the reasons I believe being single is not the end of the world. Many people associate the world single with the word alone, but this is rarely the case. I, myself, have been single for the vast majority of my life, but I have never been truly alone. Surrounded by friends and family, or even more casual relationships such as co-workers or classmates, one is not cut off from all social interaction simply because they are not currently romantically attached to another human being. This attachment, as a matter of fact, has its downsides.

Atumblr_mhfsdmRSfM1qdzervo1_500long with the cute ‘good morning’ texts and the promise of a date on valentine’s day, relationships also tend to bring with them newfound hobbies, interests and personality traits, some of which are not entirely appealing. Granted, one of the key aspects of any sucessful relationship is compromise, but in some instances, one person does all of the compromising, constantly changing themselves until they are no longer sure what they were like before the relationship started. This may seem dramatic, but I have seen it happen on many occassions. This brings me to the first reason I see being single as a positive; the fact that being single forces you to be your own person.

Being perpetually single, as I, and assumingly the vast majority of this blog’s readers are, generates a strong sense of self and makes it much more difficult for a relationship to change you. On the other hand, jumping from relationship to relationship simply for the companionship and not because of an actual desire to be with each person creates a dependancy, and typically results in you as an individual being forgotten. This is not to say that all relationships damage the entity of the individual, but just that being single allows one the time to consider what they want out of life (or even a relationship for that matter).

Being single also means that you are essentially free to do what you please. You don’t need to worry about whether hanginenhanced-buzz-16425-1366397787-19g out with a specific friend will offend your significant other, or debate about what constitutes flirting. For those just exiting relationships, this also means getting to go to that restaurant your ex hated but you’ve always loved and watching tv marathons without judgement. These may seem trivial in comparison to a serious, loving relationship, but there is a lot to be said for the importance of freedom.

Seeing as this blog is not out to bash relationships though, I will also say this: being single allows you to appreciate a good relationship. The single life is great, for the reasons I’ve stated and of course many others, but for some people, life within a relationship is a better fit. For these people, being single gives them the perspective to recognize a good relationship, and the drive to work towards maintaining it. The aforementioned sense of self will allow them to hold out for what they deserve, but it will also guide them towards people more aligned with their thoughts, values and life goals as to ensure a more healthy and lasting relationship in the long run.

Last, but definitely not least, I can’t discuss the upsides of being single without mentioning the serenity of having the bed to yourself. Sure, cuddling can be fun, but nothing feels better after a long day at school/work/the gym etc. than falling into bed and being able to stretch out, knowing that the covers will remain in your possession until morning.