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Surviving Your Married Friends When You're the Last Single Person in Your Group

How often do you dread attending family gatherings, dinner parties, or work-related ‘family day’ outings, being single, for fear of being asked the dreaded question: When are you getting married? How is the love life?

Getting older now, tick tock! Time is marching on! Is the shelf getting dusty?

Of course, nothing can get worse than being the last single person left in your group!

Societal Norms

Society frames the unmarried woman as "being left behind" whilst the unmarried man is lauded for his independence and adventurous spirit. It seems incredibly unjust, but it is a fact of life.

Movies on this topic abound—look at Bridget Jones’ Diary for example, built around this theme of being left behind, and it proved to be so popular (for the British humor mostly, but a theme that struck a chord with many) that they ended up making three movies!

The problem is being the last single person in your group—your friends go off and make couple friends, or mommy friends, and get involved in activities that exclude you. You may be lucky if you see them once a month for a quick coffee, midmorning when the kids are at daycare; or they may move into the suburbs and you end up losing touch. Either way, you end up being the odd one out, hounded to "join the ranks" or having to go find some new friends to hang out with.

Am I Bridget or Ms. Independent?

You may fall into the Bridget category—desperately wanting a serious relationship that culminates in marriage and long-term commitment, or you may be part of the group of women that relish in their independence and are able to do what they want to do, having no need to be in a relationship to feel better about themselves. 

It is all about how you frame yourself: Do you see yourself as an incomplete half, or as an independent strong human being that lives in the moment? If you fall into the first category, it is time to change your inner language and mindset.

Don’t compare yourself to others:
the moon and the sun have a different purpose each,
but they shine when it is their time

Here Is the Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Celebrating Being Single:

1. Accept that everyone’s life path moves at a different pace. Some will marry early and have kids early, others will marry early and never have kids, some may never marry and travel the world or build a career, others may marry very late, and others will marry often and for all the wrong reasons. Each in his own time. 

2. Accept that everything changes all the time: Complaining about friends changing will not stop the change. One thing you can be sure of is that everything will change. What you make of the change will determine your peace of mind.

3. Reframe your own thoughts: Do not define yourself by your marital status, you are not "married" or "single" first and foremost—you are a whole, independent human being with lots to offer the world. Being married is not a symbol of your worth by any means—it should be one symbol of your willingness to commit to an individual for the long term, and nothing more. Many commit without getting married, ever.

4. Being single does not have to be lonely—There is nowhere lonelier than the wrong relationship, or just becoming pregnant or a parent without love and real relationships. Now, however, lots of people dating prefer open and/or polyamorous relationships with regular sex without string attached.

5. Honor your friendships—even though they have changed so much. Adult friendships are harder because there are so many competing interests, and finding and keeping a true friend is rare—so nurture your friendships, even if you feel left out or left behind. Be the most loyal friend you can be, and make sure your friends know how much you appreciate them being there for you despite being so absorbed in their family obligations. Fighting for attention and sulking when family comes first will ruin your friendship.

6. If you are asked to be a Bridesmaid/Maid of Honor, be the best. It is her day, make it all about her! Don’t spend it complaining about not having a turn too.

7. Godparents—it is an honor, not a pity invite because you are single! Commit to the child in full or decline politely if you don’t feel up to it, but know it will insult the parents.

8. Visit married friends as the FUN aunt, not the old spinster. Discuss ideas, listen to their stories, be there for your friends. They may desperately need a break from nappy talk.

9. Do not try to force old friends and new friends to get along. Learn what works with which group and go with the natural flow of things.

10. Stop being a people pleaser. You do not have to live your life the way people expect you to, and once you give up on wanting to please all the time but rather focus on being authentic, you will find your assertiveness levels improving by leaps and bounds.

11. Nurture your specific interests. You can never fit all your interests and your friends into one clean category—some friends will join sporting activities, others a girl’s night, some will go to wine tastings, astrology club meetings, or movies, maybe one will want to travel with you. Always be authentic. And when out with married friends, change the subject to something fun if the "tick-tock" questions start rearing their ugly heads.

12. Stop wondering if your relationship is "the one"—making the decision to get married should be the easiest one you ever make. But know this: You cannot be "saved," you cannot change another person, you can only bring yourself to a relationship, and it should make your life better, or you should not be in it.

13. Don’t use your "single" status as an excuse to misbehave. If you are unhappy being single, find some dignity, learn new skills, learn to live in the moment, appreciate what you do have, become a whole person in your own right.

Enjoy the journey, every single minute of it—even the bad times, the lonely times, but always honor your friendships.

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Surviving Your Married Friends When You're the Last Single Person in Your Group
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