Deep, terrible confession time: sometimes I really think it sucks when one of my girl friends gets a boyfriend.
So selfish, I know! But hear me out — and see if you can’t relate.
Here’s what usually happens: A friend will say something like, “I met a guy last night and he wants to hang out this weekend!” I’ll dutifully plaster a smile on my face and ask her the appropriate questions, all the while fending off a feeling of impending panic and loneliness and doom, because, well, another one bites the dust.
Let me be clear: it’s not jealousy that’s the issue…it’s the sad sense of inevitable abandonment from a friend. Even though she’ll always be there for you (she insists), it’s just not quite the same.
When I’m single, my fellow single ladies can feel like my lifeboat. They’re the ones who are always up for spontaneous nights out, the ones who will engage self-deprecating banter about spinsterhood, the ones I can freely text on a random night because I’m fairly sure that they, like me, are sitting around their apartment watching TV, too.
Not that my friendships with women are dependent on a (lack of) relationship status. My best friend is my best friend, through thick and thin, through single and not-single. But sometimes it feels like once they get a boyfriend, the tenor of the relationship changes slightly. Like it’s no longer us against all the happy, coupled people out there. Suddenly she’s one of the happy, coupled people, and, well, communication between parties can get muddled. And let’s face it: between the Single and the Not Single, something almost imperceptible can get lost in translation.
And there are other, more noticeable changes, too.
Like, suddenly she only ever wants to hang out during the day: brunch, or lunch, or coffee. Because weekend nights are usually exclusively for him.
And if you do manage to drag her out at night, she won’t have the same abandon she did when she was single. She’ll seem slightly distracted, she’ll check her phone a lot, she’ll yawn and want to head home way earlier than she ever used to.
And instead of automatically and enthusiastically agreeing that no, there aren’t any good guys in your city, and yes, dating does suck, god!, she’ll start to instead make suggestions of what you should be doing differently, like, maybe you should go out more, or have a better attitude, or try online dating again? When you don’t want suggestions from her, you want solidarity, man! Which of course you can’t get, because, you’re not on the same team anymore.
It’s inevitable, really. When you’re single, your other relationships get bumped up in importance: your friends are the ones you talk to the most, hang out with the most, rely on the most. When you get into a relationship, the dynamics, understandably, shift. That’s okay: that’s how it should work.
It’s just that it can be a little sad for the single person who’s getting, ever-so-slightly, ever-so-slowly, pushed down.
It’s how the world works. And if you’re not a horrible person, then it’s impossible not to smile when you see your friends incandescently, undeniably happy. That’s how people act when they’re in love, and it’s infectious, even to the bitterest of singletons.
Of course, the answer is for you to go on dates. Because, let’s face it, it’s better for you to join the Happily Coupled than to wish your friends single again.
But in the meantime…make sure you always have some friends who remain unattached. A single girl needs ’em.