Dear Couples, Here’s What Your Single Friends Need From You

We swore we’d never let boys come between us. We were two single women taking the world by the balls. Everything was on track and then you had to go and screw it all up by falling in love. No worries—we can still be BFFs as long as you keep these things in mind.

Give us a little one-on-one time.

Don’t treat every invitation to hang out as though it automatically includes a plus-one. We probably love your S.O. and even enjoy spending time with him on occasion, but we hate feeling like the outsiders at our own party. If we asked you to get together, we meant you, not you and your sweetie. Just tell him that your single gals need love too— it’s an instant get-out-of-jail-free-card next time the thought of more couples’ charades makes you want to scream. Yep, you’re welcome.

Consider your guest list carefully. 

We’re tired of being the pathetic exception in a sea of twosomes at every event. When you host a shindig, please refrain from tossing us on the Evite with six couples. We feel more comfortable around our own kind, so take the time to include a few more unattached people in your festivities.

Don’t try to set us up with your weird cousin. 

Yes, odd numbers can be visually displeasing at a table setting, but that’s no excuse to throw us on the mercy of every single guy in your circle. You know us well enough to realize that we’re not compatible with your antisocial relatives or loudmouthed coworkers.

Don’t point out that we’re “lucky” to be unattached.

Oh, how you wish you could be a swingin’ single again because your boyfriend slightly overcooked the asparagus when he made dinner for your whole family last week AND left spots on the plates when he washed all the dishes. If you’d been out with your single crew instead, the whole fiasco never would’ve happened! Yeah, we single are truly blessed to spend Saturday nights on go-nowhere first dates, racking up horror stories to entertain you with. And because we fall asleep alone, we never have to worry about cover hogs. Bonus: the thrill of wondering whether we’ll ever meet a match before we hit 50.

Respect our choices. 

We may hope we’ll one day end up as blissed out as you, but we don’t think less of ourselves for going it alone. Finding a boyfriend isn’t an achievement like earning an academic degree or accepting your dream job. So cool it with the gentle condescension. You think your attitude doesn’t show up in your actions, but it does. After all those damn first dates, we’ve gotten pretty friggin’ good at reading people, including you. We’re sure you don’t intend any offense, but if you really believe that we’re behind in the game or somehow less capable of love than paired-off ladies, it’s probably best we part ways.

Advise only when asked. 

We’ll admit it—your LTR has given you some perspective on dating. We love you for your thoughtful, caring advice. Sometimes, though, we need a shoulder to lean on more than we need a critique of our romantic progress. Please err on the side of caution and hold your tongue unless we straight-out ask for your thoughts. If we’re not requesting your input, we’re not ready to hear it.

If we DO ask, honest (but gentle).

If we’re making the same stupid mistakes repeatedly, you should tell us. But please be mindful of your delivery. Speak calmly. Be kind even if our lunacy is so evident you can’t believe we don’t realize our follies. Everybody has a blind spot where their own poor choices are concerned. Respond to our frustrations with empathy, not “told you so”s.

Remember that we give good advice too.

All those years of disappointing romances have expanded our understanding of human nature. Since you’ve been practically married for the past five years and we’re still out on the scene, we probably recognize behaviors and tactics you’re blind to. We’re worth consulting when you need a fresh point of view on love.

Try not to gloat. 

Of COURSE we celebrate your successes, you fabulous superwoman! We’re stoked to hear that the man in your life is treating you right, but no need to brag your ass off. You know damn well it hasn’t always been shared bottles of wine and moonlit strolls with your soulmate. We still remember your tempestuous fling with the arrogant lawyer. Much as we’d like to, we’ve yet to erase from memory the sappy poetry you sent to the bass player in that garage band (what the hell were you thinking?). So when you really get out of hand pretending your love life has always been pure sunshine, we’ll be happy to remind you where you came from.

When we meet a guy, don’t interrogate us.

Nothing deflates a fledgling relationship faster than a heap of questions too early on. Don’t treat the guy like a lost cause when he initially keeps a low profile on social media or doesn’t introduce us to his folks on the third date. And don’t freak out on us if we seem a little uncertain about HIM. He’s not an automatic catch just because he does all the conventionally correct things to establish an exclusive relationship. Give us a minute to celebrate that a date turned into something more than another ghosting before you start asking if this dude is marriage material.

Enforce boundaries. 

Friendship is a two-way street. If we’re becoming a toxic nightmare, demanding too much or guilt-tripping you, put us in our place. It’s tough being alone. When we’re stressed, we might depend on you too much. Hopefully we’ll recognize that sanctity of your relationship, but in a bad moment, we might say some jerk thing we’ll later regret. When we’re being inappropriate, distance yourself from us. If we get mad at you for expecting breathing room, we’re not being your friend.

Stop pitying us.

Being lovelorn isn’t a terminal condition. Although we’ll probably bitch about the loneliness from time to time, you won’t do us or yourself any good by indulging our woeful outlook on our romantic future. When you sense that we’re wallowing in it, distract us with ice cream, with impromptu adventures, with whatever it takes. We’ll be smiling again in no time.

Believe in us. 

Have some faith that we’ll find our happy ending. That some guy will see our beauty and intelligence as surely as you do. Recognize us as worthy of love. Send those positive vibes. When you lift us from our lowest point, we’ll remember your kindness and we’ll always be there for you in return.

Know that we love you.

Yes, we can be, ahem, obnoxious. So can you! No matter how we get under each other’s skin, though, there’s one thing we want you to remember: we love you. We don’t choose confidantes lightly. Our bond will always withstand jealousies and annoyances. Thank you for being your wonderful self.

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