Hopefully you had the chance to read my post from 2 weeks ago: 12 Things to Stop Saying to Your Single Girlfriends. (If not – go read it now). It was inspired by the first of two questions I asked my friends:
1. “What are things that people say that you wish they wouldn’t?”
That post was a lot of fun because I interviewed a ton of friends and educated you on the most common things I heard. It definitely had a playful tone and it got shared a lot on social media – presumably by singles. I got feedback from guys that said they could relate to a lot of the items as well. However, I felt that girls could relate to ALL of the items, which is why I geared it that way. If nothing else, I am hoping it conjured up a lot of conversation.
I did have a lot of singles admit that some of those questions, if coming from someone very close and even more in a mentorship role, are received better than if coming from another source. Regardless, in this follow up post, I want to give a little insight into what these singles actually do want from you. As a matter of fact, some of them are really needing some of these things below. See my results of the second interview question:
2. “What do you wish people would do for you?”
What You Can Do for Her:
- Hang out with her. You can even invite her on couple things but.. (here’s a don’t) you should NEVER use the phrase “third wheel” – even if to imply how she isn’t one. Just by saying it you’re implying that she is.
- Think of her on the weekends. Sometimes those can be the worst. It’s possible that she didn’t commit to any plans because she wanted to see what pops up and often she finds herself with no plans. Everyone else who’s done that always has their default significant other. It’s okay to pull her in! Even if last minute!
- When she is feeling lonely or impatient, recognize sometimes it is just a moment and not a definition of her as a person. It’s okay to encourage her to be real about her feelings and point her to the truth and benefit of patience and faith, not things she can do better.
- Give her a reason to dress up & be fancy. Most women love opportunities to dress up. In a single girl’s mind, she envisions more opportunities for that in a dating scenario. Go ahead and give her a reason! Then, tell her she’s beautiful. She’s not necessarily being affirmed by a guy in a dateless scenario so you do it!
- Feel free to reminisce on the benefits that being single brings. I have married friends that often imply that they’re envious of the freedom of spontaneity that I have and the fact that if my house is messy, it’s because I did it. And the fact that I can keep all the money. That I have more time now than they do. That I only have to do laundry once a week at best. And so on… these things – whether joking or not, make me realize the great aspects of this season. I actually have several married friends of mine that will come stay with me for a “girls night” away from their husband which makes me have confidence in our friendship despite the difference of our life stage.
- What she needs is encouragement of how awesome she is in general – right now. Who she is is not defined by whether or not she’s in a relationship. Don’t assume she’s not happy. However, there are times when it can be disheartening and a word of encouragement can go a long way.
- Be careful to not peer pressure her to the next life stage. Never make her feel like she’s missing out on marriage or kids. You would probably admit that it’s not the fantasy that she could be envisioning or that it is built up to be. There is enough social pressure to “move into” those stages that just listening to her without always pointing out ways to get a date will help you to be a pressure release valve.
- Speak her love language. It helps her to feel loved so she isn’t looking for it in the wrong places. The need to be loved is the root of the challenges she may feel as a single at times.
The common thread you may see throughout all of these is that we want hope and encouragement, not a list of things we need “to do” or be better at in order to be in a relationship. Your single friends need and really desire encouragement in bettering themselves as they are now – that they are enough, that they don’t need another person in their life to feel complete, and that they are included.
You can be such a huge asset to them in the way of giving them an example of what a great relationship can look like and what they do have to look forward to, while still encouraging them to wait for the right person. By doing these things above, you are living out what are really just qualities of a friendship, regardless of life stage or marital status. These give them confidence in their identity as a person, and you can be an important part of that.