Talking to single friends about being single

I’ll be honest: waiting for the love of your life to show up (which really means online dating, or going through the process of getting to know someone who seems promising) gets frustrating, and it can be lonely too. The length of the wait is emphasized as people five, ten, or more years younger than you get married and have children, when people seem to effortlessly meet someone and transition to marriage and children, or when people marry, divorce, and remarry as you wait (not that going through a divorce is a picnic!).

Being the only single person in a group of friends sometimes feels like you’re the elephant in the room, especially when your friends know that you want to get married (does anyone remember the dinner party scene from the movie Bridget Jones’ Diary?). Your friends may be hesitant to ask about that aspect of your life because they don’t want to upset you, while you may wonder why they don’t care enough to ask. If a married friend tells you that you’re single because you’re being “too picky” or “too demanding” when you feel you are not, you can get defensive and want to end the conversation because you feel misunderstood. And let’s face it, times have changed: people who met and married at a young age don’t know much about dating today, with social media, dating apps, and dating websites, things that should make meeting someone easier, but somehow don’t.

Most of the time I’m at peace with the process. I trust God and I know that there are things I can do to help the process along (focus on looking my best and being my best (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), focus on accomplishing all the things that I have full control over, socialize often), but sometimes I wonder if married friends think about:

  • whether their single friends are lonely
  • who they could set their single friends up with
  • how they could support their single friends (by encouraging them to talk about how they feel, listening, or being a shoulder to cry on, even if the conversation and emotions make them feel uncomfortable
  • praying for their single friends

There are many good reasons why someone may not have considered these questions: they may be newlyweds, busy adjusting to a new life; they may be focused on school, their career, or other priorities; some may be in their own season of waiting (for a child) and may be asking the same questions above, wondering if their friends ever think about the challenges they’re facing trying to become parents. Those with children have plenty of responsibilities and priorities in their lives, and often feel that they have little time for themselves, talk less for a single friend, especially in those moments when the perks of being single (such as having the option of sleeping in and only being responsible for oneself) are so tempting.

It’s important for single folks to support their friends as they move to new milestones: participate fully in bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, and kids’ birthday parties (well, to a point: I’m still trying to figure out how many kids’ birthday parties I want to attend). However, if you’re single, don’t let society’s elevation of the family unit make you treat your life or accomplishments as less important or less noteworthy because you’re single. Don’t do what I’ve done and minimize the happenings in your life because it doesn’t involve a relationship or a baby: when your friend asks you “What’s new?”, trust that they really want to know and give them an update on your job or the blog awards you’re devoted to (ahem), and don’t get caught up wondering if it’s trivial in comparison to the guest list for a bachelorette party or potty training challenges.

If you want your non-single friends to discuss being single with you, bring it up with them: share your frustrations about the dating scene, ask for their advice, ask for their prayers, ask them to hook you up! And like I mentioned, it’s important to support them by listening to their challenges too: marriages and parenting aren’t always smooth sailing, and even though you may not have practical experience as a wife or mother, you can still be supportive.

I have been blessed with friends who are willing to talk about my search for love, who have witnessed me cry or rant about the process, and who encourage me to keep on hoping and expecting. If you don’t have friends like that, it’s important to find a support system, and it may not be among your friends: there’s nothing wrong with finding a group for women or men who are in the same stage of life as you and connecting with them with a goal of encouraging each other along. That was the primary reason I joined a church “connect group” and although we don’t spend much time discussing the single life, it’s nice to be around people who are in the same boat.

If you’re married, have you ever done any matchmaking of single friends? How did it turn out?

36 thoughts on “Talking to single friends about being single

  1. I’m afraid of doing any matchmaking because if it doesn’t go well, I’ll feel like it’s all my fault. That being said, I did attempt to hook up 2 friends, but didn’t push it. I’m not sure he even called her.

    Cakes on the other hand, believes that ALL his single friends should marry each other. No matter that some of them are serial daters and not ready for serious relationships.

    • That’s a legit concern to have so my matchmaking tip is always to do as you did: give two people the means to conect with each other then don’t get involved: if things work out you’ll surely hear about it and if things don’t work out you won’t hear about it…you’d probably only hear about it if you were actively seen as trying to push them together.

      lol @ Cakes’ philosophy—I expect you to get him to see the light soon!

  2. After haven followed your blogging for a long time, I found you an interestingly selfless writer, It would be encouraging (maybe) to drop a comment (on your this post) that might be useful or beneficial.

    Sometimes being single seems fun to the individuals in question, sometimes pride and arrogance leaves some like that, sometimes carefree attitude or being too serious and making something out of nothing leaves some single until they are no longer attractive as single guy or lady. And why would you care about someone you’re sure she’s the root cause of his/her being single?

    Matchmaking? It happens! Its real and works out fine but on occassions doesn’t seems to work because of the attitude of the type of guys and ladies out today.

    Also sometimes people loose out because of pride and arrogance. Let me give you a short live story here: There once was a single lady who’s looking up to God for a loving, caring and understanding guy, and as destiny would have it, someone told a guy about this lady and the guy silently researched about the lady and found out he could cope with her

    This guy, wanting to get along, made attempts coming closer to this lady but because of 1) her past experience 2) pride and arrogance 3) fear of the unknown 4) ego and being too choosy: didn’t give the guy a chance until the guy got fedup and backed out.

    What would you say about such a lady? Not being helped by family and friends about her situation or she lost what could have been a “golden gift” because of pride and arrogance?

    I would rather say, some choose to be single because they want to be single, no matter who you are in live, everyone would always have his/her chance to love and be loved, just that sometimes, attitude makes some loose out and may never come by such chance till the end of time…

    So, It would be valuable to be open minded as single ladies and guys so that when what you have been looking for, comes around you won’t loose him/her to pride, arrogance and ego!

    Once again I commend your writeups…

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, James—I really appreciate it. Thanks also for your kind words!

      I agree with you to a degree that we are in control of our destiny with regard to whether or not we remain single. In the example you gave, I’d love to know if what you shared was the woman’s perspective or the man’s interpretation of her perspective. Regardless, it’s easy to let pride and ego rob you of a great partner and in the last 5-6 years I’ve paid attention to that, and I shared some of what I learned in the Love and Learn series.

      You’re right about the importance of being open minded: in the last year I’ve taken this to heart, but there’s a fine line between being open minded and being open to anyone that comes along…I still advocate having (reasonable) standards. :)

      • It was the guys conclusion about the ladies behaviour as regarding wanting to get in touch.

        I also disagree with a few of people’s comment who feels remaining single is normally natural because the one who instituted marriage knew it wasn’t good for either to remain alone, so he created them both male and female. Most times, also the Bible says one will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand (you see that ratio ?).
        I just believe with more prayers, patience and less of ego, you’d find your own right man, meanwhile, you must first make yourself right to meet the right man (Yoruba bo, woni, ba’base rin la’n koni). You must also believe that their is no Mr right anywhere, just wait for that man whose imperfections can compliment your imperfections too and you’ll find tolerating each other easy.
        Good Luck.

        • The reason I asked who gave you the information about the woman’s behaviour is we need to know her side of the story before we can make a conclusion: the guy may right, but I would not be surprised if the girl had some legitimate reasons for not warming up to the man. I’m not blaming him, but I’m saying that she may not be entirely to blame for things not working out.

          It may be God’s intention that all men and women marry, but the reality is that not everyone gets married or some do, only for a short while, and realize they prefer to be alone. Was this God’s plan for marriage? No, but the end resuslt is that not everyone will marry.

          Maggielola and Pendo mentioned that they’re single by choice. To me this does not mean they will never marry, but that they have made a choice to be single for this season. There is no point in marrying when one is not ready or against one’s will so I think they’ve made perfect decisions for themselves.

          I agree that no perfect being exists, and among other things, marriage involves seeking someone who is compatible with your imperfections and vice versa.

          • “It may be God’s intention that all men and women marry, but the reality is that not everyone gets married or some do, only for a short while, and realize they prefer to be alone. Was this God’s plan for marriage? No, but the end resuslt is that not everyone will marry.”

            If you agree with me that it is God’s will that all men/women get married, then I will say whatever is making you remaining single is against God’s will and as such must be attacked. “The will of God for all is of good and not of evil to bring us to an expected end” so your said end result (not all will get married) is not agreed to)

            All that said, as a proper African woman, forget pressure from family, friends and enemies alike, you’re better being married than remaining single for whatever reason(s) you may have.

            I also remember saying it that (for someone heaven concious) you can remain single for as long as you can control yourself against sexual immoralities. It is Biblical.

            I am not condemning being single, I am condemning the reason(s) behind being single and depending on the individuals in question as well as background, race and believe. Shalom!

            • Thanks for the reply and sorry about how these comments are formatted. I see where you’re coming from and making sure that one does not sin in their singleness is a huge topic.

  3. This is such a timely post as I was just discussing this issue with my single friends today. You’re right, everyone has their own issue that they’re occupied with. married people worry about their marriage while single people worry about finding a partner to marry.
    But i believe that you have to set goals to get married. Same way you set goals for other aspects of your life. you also should have a list of what you’re looking for and not looking for. So you won’t miss the person when he/she shows up.
    There’s nothing wrong with waiting, but sometimes, we can get comfortable with waiting and before we know it, 5 years have passes and we’re still single.
    God will help us sha

    • Hi Adeola! As you know on Twitter, I was struck by the truth of “There’s nothing wrong with waiting, but sometimes, we can get comfortable with waiting and before we know it, 5 years have passes and we’re still single.” My dad has mentioned this same thing to me before and it’s true that sometimes we can get comfortable and we stop working toward a particular goal anymore.

      Thank you for the reminder!

  4. Unlike you, I am single by choice and would very much love to maintain that status for a looong time much to the chagrin of my parents.

    I understand how you feel. The lack of someone is only part of it––I think the feeling of not fulfilling OUR life goals and expectations form the bulk of the disappointment.

    And I wish people would pulling reasons for your (our) single
    statuses without making a heartfelt connection with us to know what makes us tick.

    You are forever in my prayers, Jums!

    • Freedom is never free! Have you heard that before?

      Being single is no qualms, wanting to remain single is simply refusing to be responsible in my own view.

      Most ladies who claim they want to remain single are either irresponsible, frustrated or consenting to defiet.

      When you men and women enjoying not enduring their marriages, you’ll understand that God the institutor of marriage wasn’t mistaking when He did so.

      Good Luck with your choice though…

      • Thanks for your comment, James! It is refreshing to read diverse opinions.

        However, I don’t belong to the club of irresponsible, frustrated, or defeat-loving ladies.

        By your reasoning, Apostle Paul must be irresponsible, frustrated, and consenting to defeat for choosing to remain single. Or is he exempted because he’s not female?

        You must have your reasons for your comment although I won’t prod you for replies.

        Good luck!

      • Maggielola never said she wouldn’t get married, and trust me she is neither irresponsible, frustrated, or defeated!

        One should not contemplate marriage until they are ready, lest they “repent at leisure” as the saying goes (marry in haste, repent at leisure).

    • “I think the feeling of not fulfilling OUR life goals and expectations form the bulk of the disappointment.”

      You hit the nail on the head my dear! Rather than focusing too much on this goal, I’m going to diversify and focus on the other goals that have been languishing (as I mentioned in my last newsletter, lol!)

      “And I wish people would pulling reasons for your (our) single statuses without making a heartfelt connection with us to know what makes us tick.”

      Amen! A blanket statement will never apply to all people. Well said.

      Thank you for your prayers…I appreciate them.

  5. I don’t usually set people up. I know some people from very conservative, immigrant/ethnic families who might be “out” to peers, but aren’t at home. Others are people I suspect are gay, but aren’t out to anyone for the exact same reason. You never know what might happen. Immigrant families can be verrrrrry ignorant.

  6. Not everyone is meant to and will get married. I just had to get that out there sad but it is the reality. Some people will go through life with a lifelong legally married partner, some with a non married companion (Oprah comes to mind), some alone but with the occasional partner every now and then and that is ok. Marriage is a wonderful beautiful institution however it is not a do or die affair if it happens well and good if it doesn’t that’s ok too. A lot of people today are in marriages they had no business getting into in the first place either through societal pressure or the notion that one has to get married or as victims of circumstances. Others are in marriages that were intended for them and that’s is great. I am single in my mid thrities like you GNG and talking to several different people I don’t see myself with any of them in the long term at least not at the moment so I am just concentrating on having fun, going on as many dates as possible and the greatest learning to love myself first because when you love yourself first everything falls into place. I have had three proposals turned them down because that would be settling and I am glad I did because looking at those men’s lives now I am glad I got out when I could. My family says I am commitment phobe and I tell them that I am not willing to settle down with just any tom, dick or harry for the “coveted” mrs title heck I have had offers I keep getting offers, but no that would be doing myself a diservice so I say no. If marriage is in my desitny it will happen with the person that it is meant to happen with at the time it is meant to happen. I go into each realationship/situation with a very open mind never with marriage in mind and that has helped me weed out the wheat from the chaff. In fact I meet someone new and I am like he would be fun to go travelling with, he would be fun to go to art galleries with etc and take it from there. As for the biological clock women are having babies well into their forties, eggs can be frozen to be retrieved when ready, there are plenty of babies out there who need adoption and some people are simply not meant to be parents and that is a reality. I don’t stress myself over this marriage matter never have not about to start anytime soon my mother on the other hand will do anything to see me settle down I am not ready for that at least not now. To all the single people out there love yourself first do things for you live for you do what is best for you put yourslef first and everything else will fall into place

    • I disagree with your first sentence. Everyone is meant to get married Biblically except by choice you may remain single, and if by any means you care about making heaven (which sure would sound old school to many) you will prefer to get married because you’ll understand that doing those things (masturbation, dating for sex, one night stand and the rest like that) to satisfy the sexual desire are sinful and would land you in one place-HELL FIRE

      Remaining single is a choice, not a good one though except you’re sure of standing alone without commiting sin.

      Good luck with your choice too.

      • Not everyone is a Christian or abides by biblical teachings the world is full of different religions some people still practise their ancient religions others have none at all so I do not subscribe to the saying that everyone is meant to get married “biblically”. Thankfully i am very open minded sexually and quite liberal in my thinking and i do not let religious views from wherever cloud my decision on the same. Thanks for your reply.

        • Thank you, Pendo!!! Ahn Ahn, someone spoke my mind!

          He just called ladies refusing to get married irresponsible, frustrated, and what not.

          The beloved Apostle Paul must be shaking his head for this diss!

          • @Pendo, @Maggielola Please note that whatever comment made here isn’t meant to disrespect, insult or cause any discomfort for anyone but my personal opinion and understanding of the Bible.

            With that said, I put this forward: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 (Genesis 5:2, Mathew 19:4

            And Apostle Paul based on a letter written to him as a result of the warwardness of the Corinths (1 Corinthian 7:1), he replied in
            1 Corinthian 7: In verse 7, a wish that they all remain as him (single).

            If you read The books written by Paul, you’ll understand his stance were reactions to certain actions (ungodly acts by the Corinthians) and more to why he still stated women be made to shut up in the Church. This isn’t a general opinion but was a reaction to certain ungodly behaviours

            But most importantly, Jesus said “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrew 12:2a) This simply means, you can’t set man as your sole example, rather Jesus.

            On this note, I prefer to go the Jesus (who was, is and will forever be) who said, it is not good for the man to be alone and therefore created them male and female and bless them to go and multiply.

            I still state that remaining single is a choice and not destiny.

        • Apostle Paul you quoted example was not married and yet kept himself away from sexual immoralities!

          If you can be single and still keep away from sex, why not? but if you can not keep your body, you had better go get yourself a woman to marry and if you are a lady, get yourself a man to submit to.

          #JustSaying

          • So I take it you were around during the Apostles time and spent every waking hour with him to come to this conclusion based on first hand observation???

    • Hey Pendo, thanks for commenting.

      I like your philosophy about not stressing over marriage and I agree in not marrying for the sake of marrying, living life to the fullest, loving yourself to bits, and not settling (though this can be a bone of contention, with people tearing apart or judging the things we refuse to settle for).

      I used to believe that some people who want to get married just won’t, but now I think people who want to get married but don’t make efforts (that have to intensify as they get older) stay single. If they treat getting married like a top priority then it’ll happen (this is me having faith). I compare it to things that are hard to do, like for example, losing and keeping off a large amount of weight, switching careers when you’re middle-aged, living in a country for an extended period of time where you don’t speak the language: the effort required to overcome the odds and succeed are huge. Someone who wants to get married needs to approach it with: the intention to work hard, faith (to keep them going), and patience because the timing will always be longer than desired. Personally, I’m not panicked about marriage because I’ve decided to focus on knowing myself and getting superclear on my personal goals, then working towards achieving them. Unlike you I don’t meet men except on my short trips to Nigeria every few years, and those tend to fizzle out, so I know I have to be deliberate and “out there” so that while I’m focused on being the best me and creating my best life, I don’t forget that I actually want to get married.

      I think it’s great when people know they don’t want to get married and when they don’t bow to societal pressure. I feel the same way about people who choose not to have kids because the worst thing is when people who should not be parents or who don’t want to be parents end up as parents.

      An interesting thing about Oprah’s situation: I think it was in one of her early Lifeclass episodes that she mentioned that she realized after Stedman proposed to her that she didn’t want to be married, she just wanted to be chosen, and once she was, she realized that was enough.

    • Oh no! I totally understand why you’d be hesitant to try again; sorry about that. But imagine what it would mean to the people involved if it goes well! For that reason I think it’s worth the risk—good friends won’t blame you because they’ll know you had their best interests at heart…I hope!

  7. Awesome post, I enjoyed the comments even more. Marriage like all milestones in life will happen if it’s destined to, although because of the ‘ticking of the biological clock’ it would seem that the earlier it happens for women the better. I have a friend that got married at 47 and another one that got married at 53. So there is nothing impossible for God to do if we want it and pray for it. But perhaps the people I admire the most are those who have summoned up enough courage to walk out of a marriage that is not walking and have refused to yield to societal / religious pressure to go back into that marriage or seek another unfulfilling one.
    About matchmaking, I don’t see anything wrong, I have tried it before and I will try it again, we all need any help we can get.
    My prayers are with you on your journey , whether married or not, we are all on our individual journey. And by the way in case you are wondering, I am married.

    • Thank you for your comment, Naijamum—I agree with your reminder that God is in control and He will answer our prayers, in His time. May God give those waiting (on a spouse, on a job, on a promotion, anything!) the patience to bear the wait with grace.

      It certainly does take a lot of courage to go against societal and familial expectations!

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