1. KNOW THE REASON YOUR FRIEND IS SINGLE
Not everyone is single for the same reason. It's good friend behavior to pay attention to WHY your friend is single. I'm single because I haven't met the right guy yet. When my singledom is casually attributed to things like "You're too picky" or "You're not putting yourself out there", it feels like I'm being victim blamed.
I have a friend whose single status is a lifestyle she intends to keep forever. When her extended family members constantly ask "But don't you WANT to get married? Why not?" it's as though they won't accept her for who she is. They see her singleness as something to fix. Her family could show how much they love her by accepting that marriage doesn't interest her and start asking her about the things she IS interested in.
all photo credits ©CBS, How I Met Your Mother
2. PUT DOWN THE POM POMS
When I make mention of being bummed about my single status, the last thing I want to hear is: "You're so lucky! Being single is GREAT!" Just like a friend with relationship woes doesn't want to hear: "You're so lucky to have a boyfriend! Being in a relationship is THE GREATEST!" There are two magic words that will always make a gal feel better. "That. Sucks." Being single IS great sometimes! And other times it sucks. Just like being in a relationship.
3. BE THE PLANNER
My friends earn major bonus points for being the first to reach out and make plans. It's proof our friendship goes both ways!
4. GO ON A FRIEND DATE
When single, I don't usually have a reason to wear my fancy clothes. I love my fancy clothes. Getting dressed up and going on a friend date is super fun!
5. GIVE EXTRA BIG HUGS
Affection is in short supply when I'm single, so hugs are extra awesome. It's possible YOUR friend might not like to be hugged. Which would be sad for both of you, because hugging is great!
6. SEND AN OCCASIONAL CARD, NOTE, OR OTHER THINKING-OF-YOU ITEMS
Getting a little love note from a friend banks a lot of warm fuzzies.
7. ACKNOWLEDGE BIRTHDAYS
I get it, we're adults. Birthdays aren't supposed to be such a big deal. Except birthdays are a reminder of getting older. Getting older alone. Possibly dying alone. You see how this can spiral pretty quickly. It's easier to drown out the fear of what the future holds when I'm reminded of how happy my friends are that I was born.
8. CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS
When I'm single, I might not have a person to celebrate all those little accomplishments with, like how I made a perfect soufflé or successfully parallel parked for the first time, so I might put it on social media. It's nice when social media celebrates with me!
9. PAY A COMPLIMENT
I love complimenting people, I do it all the time. Some days when I'm single, I feel invisible. Some days I truly AM invisible, because I work from home and no one sees me. When being complimented, I feel visible. It's nice to know my friends see me and appreciate my good qualities.
10. OFFER TO CARPOOL
Along with saving money on gas and getting extra friend time, it's nice to walk in the door with someone by my side.
11. MAKE INTRODUCTIONS
I LOVE LOVE it when my friends introduce me to people at a gathering. I feel so included! It's way easier to start a conversation with strangers once an introduction has been made.
12. INCLUDE SINGLES IN GROUP VACATIONS
Being invited on group vacations is awesome! I extra appreciate friends who take into consideration the logistics of a single person vacationing with couples. I like having a room close to my friends. I like knowing I'll have someone to eat breakfast with in the morning. I like not knowing when my couple friends are having sex. ("Hey, I think we'll grab a quick shower before dinner." Sure, it's code for sex. Code is good!)
13. DEFINE YOUR BREAKUP ROLE
I really appreciate having friends to lean on during breakups and other such hardships, but I also like to make sure we STAY friends. Instead of trying to manage a friend's grief solo, coordinate with her other friends to have all the bases covered. Here are a few key roles you can offer up to your friends in need.
The Rant Friend
This friend's really good in the beginning stages of a breakup when it's all anger and drama. She'll say things like "No he DIDN'T!" and "What an ASSHOLE! I can't believe we ever liked him!"
The Soothing Friend
This friend will comfort you when it feels like your life is over. She'll say things like "Everything's going to be fine, it'll all work out in the end."
The Confidence-Building Friend
This friend will get dressed up and go out on the town with you. Because looking hot is excellent therapy when you're feeling down.
The Distraction Method Friend
This friend will focus on getting your mind off of the sadness by doing whatever low-key things you love to do together.
The Therapist Friend
There's no such thing as a therapist friend. When you hit that point where you don't know what else to say, the most loving thing you can do is recommend your friend talk to a therapist. Therapists have a whole bunch of coping tools that mere friends do not. Tell your friend how much you want her to feel better and how hard it is to figure out complex emotions alone. Leave therapy to the professionals and slide back into the friend role.
all photo credits ©CBS, How I Met Your Mother