May 21, 2013

6 Ways To Minister to Your Single Friends

Today's post is a follow-up to last week's on getting friend dumped. I asked a few other single gals (differing ages) for their input on how they'd best feel ministered to by their friends who are married/engaged/in a relationship, since the nature of their friendship begins to change.

Make Time for Them. Just because you now have a boyfriend or a spouse, doesn't mean you should ditch your friends. We all have at least one of those friends who as soon as they got a boyfriend basically disappeared. We haven't had a legitimate conversation with them in months... or years. Be intentional about making time for your friends... and STICK to it. It's never fun to plan a get-together, and then have a friend cancel because at the spur of the moment her boyfriend offered to take her to the movies. We're guessing that if you take a rain check repetitively and flippantly... well, you're not going to have many friends later on down the road. Go to the trouble to keep including her in your life.

Avoid the Cliches. The fact is that God may not give your single friends a spouse, so don't utter cliches to them. It's hard enough to wrestle through a (possible) calling of singlehood without your friends telling you that God has "someone very special picked out for you." It's not the most helpful to be promising something to your friend that God hasn't Himself.

Don't Pretend to know what your single friends are going through either if you got married at 19, and now you're both nearing 30... and she's still single, because you don't actually know what it's like to be single for an extended period of time. She approaches singlehood from a different perspective than you, so be respectful and honest.

Don't Treat Her Like the Token Single Girl. If all your get-togethers with others include inviting couples and then you ask your one single friend to come along, don't be surprised if she starts coming up with excuses to not show up. Playing third wheel can only be done so many times before all it becomes is another reminder of how she's the only one without a significant other. Have get-together that are a mixture of couples and more than one single. Have those girl's nights only too.

Put Yourself in Our Shoes. If all of your friends were dating, getting engagement rings, and trying on wedding gowns... and you weren't, how would you feel? You'd probably feel a bit isolated from them... and maybe even a little bitter... especially when all your friends talk about is how romantic their boyfriend or fiance or spouse is all. the. time. Have a little grace and consideration. Balance out your conversations so that she doesn't have to listen about what you did on all your dates, or the flowers he brought you, or the color of your bridesmaids dresses. Ask her about her life and what she's been up to or planning. Just listen to her for a while. And hey, ask her how you can help her with this transitioning time in your friendship... because in all likelihood, she has the harder end of the stick on this one. Pray that she'd seek her ultimate satisfaction and peace in God as a single (and a future spouse as well if that would be God's plan for her life later). If she's making the effort and time to celebrate with you because of your new relationship/engagement/marriage, it really shouldn't be asking a lot to celebrate what God's doing in her life (even though it doesn't look like yours right now) too. Friendship should have an element of celebrating one another.

Play Matchmaker... If They're OK with That. Some singles will not appreciate you trying to set-them up on dates or introduce them to a nice single guy you know of... others of us would though, because we do not want to repeat this...

10 comments :

  1. Excellent tips, Natalie! Although I am not in a relationship now, I will definitely tuck this away for the future!

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  2. Love Jostie Flicks, but this one is especially funny! :)

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  3. These are great tips! Most of my best friends are single, so I've found a lot of these helpful. I can especially attest to making time for them and not pretending you know what it's like. Many others are great reminders for me. I LOVE those girls so dearly and never want them to feel any less important to me because I'm married.

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    1. So glad you make time for your single friends! That's awesome! =D

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  4. these are great !!

    i love tips number 2 and 3.
    it's like we forget what it means to be single as soon as we're with someone. like we're on some other level or different world. if we remember that we're all people struggling with the same things we can empathize with each other more :)
    i loved this post!! thanks

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    1. Thanks for the comment Hannah! Some days it certainly does feel like there's some inner switch that gets turned-on as soon as a person find that significant other.

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  5. I love this because I wish my friends would take these cues!

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