I have come to realise that it becomes high maintenance when all or most members of the group start getting swept into this institution called marriage, leaving one behind to deal with the sourness of being ‘the single friend’.
If you are that ‘single friend’ in your group of married friends, some or all of these should be familiar to you:
- Their husband goes from being addressed by his first name to “my husband” overnight.
- They can’t expressly say it to you but you get that weird look when you address their husband by his first name or make the usual jokes you made with him before the wedding ceremony – it was fine then but it is suddenly disrespectful now.
- They go into all that sh*t talk about what it is to be married, then end it with “it will soon be your turn, you won’t understand now”.
- They ask if or who you’re dating and give you the pity face or even say “sorry” when they hear things are still complicated in that area.
- They invite you over to their home and make the visit all about their husbands. “Don’t mind him, he likes to watch sports, let’s just gist at the dining table” or “my husband and I need to have a conversation upstairs, I’ll be back, just make yourself comfortable”.
Whatever the horrific scenario you have had to experience, we can all come to the conclusion that keeping a friendship with (newly) married women requires tact, patience, a few shots and an understanding of the simple but hard-to-grasp fact that you haven’t lost your friend to marriage.
If you are that single pringle, here are a few ways to manage the situation:
Give them space
It is only courteous that you allow your newly wedded friend some space to settle into her new life. Marriage can take a while to get used to and you can’t be the cog in the wheel of your friend’s assimilation into her new lifestyle. Opt for messages instead of calls. If you must call, make it quick, especially on weekends. Don’t ask her out on late night dates or to questionable gatherings. Just be as invisible as you can.
Be available to listen
It is only a matter of time before she seeks you out of the shadows and buries you in an avalanche of ‘gists’. You will hear about her husband’s newly-unveiled weird habits, her mother-in-law’s antics or the curious lack of it, her other friend who still owes aso-ebi money and your own sudden abandonment of her. Be available to listen to everything she’s willing to share.
Remind them of your commitment to the friendship
With her new life comes a few uncertainties but a reminder of her place in your life might go a long way in making her feel secure. Say the words, “your husband loves you but I love you even more”. Corny? Yes, but very reassuring at a time when it may seem like your friendship is struggling to stay afloat.
Tell them how you feel
Once it begins to feel as though you have actually lost your friend to marriage, then you will need to say something. Rather than assume they have given up on you or the friendship, it is best to verbalise your feelings so they can explain the situation from their perspective. Let’s be honest, your newly wedded friend is in the process of studying the ropes of this new life she has just begun and it will be insensitive of you to make so many demands of them. As they adjust to their new lifestyle, make your own adjustments too. But if/when you get overwhelmed with emotions, please let them know.