If you’re a regular on this blog, it’s likely you are a mom, or on your way to becoming one . . . that’s great! After all, we are called The Realistic Mama. Today, I want to talk to all you wives and mothers out there about how to be a good friend to the single ladies in your life. My experience tells me that once a husband and kids come into the picture for you, these friendships can be hard to maintain – life begins to revolve around family activities, play dates, and kid-friendly venues. It might feel like you don’t have a lot of room for single people in your busy schedule, but I’m here to show you how!
If you find yourself in the following situations, here’s what you can do:
Being Friends with Single People: A How-To Guide for Moms
When they invite you to coffee (or a concert or beers at their favorite bar), make it happen. If they are reaching out to you, they want to spend time with you! Find a way to leave the kids and hubby at home and connect as woman-to-woman.
When they want you to come over to their house, don’t always suggest they come to your place. I know, it’s way easier for them to come to you. After all, they don’t have kids to pack up! But remember that even if they live alone, their house (or apartment) is still home. When they invite you over, it means they want their home to be filled with people they love. Honor that (and ask if it’s ok to bring the kids – they may need a warning so they can kid-proof the house).
When you start to feel jealous, remember that they might feel jealous of you too. Maybe they hate the constant quiet at their house, or feel lonely when they go to bed every night (while you are thinking, “I would kill for 15 minutes without noise!”). Recognize that just because they don’t have the same responsibilities you do, it doesn’t mean their life is care-free. Find ways to support each other and talk about how you’re feeling, even when your struggles and stressors look very different.
When they want to talk about their job or boy troubles, listen and care. Even if you are a stay-at-home mom and can’t relate to trouble with a boss, listening to their concerns will help you know how to encourage them. And remember that they don’t have a live-in best friend like you do. They are going to need other people to bounce ideas off and seek advice from when big decisions arise.
When they want to celebrate something, celebrate with them. They have never gotten the endless parade of bridal showers, engagement parties, wedding gifts, baby showers, etc. So, if they want to celebrate a birthday or job promotion in a big way, take time to help make that important!
When they ask you how your life is going, share about more than your kids. Chances are they really do want to hear about your sweet little ones! However, they also care a lot about YOU and want to hear about how you are doing. As women, regardless of our season in life, we can relate with a lot of similar dreams and ideas, struggles and discouragements.
Suggested exercise: Take 5 minutes to think about this question – “What do single people talk about with their single friends?” What did you come up with? Contrary to what TV often shows, it’s not always just a new relationship or one-night stand. And it is probably a lot of the same things you think about on a daily basis. So next time you talk with a single friend, make a point to remember this exercise and bring up these topics. Open up to them about how you’ve had so much difficulty getting to the gym or eating right lately. Talk about a new favorite blouse or website or toe nail polish. Ask their advice on a good movie to watch or tell a funny story about a recent time you did something embarrassing.
When they have been single for a while, don’t assume you know why. This is one that you have to know your friend. It may be that they really want to be dating, but they are too busy or are waiting for the right person. Or maybe they are totally happy being single, and they get frustrated when people keep trying to set them up. Either way, you need to ask before assuming.
When you have a fun family activity planned, invite them to join you. It doesn’t have to be every time, but remember that single people like BBQs, hiking, and bike rides too! Plus, it never hurts to have an extra set of adult hands around. This especially goes for family meals – trust me, they will appreciate some home-cooked food that isn’t instant rice or a bag of M&Ms.
When they offer to babysit, let them. If they’ve offered, it means they want to. Remember, they aren’t burnt out or overwhelmed by being around kids constantly, so they are probably really excited to have an energetic and fun evening with your little ones. Take advantage of their enthusiasm and sneak in a date night with your man!
If they don’t offer to babysit, ask them once. They are adults and can say no if they don’t want to – and if they say no or seem uncomfortable with it, that’s ok! Don’t keep suggesting it. Note: don’t rule out your guy-friends on this one – they can be so much fun as babysitters and your kids will probably make them a new best friend.
If they are moving or planning a project requiring extra height or muscles, encourage your husband to offer his help. There’s a reason men and women go together, and your single friends don’t have constant access to the talents of men!
When something hard happens in your life, ask for their support or advice. Even if it has to do with parenting or your marriage and they don’t have experience with these things, they may have wisdom to share and will definitely want to stand by and be a friend throughout the time.
So there you have it – some important ways to stay connected to the single people in your life and remind them that they are a valuable friend! Do we have any single readers out there with more suggestions? Feel free to chime in and comment below!