I wasn’t too keen on writing this article to be honest – for a number of reasons but essentially they boil down to this:
1. I’m a guy
2. I’m single
There are already 101 different articles and opinions on this subject, with several already on threads – naturally I ask myself the question, do I have anything new to add? I’ll let you decide. But let me start by stating this article is not about making the most of your singleness. This is about dealing with being single.
I canvassed some of my fellow single guy friends (email suggestions for a trendy descriptor please), Christian and not, to get a sense of the general picture. I discovered two things from the replies:
1. I have a lot to learn from these guys – they are way more content single than I am (that’s not to say they don’t want to meet the future Mrs, but that it doesn’t fixate their mind like I have to admit, it can mine sometimes).
2. Loneliness is a reality for guys – Four out of the five replies I received specifically mentioned loneliness as an experience of being single. Now from knowing these guys on a personal level I know they’re not curled in a ball listening to Radiohead – but the fact remains that at times we can feel lonely.
One story was particularly telling: “Socially being single can sometimes be a disaster. I’ve lost touch with a few friends over the years who simply stop inviting the single guy to their couples’ dinners.” And I can say from experience as being the single guy at a table of couples, there definitely is an elephant in the room (at least in your own head) and it’s occupying the empty seat next to yours. Inevitably loneliness creeps in like an unwelcome guest – the irony.
This tension between a couple and a single remains largely unspoken. Yet we all know from our experience in any relationship that unspoken things can be the most damaging. Below are not so much tips to ‘fix a problem’ as me voicing a few words until now unspoken:
- We don’t need to form a self-help group but hopefully this article shows it’s okay to feel lonely and to share this with others – even other guys. I’m sharing it with the world, the least you can do is try your best mate.
- Invest in the friendships you do have – this is our present reality and they deserve our best not 50% while we’re waiting to meet ‘the one’.
- We must choose to not wallow. Do something – get out of the house, see your mates or do something great for the kingdom.
- It’s great to have a couples dinner – this is a good environment to learn, support and strengthen relationships. Feel free to invite us singles along too sometimes though – we could learn some lessons in advance.
- Remain intentional about investing in your single friends too.
- Be honest with us – when you need to spend time as a couple, tell us. We’re big boys, and sometimes we need the wake up call too!
- Don’t write each other off the minute you/they enter a relationship. Don’t assume they won’t want to go to that event you’re having just because they’re now single/in a relationship. Ask the question.
- It may simply be the case that you have more single/couple friends. Your circumstances and experiences will partly dictate this – but so will your decisions. Aim for balance.
My initial discomfort at writing this article, if I’m honest, hasn’t totally disappeared, but in preparing I’ve had some really fun and honest conversations with friends, old and new, and ousted the elephant in the room – give it a try.