So, I gave this blog a somewhat provocative title on purpose. I am hoping that some good discussion will develop from my thoughts on a TV snippet I saw this morning. The point of the discussion was why married and single people tend to have a difficult time maintaining relationships with each other. Of course, they put the argument in boxing terms which may be a bit strong, but they brought up the point that often people that are close when they are single find it difficult to remain friends after one of them gets married. I must say that I have noticed this on occasion. I have some great married friends that I am still close to but others have fallen off the face of the earth. To be fair, I have also lost contact with some of my single friends as well.
Do you guy’s see this as a phenomenon? If so, why do you think it happens? Do singles feel threatened by the marital bliss of their friends- or vice versa? Are schedules just so different? Are lifestyles different, so relating to one another becomes hard? Do married people not need friends for support and comfort the way single people do?
I hope nobody is offended by this line of questioning. I honestly am just curious for thoughts on the topic. One thing I have wondered is if the real barrier comes when children are brought into the picture. I have had a number of married friends without kids that mention the difficulty they have bonding with other married couples with kids. Most of the time such difficulties result from scheduling conflicts. Children require so much time particularly at night when those (married or single) without kids are off from work itching to hang out. It’s a lot of work for a parent to find a sitter and the few times they do go to such trouble they probably want to spend time as a couple instead of hanging out with their single friends.
Another problem that might create barriers is a change in conversation and interests between the two groups. For instance, two girlfriends may have had everything in common when they were single but now that one is married some of those primary interests have changed for the married friend. What is important to remember is that those points of connection are still there. Priorities have just changed. I would wager to say that singles can be every bit as flaky in discounting or forgetting their married friends- with singles just assuming they have nothing in common anymore. I am obviously not married but it has got to be hard to get married and get dropped by most of your single friends.
So what is the solution to this problem? I don’t know, but here are some thoughts I have on strengthening married/single relationships (sounds so diplomatic hah!). First of all, whether single or married everyone must try to be what I call a low maintenance friend. Be someone that doesn’t whimper and feel neglected if they aren’t contacted for a month or if an outing together doesn’t work out. I love friends like this. Friends that I can always count on, friends that I love to be with, but that are not going to cause me additional stress in maintaining the friendship. I understand that everyone has their high maintenance moments but in general friendships should uplift our lives and be a solace from the world. They certainly should not add extra stress to our already busy lives. My next suggestion is to try and be understanding of different schedules and lifestyles. I was talking to my sister Megan the other day and she mentioned that a friend of hers and had gotten together for breakfast. She said this was convenient for her because she got some female bonding time without interrupting naps, sleeping or other commitments with her children. It was also casual so she could bring the kids and did not need a sitter. Maybe next time a single girl wants to get together with her married friend she could suggest a Saturday breakfast? On the other side of the spectrum married people must work around and respect the schedule of their single friends. Finally, it is important to be sensitive in conversation to the lifestyle and decisions of both groups. Sometimes both groups can come off as condescending- as if they have made the better choices. Let’s just respect each other and remember that we are friends. That’s what’s important!
One last tip for my married friends. Don’t set up your single friends unless you honestly feel that the set up has potential. Most singles don’t mind set ups that are thoughtfully prepared but everyone I know hates the “Your single. He’s single” type of set up. There has to be some reason that the couple might work. Bad set ups are irritating and annoying on many levels and can give the impression that you can’t be friends unless you are part of a couple.
So, those are my thoughts on this topic. It will be interesting for your responses and again hopefully you all understand the spirit of the post. I love all my married and single friends!!!