sam

When I first agreed to write something for this topic for Brett, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to tell my “married” friends as a “single” person. Sometimes I feel so frustrated with the labels we place on each other and use to define where we think someone should be at in their life Journey. Don’t get me wrong, after a lifetime of “single” (I’m 42, never been married and don’t have kids) I could write a book on what I’ve wanted to tell my “married” friends over the years. But then I’m sure they could have written the same book in reverse.

We all have things that have been said and experienced in the past by someone we thought didn’t “get” us or our current life experience. I didn’t want this article to be about what I experience as faults in my married friends behavior. I didn’t want this to be a critique or judgment on your lack of “getting” me. There are things about my life you will never “get”. There are things about your life that I will never “get”. What I want to write and discuss are the many ways in which my married friends have supported, encouraged and blessed me over the years and maybe if you’re a married person with single friends you can take some of these ideas and apply them to your relationships, because at the end of the day for me it is about the relationship with the friend that counts, married or single should not be a consideration. If we take the label away (married, single, divorced, widowed) and treat people the way we want to be treated.

The most important way my married friends have built this relationship with me is to include me in their family’s lives. Simple things like inviting me to dinner irrespective of suicide hour, busy husbands, chaos in their homes…when I arrive they rope me in to bath the kids, read  bedtime stories, have a glass of wine while they cry on my shoulder and show me the other side of the “happily ever after” story. I like being part of your story, I like that you trust me with your kids, your not so perfect day and your authentic life, good and bad. This for me is real.  Some of my friends apologize for the chaos and my reaction is always the same…DON’T!

I have married friends who make time to spend one on one time with me without their husbands and kids; spontaneously inviting me to walk on the beach, a half-price movie night or to join them for Wakkaberry on a hot Durban day; or spending a whole day while in Durban on business just hanging out. These moments are precious and special to me. They don’t assume because I’m single I already have my whole weekend mapped out and am too busy for them.

Nearing the end of my Dad’s Illness with Cancer I was probably in the worst space of my life dealing with the reality of life and death, loss and anger were constant emotions. During this time one of my married friends had just had a little baby boy. As marrieds with kids will know that this is not an easy stage for a mom, especially if you have older kids, life is busy and crazy and you have a new baby to adjust to. It would have been understandable if our friendship took some time out for us each to deal with the space we were in, but no. That wasn’t what this friend did. She didn’t step back; focus on her own situation and emotions. She’d phone and say…”I have dinner for you come by and pick it up after work”…and I’d get there and she’d say “stay and have some wine and here hold my baby while I quickly finish up”…and you may not get how much that meant to me. Firstly that someone would care to make me dinner when I was struggling just to get through the day and then secondly being able to hold that beautiful baby while he slept in my arms helped hold something together in me.

P.S: if you have not done any of the above or included your single friend in your family lives do not expect your single friends to babysit whenever you need them. We are not a free babysitting service. However if you are the kind of married friend described above then there is nothing I won’t do to help you and your family if it is in my power to do so.

Life is messy; at 42 I don’t have time for surface friendships, ones where labels are used to define the relationship. Each friendship I have is unique and special and fulfills a need in my life and hopefully your friendship with me fulfills a need in yours. It is about being authentic with the people you choose to spend time with. Don’t assume because I’m single and childless I want to avoid the messiness of your life. My life is not filled with social engagements, cocktail hours and bar hoping, I’m no longer 20 and those things are not my priority (although I do enjoy a good cocktail or two ;)). Don’t assume we are selfish because we are single. We want more than anything to be a part of your lives and for you to be a part of ours.

[For another post on what my single friend Deborah Dowlath would like her married friends to know, click here]

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