My sister and I were talking recently and she made a statement that really stuck with me. She said that most people don't know how to talk to singles. She may have a point.
I've found that even my church does not always know what to do with me. Depending on the subject matter, they include me with the young people (you know, the unmarried teenagers and college kids just starting their lives out with wide-eyed expectations) or with the adults (the married kind with spouses and kids and so much to talk about with their peers.)
I've had a lot of encouragement, to be sure. But usually it involves statements like: "When you get married..." or "When you become a mother..." And I really like those conversations where all the moms and wives lament about their busy lives or swap childbirth stories or complain about that husband that doesn't pick up his dirty laundry. And then they'll look at me and say "Be glad you're single!" Or "You're the smart one!" Or my favorite: "Don't ever get married!" Yeah. That's what I want to hear.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy sitting in on these discussions. I get a kick out of the woes of married life, knowing that most of these ladies genuinely love their husbands and their children. But the fact remains, I have nothing to contribute to these conversations.
I've had good friends marry, and then I stop hearing from them. It's as if a wall is automatically erected because they're now married and I'm not. They've become members of an exclusive club where they can talk about diapers and childish antics and date nights. And of course I'm not a part of that group, so they no longer know how to converse with me. Maybe, in their eyes, I haven't quite "arrived" yet.
Now, I don't say all this to make you feel sorry for me or because I'm upset or even because I don't want to hear about my friends' married/family lives. Quite the contrary. But I do hope to pass on some food for thought, straight from a single person's perspective.
Don't forget your single friends. While I don't wish you to avoid talking about the anniversary gift you got your spouse or the latest cute thing that your baby did, please don't let the conversation be monopolized by those topics, leaving one or two individuals out of the discussion altogether.
I also don't want my friends to tiptoe around the "elephant in the room." (You know, the fact that I'm single.) Don't be afraid to bring it up. I'm happy to share my feelings on it. I would love to tell you how I've grown in this place in my life. And yes, there might be times I need to share how I'm struggling. A listening ear would be great.
So, what else can you talk about with your single friends? After all, their lives are not as filled with familial events. Well, I can't speak for them all, but for me personally, I would love to talk about my career, or my plans for the future, or things I'm doing with my house. I enjoy discussions on the Bible and spiritual growth. I like to share my favorite movies, books, and music. I love to discuss relationships of all kinds. I enjoy talking about recent trips and vacations I've taken (even if they are shared with my parents!)
I have found my sister's statement to be pretty accurate at times. Most people don't really know what to say to singles. But, I hope I've maybe given you a place to start. Remember that, married or single, we are all God's children. And we are all...
In His Grip!
"A friend loveth at all times..." Proverbs 17:17a