Like most bloggers, I often treat this site like a personal diary. I was a journal keeper from the age of 14 to 26, and so it’s no real surprise that often I’ll come home, and before heading to bed feel the need to type. Writing and talking about stuff have always been my outlets. The way I process the lessons I’ve learned that day, or try to cope with painful realities. I look back on the words I wrote for both Mum and Dad’s funerals, for example, and eleven years on it’s like I’m back there. I dealt with the pain in those words, and sometimes reading them brings it back. And it’s the same with this blog. I can flick back across 15 months of writing, and trace the roller-coaster journey my heart’s been on. Because yes, it’s a blog … but it’s also been my life.
Back at the start of this Challenge, the blog was my way of getting my head around The Henley Boy situation. Three months in and I finally saw him for his true colours. And then many of you watched on, at the start of this year, when I fell head over heels for a far more worthy man… only for the timing to scupper any chance of a future. True to single life, I’ve been completely heart-broken on this blog. I’ve enjoyed the highs of infatuation, and the lows of rejection. I’ve also explored other stuff. I’ve grieved over the loss of my parents, and admitted things from my past which I’ve come to understand shape the woman I am today. At times I’ve used the blog like a mirror to lay bare my insecurities, and give myself important life lessons.
I’ve tried my best to share the lessons I’ve learned. To spare others from the pitfalls, and at least mark the danger zones of dating with hazard tape!
And so normally, when you read an article I’ve written on a topic, you can guess that the wisdom isn’t without some recent pain of learning. I wrote about Dating Out of My Depth because the guy I went on a date with intimidated the hell out of me! I talked about Breaking Up with a Friend, because a female friend treated me like total crap.
So you could be forgiven for thinking that tonight I’m going to tell you about a bad friend situation! Ironically, it’s anything but!
You see tonight I want to talk about Bad Behaviour when you go from being single, to one half of a relationship. And ironically, it was actually how great my coupled-up best friends are, that made me consider the topic ..
As little girls we grow up desperately wanting to have one specific ‘best friend’ … well I reckon I have four people in my life I truly consider my closest friends. Three girls, and one guy. I’ve known for over 19 years, and one for as little as 3 years. All four of my best friends are in relationships. Two of them are engaged, one is married and pregnant, and the other one lives with her boyfriend.
Over the years, I’ve grown used to being the single one around all the couples. To being a comfortable third wheel if I spend time with them and their partners. To having deep and meaningful conversations with my female friends, with their boyfriends or fiances comfortably involved in the conversation.
Recently I went for dinner with two of my best friends, and when I mentioned my impending birthday, I realised just how great my friends are. My friends are both ridiculously busy – the kind of people you normally have to book in months in advance. I’m having some birthday drinks this weekend, but when it came to the actual day of my birthday, I didn’t have any plans. Without a blink, or even a check of their calendars, both agreed to take me out to dinner. We didn’t do the same on their birthdays, because they were out with their fiancee and husband, but when it came to me, because I’m single, it was a given that we’d all go out.
The reason it hit a nerve, is I appreciate how rare this is.
I know far too many people who are incredible friends when they’re single, but the minute they get into a relationship, they all but disappear from the face of the planet. And frankly, it’s a crap way to behave. Ironically, it’s often the most needy of single friends who will go AWOL at the sniff of an interested guy. As if friendships and boyfriends are mutually exclusive things, and the two can’t coincide.
Part of growing up involves identifying these kind of seasonal friends, and deciding how you want to treat them. Whether you’re happy only having them in your life when they’ve just been dumped, or whether you’d rather distance yourself from them, because ultimately you end up feeling used!
At the grand old age of almost 31, I like to think I understand other people far better than I did at 21. One of the reasons I’m so happy single is because I’ve surrounded myself with really good friends. People who bring out the best in me, and love me for who I am. People who I can call on no matter the problem. People who won’t change the way they treat me, regardless of their relationship status.
They say people come into your life for a reason, a season or for life. Be careful that the reason isn’t because there’s no one else around.
As I’m constantly saying when I talk about dates – we all have very limited spare time … don’t waste it on people who don’t deserve your time.
As for the dating lesson? Well that should be simple … we won’t all be single forever, so make sure that when you’re the one in the relationship, you continue being a good friend to others, particularly YOUR single friends!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx