I’m single but all my friends are in smug couples… What can I do?

Feeling lonely, rejected or annoyed by your coupled-up friends? Here are some dos and don'ts to help you cope.

It can be really tough to be the last single person in a friendship group. Perhaps you feel lonely or left on the shelf. Maybe you can’t relate to what your coupled-up friends are going through or they’ve started excluding you from their activities. Maybe your heart is still mending from a previous relationship or you just haven’t found Miss/Mr Right. Or perhaps you love being single but miss having a wing(wo)man to join you in your exploits.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you deal with all of the above:

Don’t…

…be tempted to settle. It’s not worth snapping up the first gal or guy to cross your path just because everyone else seems to be in a relationship. It’s really important that you choose the right person to spend your life with, even if it takes a while to find him/her.

…be envious. This may sound tough, but envy will destroy your friendships and lead to greater unhappiness. If you’re struggling with this, take it to God and ask for his help. If you can, pray for your friends and their partners.

…be fooled into thinking that coupledom provides the perfect ‘happy ever after’. Finding the person of your dreams may sound really appealing, but relationships come with their own set of challenges and complexities. Smugness doesn’t always equal happiness!

…be pressured into dating someone your friends have picked. Your friends may be well-meaning, but this is often a recipe for disaster. If the person seems promising, by all means go for it, but take it slowly and tell your friends not to pry while you get to know each other. If it doesn’t go well, your friendships may become even more uncomfortable, especially if people feel forced to take sides. And if you’re happy being single, make this clear and tell them to stop feeling sorry for you!

Do…

…be grateful for what you have. Perhaps you have a job or a hobby you love, or maybe you enjoy having the freedom to make your own decisions about how you spend your time and money. Being single is certainly better than being in a bad relationship, so be grateful for that if nothing else!

…be proactive. Rather than sitting around waiting for the perfect partner to appear, or for your smug couple friends to include you, start looking for new avenues of your own. Get more involved in church life or learn a new skill. Make an effort to connect with people, even if it’s only online for the time being. This may not lead to a new relationship, but it will keep your mind busy and broaden your horizons.

…be honest with your friends. If you feel as though you’re being excluded or patronised by your friends, tell them how you’re feeling. Ask to hang out with them individually as well as in a group and enjoy doing some of the things you used to do together. If you’re looking for love yourself, ask them to pray with and for you. If your friends don’t respond well, maybe it’s time to make some new ones!

…be prayerful about the future. Maybe you have always dreamed of being married with kids, or maybe you just want to be accepted as a happy single. Talk to God about how you feel. Ask him to guide your steps and reveal his purpose for your life. He has your best interests at heart, so trust him with your future.