Recently our writers here at Project Inspired talked about how to be content when all your friends have boyfriends. There’s another side to this equation, though. What if you’re the friend who is in a relationship? As much as we wish things didn’t change once we start dating, friendships require more work once a guy comes on the scene. While your single friends pursue contentment, it’s up to you to be there for them in this season.
Empathize with their loneliness.
All those who are married were single at one time. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to be alone. Don’t forget that feeling now that you’re in a relationship! Your single friends need you to empathize with the emotions of singleness. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk positively about your boyfriend and relationship—you should! But don’t let every conversation turn back to the same subject. Have compassion for what your single friends are still experiencing.
Jesus is the best example of empathy. Even though He was perfect, He came into a sinful world and humbled Himself to the form of a man. He gave up all the glory of heaven to identify with us, and He still stands before God as our perfect Advocate.
Let your experience of being single inspire you have to compassion (not pity) for your friends, and don’t diminish their struggles now that you’re in a relationship.
Make time for their presence.
It’s natural to want time with your boyfriend now that you have one, but prioritize your time wisely. If your friends take a back burner to your man for too long, you’ll find yourself struggling for support when you need it most. Your boyfriend (and, one day, your husband) will never fulfill you completely. He cannot fill the role your female friends are designed to fill. Make time for your friends now, and make sure they feel valued.
While it might be easier to text or message them, make time to see your friends in person. Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction! Schedule a coffee date. Go shopping. In addition, your boyfriend will probably appreciate the time he’ll get to see his own friends, and you’ll have a healthier relationship because of it.
Point them back to the faithfulness of God.
Singleness can be tough, and as the friend who is no longer in that life stage, you have an exceptional opportunity to speak God’s faithfulness into your friends’ lives. When they feel down and discouraged, share with them how you trusted God in that season. Show them how God is still teaching you contentment even while in a relationship (because contentment is a lifelong discipline!).
Keep in mind you can only spiritually encourage your friends if you are walking closely with God yourself. Be vigilant over your quiet time, and make sure your relationship is centered on God’s truth and purity. This will speak volumes to your friends as they look forward to their own relationships.
Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone.
Finally, encourage your single friends to meet the kind of guys who honor God. This may mean they get out of their comfort zones a little! Help them to see what kind of priorities need to be in place before starting a relationship. Model those priorities in your relationship. Once again, your relationship can be a great example of holiness for those closest to you. Your purity, love and kindness will preach the gospel louder than any words you say.
Even if you experience a breakup, the grace and wisdom you model during that event can help your single friends understand God’s long-term purpose.
How do you encourage your single friends? As a single person, how has one of your friends encouraged you through her relationship?