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5 Things Singles Should Do When Their Friends Get Into Relationships

5 Things Singles Should Do When Their Friends Get Into Relationships

When our closest friends enters into new relationships, the relationships we have with our friends also change, no matter how much we try to resist it. There are things we can do to help us navigate our way through the evolution of our friendships. Here are five things single people can do when our friends are getting into new relationships.

1. Recognize that changes to your friendship may be inevitable

When our friends enter into new relationships, they may disappear for weeks on end while in the throes of new romance, making us wonder if they’ve been lost in the Bermuda Triangle of love. Or, when we do see them, they talk incessantly about their new loves, leaving little room to mutually share and discuss the other beautiful intricacies of life. The one-on-one time spent with friends all of a sudden becomes three’s company, where we feel like the third wheel or the odd man out.

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These situations may lead to exasperation, as we wonder when our newly coupled friends will return to their normal selves. Yet, in many ways, it is normal for those in new relationships to change as they navigate through confused feelings of love, vulnerability, and obsession. Therefore, we must remember to be kind, compassionate, and patient with our friends who are in new relationships, trusting that our friendships will bounce back in due time.

2. Know when to be Switzerland—don’t get stuck in the middle of your friends’ relationships

How many of us have been in this situation: We are hanging out with our friend and her significant other. Everything is seems to be going well until the couple begin to engage in a harmless disagreement that quickly turns into World War III. Both are in the wrong, yet look to you to be the therapist, arbiter, and judge. If you side with one over the other, you risk losing impartiality and potentially trust.

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There are other situations that can lead to you getting stuck in the middle of a friend’s relationship. How often has a friend asked for your opinion about a significant other, only to have that opinion negatively affect your friend’s relationship, resulting in you being in the center of rifts that occur within the relationship? There may be times when we are called to become involved in our friends’ relationships, but we should also recognize when being neutral preserves our friendships and sanity.

3. Expand your friendship circle, hobbies, and interests

When your closest friend adds a plus-one to her life, you may find yourself going to happy hours, movies, and other social gatherings alone. Or, you realize that once-spontaneous hangouts give way to planned lunches and coffee dates. In those moments, you miss the Butch to your Sundance Kid, the Thelma to your Louise, the Bert to your Ernie. Yet, these moments also reveal the significance of finding and cultivating new friendships with those who share your interests and values.

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Discovering new hobbies can help us to uncover new experiences and people who can broaden our horizons, lessening the impact of a friend’s new relationship on our lives. This is not to say that we should discard our coupled-up friends in exchange for single ones, just that we should strive to continuously expand our circle of friends, interests, and hobbies.

4. Honor your single status

As our friends find love in new relationships, we may suffer from the grass-is-greener syndrome, where we vie to find a relationship of our own and forget the benefits of being single. Single status means more than not having to share a bed, compromise with someone else’s desires, or be involved with just one person. It also offers us opportunities to reflect on and explore who we are, in very authentic ways.

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That is not to say that self-exploration does not happen within the context of a relationship. Being single allows that journey to occur on our own terms and conditions.Yes, being “the single one” amongst newly coupled friends can sometimes be lonely, but it is important to honor your single status to take advantage of opportunities that allow for your own personal growth.

5. Don’t be afraid to engage your friends in honest conversations

Having honest conversations with others is one of the most difficult things to do because we allow ourselves to become vulnerable. However, keeping our feelings bottled up can damage our ability to be authentic with ourselves and others. When a friend enters a new relationship, you may feel out of place for sharing anything but feelings of joy and happiness, even if you also feel a sense of loss or abandonment.

Unexpressed, this may cause you to shut down rather than speak your truth, harming the friendship. Don’t be afraid to have honest conversations with your friends, because what you risk losing is too great.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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