I Will Wait for You – a poem by JANETTE…IKZ
Do you have any other anecdotes/stories that speak loudly of your experience as a single adult?
I have always been “one of the guys.” As YouTube’s Rhett and Link would say, I’m in the “Friend Zone” (check out the video below for Link’s advice on how to escape the friend zone). They greet me with side hugs. One friend consistently calls me “Buddy.” The guys often talk to me about girls – problems with them, crushes on them, engagement rings for them. They talk about girls they are interested in, but I am never one of those girls.
For example, I remember sitting next to Kevin and Jeff in 6th grade. We would joke around and talk when we weren’t working, and one day the conversation was about Kevin’s recent break-up with Ali (Yes, in 6th grade. I know). He and Jeff were trying to find a rebound girlfriend, and when my name was suggested, Kevin said no. My experience as a single adult seems similar to this childhood experience. I have good relationships with guys, but they wouldn’t consider being more than just friends. I had one guy insist we were just friends when a mutual friend asked him if anything more than friendship was going on between us.
My roommate has had quite the opposite experience as a single woman. She tries to pursue friendship with guys, but they always seem to want something more. She also has a childhood story that bears similarities to her adult experience. When she was 11, she had the rare opportunity to attend summer camp. As usual, there was that one boy at camp that all the girls pine for. He was the typical blond-haired, blue-eyed, all-American boy. All the girls had a crush on him – except for my roommate. One day at the camp swimming pool, Mr. All-American’s friends approached her. “Do you like him?” they asked. She didn’t know what to think. She was afraid they were setting her up to be the butt of a joke. “No,” she flatly told them. After they walked away, her friends ran up to her saying, “What did you do? He was going to ask you out!” But she just wasn’t interested. Even though that experience was years ago, things are still very much the same for her. She just wants to be friends, but the guys want something more.
After my roommate and I shared these stories with each other, we decided to watch a movie. It seemed fitting to end our conversation with When Harry Met Sally, which I had not seen until tonight. In the movie, Harry and Sally are just friends, they talk about relationship problems and bedroom conquests, and spend lots of time together. But the movie asks the question: can a man and a woman ever be just friends? Here’s what they discuss early in the movie:
So can a man and a woman be just friends? I do have guys who are just friends, but I’m sure that the existence of their girlfriends/fiancées helps to keep things strictly platonic. But that’s pretty characteristic for my experience as a single adult – just trying to escape the friend zone. Others are content with being just friends and would prefer to keep it that way, but some people in their lives are making it a little difficult.
What anecdote characterizes your experience as a single adult?
Link’s Golden Advice for Single Guys
I think isolation results from my own perception of the situation. An evening hanging out with a bunch of married couples doesn’t seem like a good time for a single adult. I would probably assume I would feel isolated or unable to relate to anyone. I would probably find a way to excuse myself from the event. I picture myself sitting in a chair as couples gather in love seats around the room. They sip coffee or wine as they discuss politics, retirement plans, and college funds for their children. I sit in my chair wondering if anyone saw that incredible movie I’ve been wanting to discuss. But that’s how I picture it – not necessarily how it is. Sure, there may be some people who switch into some “married couple mode,” or as Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like puts it, “Your friends that have been married for 15 minutes act like they suddenly don’t remember anything about dating and therefore can’t give you any advice. ‘It’s been so long since I dated, things have changed so much. I’m just out of that whole scene.'” I have learned, however, that there are married couples out there who are so welcoming and hospitable to the single people in their lives. These are the married couples who don’t make you painfully aware of your singleness. You admire their marriage, but with them you are not ashamed to have a life that lacks a marriage like theirs. With them, you are just a friend.
I do sense some isolation among other single adults who have different attitudes toward singleness and marriage. For example, some single women I know are in their late 30s or older, each with at least one ex-husband. They dump men who don’t make enough money; they joke (maybe?) about finding husbands who make enough money so they can maintaining their shopping habits without working. Call me naive or idealistic, but I’m looking for love. I haven’t found it yet, and until then I remain single. I’m not interested in being a 30-year-old gold-digger with three ex-husbands. Because of our difference in opinions about relationships, despite the common ground of our status as single women, I find it hard to relate to them. I’ve been told before by women like them that my standards are too high, and with them I feel ideologically – and maybe even socially – alone and isolated.
It is important to note that singleness does not need to go hand-in-hand with isolation. As we discussed in response to Question 4, single people can avoid isolation and loneliness by including people who love and support them in their lives. I feel fortunate to have good friends – and the opportunity to make new friends – in my life. Over the past week, I’ve been able to spend time with friends, some of whom are also single. We’ve watched TV specials, gathered for meals, prayed together, gone bowling, played games, and generally enjoyed each others’ company. Because of my friends, I have no excuse to feel isolated or alone. But I will be honest and say I’ve had to work for this. I had to get out of my home and go through the awkward and uncomfortable process of meeting new people in order to make new friends. But again, in honesty, no longer feeling isolated is worth the discomfort that meeting new people can bring.
This weekend I traveled two hours to my parents’ house so I could visit the dentist for a regular cleaning. I also had a cold creep up on me, and I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into bronchitis – again. All this to say… I didn’t get to make a response video this week – but I still wanted to respond to the question of the week: If your experience of singleness was a bumper sticker or slogan, what would it say?
When I was a teenager, I literally had a slogan for my experience of singleness. In my wallet, I carried around a laminated card. On one side, it said “The Singles’ Club,” and below that, my signature and “Member Since” some year I don’t remember anymore. On the other side was the club motto: “Flying solo is okay.” I made a couple of these for my friends who were also single, though I don’t know if they kept them in their wallets or promptly threw them away. Perhaps as a teenager I really did think that flying solo was okay, or maybe I was just trying to convince myself that not having a date to the homecoming dance didn’t make me a loser or social failure. I would be fairly impressed in my teenage self if I truly believed that, because ten years later I sometimes struggle with thinking it’s true.
On Facebook, Belinda joked about having the slogan “U Can’t Touch This,” but I think I prefer her other suggestion: “Respect for others, respect for self.”
At Bible study last week, a friend talked about having anxiety the day before Valentine’s Day as she saw all of these men at the grocery store buying flowers for their girlfriends and wives.
Thoughts Lies like, “I’m going to be alone forever” and “No one will ever love me” crept into her mind. After talking to a close friend on the phone, she was reminded of the Truth contained in the Bible. Not only does the Bible tell us time and time again that we are loved, but as Christians, we are children of the King. We are princes and princesses! You don’t need Prince Charming or a “happily ever after” to be royalty.