For partnered people, friendship is important but it doesn’t take center stage. Friendship for single women is just a different creature. Instead of being peripheral to family, friendship is the focal point for many single women. Friendships with other women make us happier, more fulfilled, and more connected. And, when they erode, friendships can leave us vulnerable and hurting.
You can learn to nurture friendships in ways that will help you thrive. When friends move (or just move out of your life), you can learn skills that can keep you connected and part of a vibrant network.
Briallen Hopper, writing in NYMag.com, shares her experiences of the ups and downs, as a single woman, of relying on friendship for connection and companionship.
My friend Lucy vividly conveys the stakes when she describes her practice of getting together with friends a couple times a week as a “feral prevention plan.” For people in pairs, a certain amount of socialization is automatic, but single people have to schedule frequent friend time in order to prevent what Lucy calls “the slide from solitude into loneliness,” and what I tend to experience as the slide from keeping it together to falling apart.
— Read the full article here.
Why is friendship for single women such a big issue?
As more women stay single longer, for many of us our most significant relationships are with other women in our circle of friends. In a world that is built for couples, friendship is an existential human need for singles. Developing the skills to build and maintain nurturing friendships is critical for singles. As significant as food, shelter, or clothing.
We may be single, but rarely do we spend those years without a coterie of girlfriends. We may not be growing up within the context of our marriages anymore, but we are not alone. Women become each other’s de facto spouses: We practice habits of sharing and intimacy; we urge each other to be stronger and sharper, to get better jobs, and to accept no less than just and healthy relationships.
— Rebecca Traister. Read the full article in Salon.com
When friendships dissipate
Each of our individual friendships are subject to the effects of our friend finding a partner (spouse and children put new demands on your friend), distance (when friends move for professional opportunities), and just natural decay.
In a world made for couples, when friendships are so important to single women, what happens when our friends leave us? It can be difficult. Even as friendship for single women provides great benefits, it leaves us vulnerable when friendships erode.
Learn to build nurturing friendships – and learn how to roll deep when friendships change
Unlike marriage that is formalized and registered, only commitment binds us to our friends. If you are single in a coupled world, make sure you prioritize your friends. Make time to develop and foster friendships.
Being single may be a stage that you go through by choice, it may be a stage where you are seeking a partner, and it may be a deliberate choice for you. But, single should not mean lonely or disconnected. Dr. Ross can help you learn to find and build nurturing friendships. You can learn to bounce back when friends move, partner-off, or just fall away.
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