I've been thinking about this for a while and it took some time to put my thoughts together. With the marriage of another friend last year and another coming in the near future, it seems like the majority of my friends are married or getting married. In looking around online today, I saw various articles on how single people interact with their married friends and vice versa. It was interesting to read and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on things I've learned.
PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE
If you're the impatient type, then it will be difficult to deal with friends who are married. I can't say I was the most patient type when I was younger but as I have aged (or matured), my patience has grown. This also applies to the various situations involving married friends. The simple fact is that married friends can't hang out as much as they used to. Their significant other has a major say in things. If there are kids, that also plays a factor in any plans you try to make.
When I was younger, I was a little impatient when friends didn't call back. It was part immaturity and some selfishness. However, a few years ago, this immaturity and selfishness blew up in my face. It probably cost me a good friend when I had issues with the friend not calling me back.
After this particular incident, my patience grew to the point where I am fairly laid back with my friends. Instead of calling or emailing constantly and demanding attention, I reduced my volume of emails to next to nothing. I called a few friends every now and then. When they didn't call back right away, I just went on with life.
Related to patience, when I was young, I didn't do things on my own. If there was nothing going on with friends, I tended to hang at home. Maybe I slept in, watched TV or played some video games. I still do all of those things if I am home. However, I've gone out to see movies by myself. Obviously I like to write so I spend time blogging. I'm doing some photography when I get the chance. All in all, I'm spending time doing things instead of waiting for friends (especially the married ones) to initiate.
I have good friends around me but the realization is (again, especially for the married ones) they cannot be with me 24/7/365. Since I am not attached or married, I might as well enjoy life while I can. In not getting married sooner, I get to go out more and get everything out of my system before settling down.
The other things is I've made other friends and have other social groups to hang out with. The unfortunate fact is that once you get married, your regular friends are less of a priority. Not that married folks don't care about friends but with kids and other things, there is just less time. I just use my activities as a springboard to meet and get to know other people.
I'M WATCHING YOU
There is a benefit to having so many married friends around even if I don't see them as often as I used to. I get to observe their dealings with their significant others and kids (both good and bad) and learn from them. No one is perfect so problems will occur and watching people handle their situations is a good learning experience. Every marriage is unique so what happens to one couple may not happen to another. However, it never hurts to see it up close and personal.
Hopefully, this is not taken in the wrong context but I've learned a lot about my friends prior to getting married as well. I've seen their dealing in past relationships and even with their wives before they were married. I'm pretty observant, more so than people realize and it fascinates me how relationships go.
THE SINGLE LIFE IS NOT BAD
I have to give credit to my friends, especially the married ones. They are genuinely interested in my well being and there is a general wish that I find the right woman and get married. To that extent, I appreciate their concern. For the married folks, I believe it is because they are happy in their marriages and they want me to be happy as well.
However, because my married friends haven't been single in a LONG time, I think they forget how it is to be a single person. I did wonder for a long time when I would get married. Maybe I was getting too old and I couldn't find someone. I think a lot of singles go through that. You see people being happy together and wonder why you can't share in that.
Well, I've learned that you have to be happy, regardless if you're in a relationship or by yourself. I'll still go through my phases of ups and downs. Yet, I believe I am content with my life and where it is headed. There are always things to be improved but overall, I like where I am.
However, if you are unhappy, you can't expect a woman (or anyone) to fix that. Any person in your life should complement what you have and not fill in anything missing in your life.
Overall, single folks sometimes are looked at oddly. I've learned to get past that and just take care of my own business. When the right time (and woman) comes along, I will be ready to join the ranks of the married. Until then, I roll on with whatever life throws at me and enjoy it every step of the way.