The first rule of a friendship group: no man left behind.
That's right, isn't it? Except, when everyone starts dating, that's the first rule that goes out the window. A single person basically isn't a person.
It's a hard reality, but it's the truth – after all, 'all's fair in love and war'.
Don't be happy just as a third wheel. Embrace every single day as an opportunity for growth.
We're independent and happy
Here are several tips on establishing boundaries when you are single and still demand time from your friends in relationships. You are deserving of their time even while living the single life!
The prospect of sex may seem like it makes a relationship more profitable or valuable, but it shouldn't. It's one of those paradoxes that you agree with when you're single – and you forget about it when you're with someone.
Life is just fickle like that. All your friends' relationship statuses are Facebook official, so it's natural to be feeling left out. The last single friend shouldn't feel bad, though!
Firstly – don't accept radio silence from people in relationships. The fact that they might be swept up in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, but that's not your fault.
You deserve to be happy alone, not just jealous of your friends.
Friends aren't things to let go of lightly.
Even if they're a smug couple
Give them a chance, though. Friends are in relationships with many people, not just you, but certainly not just one partner.
Value your time and effort in planning, protect it, but don't withdraw that too early. Relationships of all kinds have to be mutual and filled with compromise.
That includes friendships too!
Offer to meet the guy or gal – even though you may feel like a third wheel – this person is clearly important to your friend. You all deserve to spread love.
Don't be the friend that automatically disapproves of everyone. You can be quietly suspicious that your friend will never meet someone worthy of them, but there's no use being openly hostile.
A friend's lack of support should never be the reason a relationship breaks down.
That said, if you are thrown to the curb and left on read for weeks, take a stand. Withdraw your offers and attention and see how they take it.
If they don't notice, then that's their fault. It's a staring contest at this point – whoever blinks first loses.
Equally, don't always forgive your friend for ignoring you
Your feelings are important – don't waste them thinking about what everyone else is doing all the time.
If you excuse them by saying, 'it's fine, it's what she does when she dates someone new', then stop. That's not good enough in 2020.
We've all had lockdown to come to terms with some emotional trauma and better ourselves. Don't pretend that these people who hurt your feelings do so accidentally and call that normal.
If they're your friends, they should know your boundaries. They should recognize when you are hurt.
We all internalize our shame at being single as being something wrong with us, oversensitive, or too intense. Unable to commit.
Whatever it is, don't displace those feelings of insecurity into your friends' relationships – for good or ill.
Don't use that as a reason to break up their relationship, but also don't use it as a reason not to pursue your own emotional goals.
Stop viewing life in terms of 'single' and 'taken'. You can't be 'taken' when you are in a relationship – where would you go?
It's not a Liam Neeson thriller!
Focus on ways to look inwards
Learn about yourself; what makes you tick. What you eat when you require comfort; how you look after yourself, alone.
Your own company is more than enough. You are fun, interesting, compelling, and complex all on your own.
Ignore the others if they are ignoring you; that's wasted energy.
But equally, don't push away people who are good for you. Those who are willing to make an effort if you do – even if there is another person in their life.
That doesn't mean that their life is automatically bigger or better than yours. You can control your own destiny and manifest positivity in your life.
Think of their significant others as potential friends, people to learn more about.
Maybe it works out; maybe it doesn't
Don't let coupled friends forget about single girls on a Saturday night, though. It's a slippery slope and sets the tone for getting married, and trust me. No one wants that.
People in relationships can become so distant that you can only keep up with them with a follow on Instagram. Single people are worth more than losing out to their friends' relationships.
But you tried, and you put yourself out there. That, above all else, is what matters most, friends.