I want to talk about something, as a single woman, that some engaged or newly married women may need to hear. It seems within weeks an engagement occurs, female friendships can begin to take a nasty, catty turn. According to my social media timelines, these cat fights rear their ugly heads because a single friend is now “hating” on the newly engaged friend. It's a sad state of affairs, people. Seriously, I’ve had quite a few peers and friends get engaged in the last couple of years or so, and I’ve noticed a trend with many taking to social media to express their disdain for “hatin’ behind females” or women who are “hating on my happiness”. So, the following is inspired by a lot of what I've seen play out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and much, much more. I’m writing this in love, and in an effort to help you repair and maintain important relationships. I also seek to help others who have to watch this stuff play out in our newsfeed maintain our sanity - ladies, we honestly can't take another passive-aggressive status update or meme.
Here are four things your single girlfriends are most likely thinking about your engagement and what you should do about it.
“Yes, God! It’s About Time!”
There's an old episode of Girlfriends - the one when Joan was secretly jealous of Toni's wedding - that has a lot of y'all shook, but please know that not every single girlfriend is going bat crazy because you are engaged. Not every single lady is brooding about their own lives because you are now about to enter into a new chapter in yours. A few may (I'll address them later), but you'd be surprised how happy most singles are to learn of impending nuptials. Most in this category are happy simply because they’re happy for you. Period. And others in this category blend their happiness for you with being happy that you are a source of hope for themselves. They remember when you were in the "single bin" right along with them hoping-and-a-wishing-and-a-praying that God would finally send you "the ONE", so they are ELATED to see God answered your prayers. They see your "WIN" as a win for ALL singles who desire marriage. So, no! Single ladies aren't always in the cut hating on you. Many bless God for your marriage. You are a testimony of God's goodness for many! They want you to marry, and if they can afford to attend, they want to be at your weddings. After all, going to your wedding might be how they'll meet THEIR future husbands! So, in effect, your marriage could be necessary for their own future marriages! If they don't support you, they're doing a disservice to not only you, but to themselves! (Attention Feminazis: I know that not EVERY woman wants to be a wife. I get it. That last part was a joke. Calm down. Sheesh!)
“HUH? SO Who Am I Gonna Hang WITH Now?!”
I want you guys to know that even if a single friend is "funny acting" about your engagement, it may not be because she is unhappily single and miserable. Some singles, especially if you are close to them, may be mourning a loss. You were likely once their ACE, and now you're about to become someone else's ACE. The fact that you are no longer able to hang out at the drop of a dime, or that they can't call you and stay on the phone for an hour at a time to vent about their latest horrible date, is a little depressing. You won't have time for them anymore like you used to and that's a little heartbreaking for some. Some singles go through a process of mourning the loss of a hanging buddy. (No one admits this because it requires us to drop our guard, but it is the truth.) You're changing your name and have a new person in your life who will soon be your MAIN/BEST friend. Some can be caught off guard by this change at first. But it’s definitely not coming from a place of hate. Know that this "funny acting" stuff is only temporary. They usually come around once they process their grief of losing a friend as THEY once knew you and embrace the goodness you're about to gain.
“I CAN’T AFFORD TO BE IN/ATTEND THE WEDDING”
Whether they’re saving to buy a home, are working to pay down student loan or credit card debt, or are just plain trying to stick to their budgets, today’s single ladies are super smart about their finances or are serious about getting them order. If your friend is acting random or evasive, it may not be because she’s jealous of your engagement, but because she’s trying to figure out how to tell you she can’t afford to be in or attend your wedding. That’s a huge piece of news to give someone you want to support, so this has to be dealt with delicately and with certainty. Some people, like me, will just RSVP or agree to be part of the festivities and figure out the money part later. Yet, those wisest among us are more prudent…some take the time to count the cost before officially agreeing to be part of your big day. And, unfortunately, in some cases it just isn’t financially feasible. That’s not hater-ation, that’s intelligence. My jumping to be part of a friend’s wedding without considering the cost got me into some trouble years ago. I’d purchased my bridesmaid’s dress and everything, and wouldn't you know the woman ended up calling off the wedding?! I was certainly sad about her relationship and was there to comfort her through her break up. But when I went home and looked at my bills and assess my own life, the reality was I was out of money I already didn’t have to spend. Honestly, I was a little upset about it. I don’t note this to place more value on a few hundred dollars than someone’s feelings about losing their intended. I highlight it to say, at the end of the day, if being involved in your wedding is a legitimate financial burden on someone THEY could potentially resent you for it later. Give people time to work out whatever it is they need to work out before assuming their delay or “no” is a jealous swipe at you. If they eventually tell you they can’t afford to be involved, do the best you can to be understanding or offer an alternative (less expensive) solution, if possible.
“I’M KINDA SAD FOR ME, BUT I’M STILL HAPPY FOR YOU!”
Okay, okay. SOME singles may actually be feeling some type of way that you’re getting married and they’re not. But I assure you it’s less about hating on you and more about being reminded that it is not yet their time. For these friends, ESPECIALLY if they are close friends, I’d recommend being patient with them while still focusing on your day. I’m not saying their attitude is acceptable, but it is human and, thus, should be understandable. Don’t downplay your happiness because that’s not what you friend would want you to do. They’re just trying to deal with their own issues for the moment. Just like the friend who may be mourning a loss of her hanging buddy, give them time to process this news and pray that they eventually come around. If waiting for your friend to get it together becomes draining or isn’t working out for you, I highly recommend confronting your friend directly. The next section covers a good way to do this.
Confronting Your “Funny Acting” Friend
If you are picking up on weird vibes from friends (single or otherwise) around your engagement, don't just assume the worst, throw shade at them, or abruptly cut them off. If you TRULY consider that person a friend, be big enough to tell them how you feel. Call them up and invite them out to brunch/lunch to have a heart-to-heart to make sure everything is on the up and up. If the friend is, indeed, jealous of your engagement, confronting them head on (in love) helps them make sense of their feelings. If forces them to confront them and speak them out loud. Some people honestly don’t know how to correctly express or handle their emotions in a healthy way. Left to their own devices they may instead give off bad energy or mixed signals. If it’s a financial issue, perhaps you can help them with the costs or give them another (less expensive) part to play in your wedding or engagement festivities. In either scenario, confronting their behavior or attitude helps them see how silly they've been acting and how their negative or “off” energy is hurting you or bringing you down. A REAL friend will grasp that and pull herself together to make sure she is there for you 100% going forward. But if you've done everything from your end to make peace or reach a resolution and you find you TRULY DO have a real live, bona-fide hater in your midst, disinvite her PRONTO so that you can save a few bucks on your reception headcount!
i said all of this to say...
If we’re at an age where getting married is on the table, we are SUPER grown so there is no room for confusion or pettiness in our lives. If things feel off or awkward and your friend doesn't come around first, put your pride aside and talk to your homie. As a wise friend of mine once said, "be patient with people, because we're all human." And you’re going to need lots of patience not only with your girlfriends, but with your soon-to-be husband at some point. So practice humility, open communication and patience now!
Weddings/marriages can bring about huge change for everyone involved...more so for the bride and groom, but not only for the bride and groom. Weddings bring out emotions many never knew they had and revelations some might be too ashamed to admit. It may be your day, but it doesn't mean others' feelings just shut off or their lives just stop. There is a lot to process for some people. I don't mean to say this as if you also don't have a lot to process as well. Yet, YOU are the one feeling "hated on", so YOU need to take control of these situations. Take the high road and honor God, your friendships and your impending marriage by squashing any beef or misunderstandings as much as you can, as soon as possible. This will allow you to enjoy your engagement and ensure your wedding day is TRULY a happy day - void of emotional baggage or unresolved messiness. Do your part to make peace with all now. And, yes, I know you “ain’t got time for all that drama” because you’re extremely busy planning your wedding. But….ummmm…. you seem to have plenty of time to post subliminal shade about your “haters” on social media. I’m sure you can find a little time for open, honest communication with those you consider your friends.
Did I get everything? What thoughts would you add to this list?