Even if you love being single, being the only single friend can be hard sometimes. I spent eight years as the single friend and — even though I was having a great time with my freedom and friends with benefits — there were times when I felt lonely, frustrated, and left out because everyone around me was in relationships. It's tough sometimes; there's no denying that. Don't feel guilty if you feel resentful every once and a while.
"Society promotes, encourages, and rewards coupledom and particularly marriage," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "This is particularly hard on single women because unmarried men are portrayed as 'sowing their oats' or 'playing the field' while unmarried women are considered to be old maids that are left on the shelf. The bias against [heterosexual] women is that they aren't really valued and validated unless they have been chosen by a man. It's self-perpetuation, meaning that the single women buy into this value judgement about themselves just as much as anyone else. I think that examining these stereotypes and breaking them down is the best way to eliminate them."
But actually, there are a lot of great things about being the only single friend — you just need to know where to look.
1You Have More Free Time To Develop Friendships
As much as society may promote being in a relationship, studies have shown that singles have more fulfilling lives — in part because they have the time to develop other relationships. So if you're the only friend in the group, you probably have more developed and fulfilling friendships with everyone.
2You Have The Fun Apartment
It's easier for you to be the meeting point for drinks, dinners, and even sleepovers. It means less trekking around and it's fun being able to be the go-to. Enjoy having the world come to you.
3You Get All The Gossip
I don't think these needs any explanation. Your hair gets massive because it's full of secrets. Sure, you spend a lot of time propping your friends up through difficult relationship times, but you know everything.
4You Know You're Not Settling
Sometimes seeing your friends in bad relationships makes you relieved that you decided to stay single. "There are some people, many of them women, who do have a sense that they should be single," psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. If that describes you, embrace it. "We live in a beautiful time where men and women have the luxury of choice, and staying single is no longer considered abnormal." You can get comfort in that.
5No Awkward Dividing Your Time
It can be hard when you're spending time your friends and your partner doesn't know them very well — you spend your time trying to make sure they're OK. But when you fly solo you can just worry about you and what you want to do. And you're never missing out on bonding with your friends because your partner has something going on.
6You Leave — And Arrive — When You Want To
Your social calendar is all yours. You don't need to stay the extra three hours because your partner is wasted or arrive 30 minutes late because they can't decide what to wear. You can make the entrance you want.
7You Have The Best Stories
Your friend and her partner are droning on about a broken dishwasher, but you just had the world's best one-night stand. When you're the only single friend, all of your friends want to live vicariously through you.
8You Can Watch And Learn
It's really easy to avoid relationship mistakes in your own life — and see good examples of what you want your relationship to be — when all of your friends are paired up. You have examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
9... So You Also Have The Best Advice
Despite being single, you become some kind of weird relationship guru. People come to you for advice like you're the relationship whisperer or something.
10You Have Your Pick Of Eligible People You Meet
If you go to a friend's party, all of the potential partners are up for grabs— and there's no feeling awkward about you and your friend checking out the same person.
11NO DOUBLE DATES
Sometimes they're fun, but if you don't like the other couple they are the absolute worst. Double dates, couples brunches — you get to miss all that forced-fun nonsense and stick the socializing that's actually fun.
Look, it can be hard when you feel like you're always a third wheel— or fifth wheel or seventh wheel. And there's no denying that. But there are times when being the only single friend friend can be the best feeling in the world— and the biggest relief. So enjoy it.