It always starts the same.
My roommates and I are sitting around the dinner table, catching up on our days. The topic shifts to the weekend and each of them hum off their Friday night date plans – each more adorable than the next.
I try to contain it. Think about holding back, but then like clockwork, I word vomit:
“Yeah, Dan and I will probably stay in and lay low. Cook dinner, drink wine, snuggle up with a good movie. You know. Typical ‘couple stuff’.”
And then crickets.
I don’t have a boyfriend named Dan, or a boyfriend at all. But apparently I do have an uncontrollable need to chime in with a snarky, self-deprecating, eff-my-life-I’m-single remark.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m the queen of self-deprecating humor like her highness Amy Schumer herself. I once walked by a drunk guy on the street and he pointed at me and yelled, “You look like that, that girl, that blonde funny girl… Amy Schumer!” Finally nailed down my celeb doppelgänger.
But self-deprecating comments as an act of comparison to someone who’s literally sitting right across from you, that, my friends, has to stop.
My mom always told me that a good friend is someone who can celebrate with you, even when they’re not happy, and on the flipside, feel your hurt, even if they’re full of joy. A good friend knows how to remove their personal circumstances from a situation in order to help you figure out yours.
I like to think of myself as a good friend. I’ve been known to buy candy corn socks for my roommates on a whim and show up with an extra iced coffee, just because. But the second I feel like the odd man out, or see all my friends with something that I wish I had, when the subject comes up, I kind of suck.
I’ve been single for a long time, and for the most part, I’ve worn my singledom proudly. “Ridin’ Solo” is my jam and I kind of love the freedom of not factoring a significant other into my plans. But as of recently my life seemed to turn into that one meme about everyone being in love “and I’m just over here [insert low-quality photo from 2007 of girl chugging giant bottle of red wine]” as much as I hate to use a meme to illustrate the current state of my relationship status – or lack thereof.
My coping mechanism has been to make sarcastic “fake boyfriend” remarks anytime someone brings up their actual boyfriend, or make sure to emphasize the “if” in “if I ever meet someone.”
I’ve realized, it’s not cute. Or funny. And all my remarks really do is make the other person with a real boyfriend or blossoming love life just feel awkward and ends the conversation.
So here’s my challenge for myself, and all my fellow self-deprecating divas. Let’s trade in the fake boyfriends and instead, try out these real-life tips.
Or at least, act like it. Ask questions about your friend’s relationship, the restaurant they’re going to dinner at later, what it is they like about the person they’re dating. Give them their time to gush. Just because you’re cynical and haven’t felt a spark in 5 years (am I projecting? Sorry) doesn’t mean no one else has.
Put Yourself In Their Situation
Yeah, it sucks when your friends want to leave the party early because they have a real-life body, not just a body pillow to snuggle. But can you blame them? They’ll get a solid 8 hours of sleep and wake up without a hangover. [choir of angels sings] Swallow your pride and leave the party when they do, or swallow a few shots of tequila and keep the party going. You’re your own person – do what you want without making your friends feel bad for doing what they want.
Schedule Some Friends Only Time
A lot of the issue can stem from the fact that you don’t get to see your friend as much now that they’re splitting time between you and their significant other and you just flat out miss them. Be proactive and ask to schedule some “friends only” time to make sure you get your friend fix when you need it.
Learn To Love The Hell Out Of Yourself
Time to get deep.
If we’re being honest, sarcastic remarks, self-deprecating humor and the like are often used as defense mechanisms when we don’t truly and fully love ourselves. Or at least, love ourselves most days (nobody’s perfect – or Gisele). Now this is a whole other beast to tackle, but lucky for you, we’ve already covered it here.
Learn To Be Happy For Them
You might have to force it at first, but when you consciously make an effort to let the cynicism melt away and just be overjoyed for your friends, you’ll forget why you were even a cynic in the first place. You love your friends, you want them to be happy, why would you try and take away from that?
And fingers-crossed that karma is not just a bitch but also a fairy god mother and she’ll grant you a wish or two one day.