Sometimes Your Single Friends Are Right About Your Dating Life
Listening to your single friends may not always be a bad idea.
Last week, I came across a Derrick Jaxn video of a woman ranting to her viewers not to trust a single woman who gives them relationship advice. Even though I’m about to get married, this rubbed me the wrong way.
The woman seemed like she’d recently been stung by some advice from her unattached friends. Her portion of the video came off less like a well-thought-out piece of advice and more like a rebuttal that she didn’t deliver in person. She ranted that single women can’t give good advice because they supposedly don’t know how to “keep a man.” It seemed that in this woman’s mind, single women are–whether intentionally or unintentionally–the biggest threat to any happy, stable relationship.
Conventional wisdom will tell us that someone who is not currently in love cannot give us sound romantic advice. It’s assumed that they will steer us wrong because they don’t have a steady suitor at present. And, culturally speaking, we’re almost conditioned not to trust any single woman around our partners for fear she might try to snatch them away. But here’s the problem with that: At one point or another, most of us have been in love; most of us have been in relationships. The knowledge we’ve gained from those experiences does not go away once we split up with someone. Knowledge of relationships and how they work isn’t automatically negated the moment the latest one ends. Just because someone is not boo’d up at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know how to maintain a relationship because love affairs end for all kinds of reasons.
Simply viewing a friend as single, and therefore unqualified, completely disregards their personal experiences in love. It’s possible that a woman might be single because she is not interested in settling for anyone that will have her just to say that she has someone. She could be on a dating sabbatical because the dating game gets exhausting. Or, perhaps, she’s taking a moment to just focus on herself. Better yet, some women would rather be single than stuck in a dead-end relationship or constantly chasing after any piece of a relationship. Who would want to be Issa or Molly, when you can be Kelli? No shade.
There are any number of reasons that someone might be single. An inability to keep a lover isn’t the only one. Worse yet, the idea that you shouldn’t listen to your single girlfriends implies that their views are invalid until they are in a relationship.
We’ve all been or will be the single friend, too. During your single days, there’s an excellent chance that you had at least one friend who was in a relationship. When that friend comes crying to you about their partner, you (even in your singleness) would most likely try to give them the best advice you can because you want to see your friend happy. You want to do all you can to set them up for success. So, when you offer your thoughts on their given situation, wouldn’t you be trying to give them the best advice possible? To do that, you’d be pulling from your own history of relationships. Do those experiences and good intentions count for nothing just because you might not be with anyone at the moment?
Besides, sometimes, the best relationship advice comes from a completely objective source that is keeping your best interest as an individual in mind without the priority of a relationship influencing their reasoning. Often, love will cloud your mind, but single people don’t have to deal with all those emotions fogging up their judgment.
Anyone who listens to The Read can observe this on a near-weekly basis. During almost every episode, some lovelorn reader writes in, begging for the hosts’ advice in a terrible, soap opera-adjacent situation. To the best of my knowledge, both Kid Fury and Crissle are single, but their relationship status has never stopped their fans from writing in. Why? Because Kid Fury and Crissle can still pick out unacceptable behavior in a relationship. You don’t need to be in love to know what it does and does not look like. You don’t need to be in love to know that a friend should leave a bad relationship.
None of this is meant to discount the fact that there are certainly some single women who can’t handle other people being happy and in love. They’re the same women who will prey on a friend’s relationship, hoping that things fall apart because they’re more comfortable when their friends are unattached. These women are not hard to spot. No one should ask them for advice becuase they are incapable of being happy for other, so they’re wisdom (such at it is) may not be helpful.
On the flip side, I would also suggest that you not listen too closely to your friends that swing from one relationship to another because they may not have a basis for sound advice. They don’t know how to be alone, so preserving a relationship would always be their main objective–even if it’s bad.
Truth be told, a lot of the fault in getting bad advice from a single friend might fall on the person asking for input. Before discounting a friend’s advice based soley on their relationship status, consider the source. If you’re more thoughtful when seeking wise council, and look to someone’s character, you can’t go wrong–even if you don’t like the answer.