By Perri O. Blumberg, REDBOOK
REDBOOK sat down with Shallon Lester, star of MTV reality show Downtown Girls and author of Exes and Ohs: A Downtown Girl's (Mostly Awkward) Tales of Love, Lust, Revenge, and a Little Facebook Stalking to find out the biggest faux-pas phrases to drop around single ladies. Lester explains that being the only single friend left in your group is like wearing a pair of 5-inch Jimmy Choos-it's very fun and very glamorous...for a very short period of time. Then suddenly you can't stop complaining, and all you want to do is take off that sexy dress and put on your pajamas. Unwanted singlehood is often made worse by married friends who unintentionally pour salt on unwed wounds. After six sizzling, soul-sucking years on the Manhattan dating scene, Lester gives married women the five things single girls never want to hear, and two phrases that just might make their day.
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What NOT to Say:
1. "What ever happened to your ex, so-and-so? He was so great!"
C'mon, ladies! Either your single friend got dumped, and chances are she doesn't want a nagging reminder, or she broke it off with him, in which case you've now got her wondering if she's made a catastrophic decision and will die alone underneath a pile of empty Lean Cuisine trays. Regret is the natural enemy of your unmarried friends, so don't push her headfirst into the abyss of "What if?"
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2. "You don't have to get married, you know. Plenty of women don't!"
Ah, true. Plenty of women around the world also lack indoor plumbing...shall I try that, too? Yes, it's true, plenty of women don't get married. But if your single friend is lusting for a Mrs., and you tell her she's fine as a Miss, all she'll hear is: "Well, odds are that you won't get your happy ending anyway!"
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3. "He didn't open the car door??" (or a similar gripe about your single friend's new guy)
Nothing's worse than having a rosy romance bubble burst by a naysaying BFF. If someone picked apart your courtship with your husband, it would not be the stuff of legends, either. Unless he's a serial killer or an unemployed mime, cut your singleton some slack, and try to be supportive of her.
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4. "Couples party!"
When you're not in a relationship, the entire planet seems to be designed with married folks in mind, so throwing a couples-only event or dinner party can make your hubbyless friend feel even more isolated. Instead of excluding her, ask the men to invite unattached guy friends, or at the very least, let her bring other single friends.
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5. "You're the fun, single friend! Go ahead and tell everyone at the table about your crazy adventures and what it's like to juggle five men!"
Sometimes a single girl may feel terrified that her married friends won't like her anymore if she arrives to brunch without a cache of outrageous dating adventures. Like that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie says over dinner to a married couple: "Hampton house guests are always required to sing for their supper. Brokers give investment advice. Architects; design advice. Single people give married friends tidbits from their sexual escapades." So, always be sure to let your single friend know that your friendship isn't just based on living vicariously through her. Sometimes, even single girls want to talk about things like those delicious burger recipes, too!
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What Every Singleton Needs to Hear:
1. "We will always be friends-always!"
Navigating life without a man is one thing. But being without your girlfriends is excruciating. It's easy for a single girl to worry that her BFFs will fade from the radars as their schedules fill up with weddings and pregnancies. This simple sentiment lets your single gals know you'll always be there for them, and your marital status doesn't change that.
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2. "Nothing is ever perfect."
When it comes to love, there's the way you think it should happen, and then there's the way it actually happens. Reminding your single friend that no man/marriage/first date is flawless (and neither is she or you!) puts things in perspective. If she's truly looking for "the One," help her let go of the fairy-tale fantasy and bring her expectations back down to Earth…or just tell her to watch some Bachelorette reruns and to grab a tub of ice cream.
So, tell us, what are your tips and tricks for helping out your single friends? What do you say to make them feel better or what was that one thing you vow never to say again?
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.