In a crowded, dusty campsite overlooking the Red Sea, behind a juice-bottling plant while drinking Israeli tea, at the donations dock of an inner-city mission, on a car ride through Manhattan traffic, by a crackling campfire, during a rushed 20-minute lunch break at the flat I share with three others, in a Sheetz parking lot and amidst a massive 2 a.m. factory production of Sherri’s Berries… these are just a few of the places this year where I’ve been given the gift of hearing single people speak of what they want out of life. Do you know what? The many beautiful, gifted, world-changing men and women I listened to have all, at the end of the day, wanted the same things!
So, in case anyone out there wants fresh ideas of how to sprinkle love over their single friends during this fast-paced rodeo we call life, here are a few ways to start.
Share your wisdom and insight. This year, I heard so many of my friends say, “I just wish someone could help me figure this out.” I’ve had that thought many times myself! The reality for a free-ranger is that it is no one’s job to help them make life decisions. Their ethical and personal decisions effect primarily themselves. This is both freeing and terrifying! Although collaborative decision-making is full of challenges, so is solitary decision-making. You can love your single friends by taking the time to involve yourself in their decision-making process, especially when it regards a topic with which you’ve had experience. Don’t shy away from pointing out dangers you see in a friend’s path.
Touch them. All human beings need healthy physical touch, even if it is not their primary love language. Especially for people who live alone and don’t have pets, healthy physical touch may be hard to come by. Ask your friend if they want a hug. Put your arm around them. Even if you’re not in a place to personally offer the gift of touch, you can plop your squishy kiddo in their lap, or ask them to pet-sit your dog.
Pray for them in person. I hear this desire over and over. Everyone wants to know they are not fighting alone. Especially if you are an elder, your voice of authority is so powerful in speaking a prayer over your younger friends. It’s also powerful to speak a prayer over your friend through a voice message, a text or a card.
Encourage your friends in their calling. Speak life into the vison that your single friends have. Don’t relent in your support of their talents and dreams. People who battle alone crave other voices to remind them that their goals are accessible and that their vision is not crazy!
Help them build a family. Please, I beg of you, please know this does not mean setting your single friends up with Great-Aunt Thelhaminda. No matter how great she is. You can love your single friends by noting that their version of family may look different than your version of family. Take time to understand what family means to them. If family means close friends, encourage them to prioritize time to build the relationships they value. If family means an empowering work team, don’t let them get away with floundering in an unhealthy work environment. If family means getting involved in a church, offer your insight into what opportunities fit the goals of your friend.
Cheer for and admire them. Let your friends know they are seen and celebrated. Admire their wins. Cheer for their milestones. Compliment them. Laugh with them. Even if you can’t talk, send a smile or a wave across the room.
What have you learned about loving your single friends? Leave a comment below!
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