Brides, don't lose your single friends

Story highlights

  • It's easy to fall into narcissistic spiral when you're engaged, but this can alienate friends
  • Remember that your single friends have lives that don't revolve around your wedding
  • It's common to drift from friends to make room for a new partner, but it doesn't have to happen
  • Relationships can evolve over time, so take the time to make it work

Take this quiz. You're having a catch-up dinner with a longtime friend. She is not in a relationship. The conversation revolves around:

A: Which centerpiece to choose for your wedding. There has never been a tougher ordeal in all your time on earth.

B. How fabulous it feels to never have to go on a blind date again. You're so relieved to have a Saturday night date for the rest of your life.

C. Telling her the latest news on the wedding planning front, then asking how her new job is going — and really listening to the answer.

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If you answered A, you are perilously close to the pitfall common to many engaged women — being at least temporarily so obsessed with every facet of the upcoming nuptials that you cannot imagine your nearest and dearest friends not being equally enraptured with seeing pictures of floral arrangements and hearing about your wedding cake tastings.

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If you answered B, your understandable self-absorption in this happy period of your life has given way to a brain fritz in the empathy department.

If you answered C, congratulations. You can share the exciting details of planning the biggest day of your life, yet not forget that your friend has her own life and problems that matter.

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A 2010 study by Oxford University found that people in consuming romantic relationships typically drop one or two other friends to make more time for their lover. This is often happenstance — reasons include divergent interests with an old friend as well as inevitable time constraints (i.e.: you can no longer commit to a leisurely weekly brunch). It is quite possible that you and your fiancé will form couples friendships that play a central role in your life.

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The single friends with whom you share a close emotional bond are the ones to work on maintaining; acquaintances might fall away. But this doesn't negate the role your single friends have played up to now, or the importance of tactfully transitioning into the roles you can play in each other's lives in the future. Here are some tips to get you started:

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Find Wedding Obsession Buddies

Stop sharing minute detail with single (and possibly married) friends who are tired of the status updates. Save the where-should-dislikable-Aunt-Sarah-sit messages for your fiancé, parents, and siblings... Those who are equally vested in each step of the journey.

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You are the captain of the Good Ship Wedding Day, but that doesn't mean you don't want your bridesmaids and other good buddies to be happy. Don't just assign tasks willy nilly; what is this person's interests and desires, and how large a commitment can she comfortably make toward planning the event of the year? Don't assume; ask!

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And treat your buddies exactly the way you wish you'd been treated!