The “no guys allowed” rule no longer applies in your mid-20s, our columnist writes.

Somewhere between my wild university days and entering the workforce, Friday nights out with the girls changed. The tequila shots have been traded in for glasses of wine and the pool of those of us who are single and willing to head out for a night of fun and flirting has shrunk significantly.

The rule of “no guys allowed” no longer applies. Now, the boyfriends don’t just meet up with us at the end of the evening; they are there the whole time.

Just as I was getting used to this arrangement, a new trend seems to have appeared: weddings.

This is, I realized, the mid-20s dating scene. Collectively, the dating lives of those of us in our mid-20s must look like a smorgasbord of relationship situations — some planning weddings, others not ready to take that step, and many caught somewhere in between.

Tina, 26, says she joined a dating website when she realized most of her close friends were in committed relationships. “I started to notice how many more couples were around me in social situations and decided I needed to do something about it.”

Being one of the few remaining singletons in a group of close friends has its pressures, but so too does being one of the first to get married.

Julie, 26, says she tries to keep the balance between including her fiancé, Mike, and having time with just her girlfriends. “When I was single I could do things at a moment’s notice. But now, after a long work week, Mike and I have gotten into the routine of spending time together. Our lives are much more planned that way.”

So as the wedding invitations continue to trickle in and those of us dating in our mid-20s continue to try to strike the right balance between friends and partners, I’ve realized the girl’s nights peppered with tequila shots may make one last appearance … at the bachelorette parties.

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