Monday, February 3, 2014

Please Stop Saying This to Single People

We seem to live in a society that feels it appropriate to ask intimate questions of people we barely know. I'm not talking about your actual friends because they mean well and they know you, but there seems to be an epidemic of casual acquaintances making statements or posing questions that hurt, and seem more nosy than out of concern. If we're not close, don't ask. If you really want to know, start bringing me donuts and we'll definitely get closer, and then you can ask.

I blame Facebook. Not really, this has been an issue long before Facebook but can we all agree that Facebook does give us a sense of deserving to know more about our "friends" than we actually do? Great. Now that we've agreed with me, let's talk about this not so pressing issue on this blog that no one reads.

(and a quick reminder - if a good friend say these things, it's fine, NOT a casual acquaintance!)

Things to stop saying to single people

"I just don't know why you're not married". This is a tricky one because it's posed as a compliment. You think I'm great therefore, why hasn't someone snatched me up, right? But I've probably only shown you my charming side or my super hilarious side. Real talk - I watch a lot of TV and eat a lot of ice cream. Attractive and appealing, right? Other side of the coin would like to point out that there are A LOT of lame people who get married. A. LOT. So by saying this you make it seem like marriage is some exclusive club just for the coolest, prettiest, funniest, smartest, and all around "est" people. This one is definitely allowable if coming from a good friend because they know your best and they know your worst. Oh, and I know why I'm not married - I haven't met him yet. The end.

"You need to love yourself first and then you can love someone else". Again - are you saying that all married people have this figured out? All pre-married people completely and totally accepted themselves as is (as are?) and then *poof!* Mr Right landed in their lap? I call shenanigans. Yes, loving and accepting yourself is far more attractive to those doing the pursuing but it's not a guarantee. If this were the case, all marriage self help books would contain just this super useful information. Also, to someone who is struggling with happiness, this is far more detrimental than helpful. The battle to love yourself is a daily struggle for many people so to say this to someone looking for love, it feels like an unreachable goal just gets further and further away every time you think a negative thought.

"It happened when I stopped looking". Cool. That's the story you remember but I've had many, many, many roommates get married and none of them would say this. First of all, as a girl the concept of looking is different than it is for guys. We are not the pursuers so your advice to basically give up is confusing because I WASN'T DOING ANYTHING ANYWAY. Secondly, back to my comment about my roommates. Something I've noticed about married people is that some of them tend to romanticize their single life. "You're so lucky! Dating is so fun!" No it's not, and I guarantee that you hated it when you were single too. You just remember life differently now. It happens in almost all aspects of life. Ever heard of "the good 'ol days"? Of course you have, the future is a mystery, the present is a mess, so let's change our memories of the past so that we can put it on a pedestal and have some sliver of happiness to cling to because if not, we have a mess and a mystery to focus on.

"Have you tried online dating?". Stop. This directly contradicts the one we just hashed out. Stop looking but maybe look online. What? Also, if you know me well, you know online is a scary place for me. So if you don't know me well, you see this as a viable option. Since you don't know me well, please don't ask this.

"If you aren't happy single, you'll never be happy in a relationship". Again, married people are not the ones who figured out the key to happiness. Happiness is not only afforded to a marriage certificate! Some married people are even *gasp!* unhappy! And happiness is not a permanent state of being - it's something to ebb and flow throughout our time on Earth. All these questions do is to make it seem like the only source for happiness is to be married. Granted, it's a club I wouldn't mind joining but by framing it as the all encompassing reason to live and without it there's no way to be happy, you're only making us feel worse.

Here's what this all comes down to - we should probably stop giving unsolicited advice to people we don't really know. If any of my good girlfriends said any of the above mentioned phrases it would be welcomed and we could have a real life discussion about my real life. My walls are down and I know they are coming from a place of genuine love and concern for me. 

Added bonus -
Stop asking married people -
"When are you going to have a baby?"
"Have you considered adoption? There are lots of babies that need love"
"When are you having your next?"

Can we all agree that anyone else's fertility and family planning are NO one else's business?!? At least being single I'm not having to field these questions!


Kati said...

I'm so happy you blogged! Great post. I think I especially feel for the folks who are married and get all those questions, having watched so many struggle with infertility. Can't we talk about the weather or sports or something, rather than pry into the intimate details of people's lives that we don't know that well? I always hear stories of it happening at the grocery store, often by strangers. Crazy.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I love this. I am proper high-fiving you right now. Only, not actually, because you know, computer screen and all, but. YES.
(Also so excited to see a blog post from you pop up in my feed. Yay! How are you?)

Kayla Smith said...


Jacob and Kimberly Palmer said...

Love this! I think the bottom line is that people need to mind their own business! There are plenty of interesting things to talk about without delving into personal, and sometimes painful, issues. I’m sorry you’ve been pestered.

Jesse&Amber said...

Ok, obviously it's been a while. But I really love this! And I agree that with facebook too many people think they can interfere with your life. I have people I have not seen in person in YEARS suggest that I should have a kid. Well, if you knew me you would know that right now I can only afford a 1 bedroom apartment and will someone throw me a baby shower that is strictly to cover the cost of insurance? and then another one for all the necessities that I can't currently buy? And get me a nanny for while I'm at school full time and working? Ugh. I know that it's a different world being married than it is being single but either way, people want you to live life under their terms.