Now that I'm married, it's easy to forget that I once thought singleness would be my status in life….forever. And I was ok with that! But it seemed that other people were not. In an effort to comfort me for what they saw lacking (a guy) they came up with some pretty amazing comments:
“You’ll find someone else.”
"Just wait. Eventually guys will realize what they're missing and be lining up."
"You're probably not going to get asked out a lot, and that's ok. You're just so unique! You want someone who gets that."
“There are plenty of other people out there.”
“I never liked them for you anyway.”
Thanks friends. Those are some real Hallmark Greeting Cards right there.
We've all heard variations of those statements. And to be honest, I'm guilty of having said a few of them to friends myself. It was with the best of intentions! But no more. Why?
1. These statements are not helpful AT ALL.
Take for instance that last one, "I never liked them for you anyway." Really? As my friend, you believed the relationship was doomed to fail from the beginning, and yet you didn't care enough to step in and say something? You weren't willing to risk momentary anger in the hopes of helping me avoid heartbreak, disappointment, and possibly the biggest mistake of my life?
None of those statements offer anything constructive. It may be that our friend keeps going for the wrong type of person, or that there are some issues in them that need to be worked on. Our silence doesn't help them grow or help them find healthy, and potentially more successful relationships. It merely keeps them in the same vicious cycle.
2. These statements emphasize being single as the problem.
All my single ladies (and men): being single is not a problem.
As I've said in an earlier post, your relationship status does not define you. But statements that continually try to point us to the next relationship, that try to emphasize that it's just about finding the 'right' person, make us feel as though something is 'wrong' or 'missing' until we're once again with someone. It drives people into relationships who may need to be single for a period of time. It leaves those who are single feeling as though their life is lacking, that they're simply biding their time until they can finally start living.
My dearest friends are the ones who care enough about me to ask questions, to brave the hard conversations in the hope of leaving us both the better for it and who don't shy away from the sensitive or uncomfortable.
The next time you're with your single friends and talking about relationships, try asking helpful questions rather than throwing meaningless fluff:
Why do you think that didn't work out?
I noticed you're going on first dates but not second dates. Are you going out with people that repeatedly are nothing like what you'd be interested in long-term?
What are some of the core attributes that are important to you?
What drives your dating decisions?
Why do you want to be in a relationship?
If you want to be in a relationship, why are you not putting yourself in situations where you could actually meet people and get asked out?
What other unhelpful statements have people said to you? What are questions we could ask instead?