Contrary to what your grandma and a lot of women's magazines would have you believe: being single is no longer any kind of disaster. Time has moved on from the days were partnership and marriage were necessary to ensure the survival of your farm. It's the future now, and in the future being single can actually be pretty wonderful. Being single can lead you to self-discovery, independence and real, sustainable joy. Not that the world will let you off the hook that easily. Whether it's a billboard ad for a new dating app or a thinly-veiled dig from a family member, there are no shortage of reminders that we're all expected to pair up as soon as we can. Women especially can expect regular haranguing and pitying interrogation about why exactly they aren't seeing anyone right now. And we're all tired of it. So here's a list of shit we could do without hearing.
1. "How are you still single?"
I'm not sure what people expect us to say in response to this one. Do they want a catalogue of all our secret flaws? "Why am I single? It could be because I scream on the toilet and steal everything that isn't nailed down. But also maybe I'm just too busy at work!!" Or MAYBE I'm single because that's a totally normal and acceptable state of being? And - honestly - sometimes PREFERABLE. Have you ever been single? You can poop with the door open, eat burritos as grossly as you want, AND you never have to share a bed with someone who takes all the blankets in their sleep. ALL THE BLANKETS ARE YOURS FOREVER WHEN YOU'RE SINGLE!
2. "Don't worry, you'll meet someone!"
We weren't worrying before, but this kind of talk makes us a little nervous. We're single, we're not waiting on a life-saving organ transplant. We're not out here clinging to hope, desperate for every morsel of romantic attention, waiting to be rescued from our lives. We're chilling. We joined a pottery class. We're having a margarita. There's a stew in the slow cooker for later. WE'RE FINE.
3. "Don't you get lonely?"
Don't you get a weird rash on your boob in summer? Anyone who's a person on Earth gets both, but neither are really appropriate small talk fodder. Single people aren't shunned from polite society anymore. Time has moved on. We're even allowed in bars and restaurants now! If you can't imagine living a good and full life without a romantic partner, that's something for you to work on, but stop treating us like we're test subjects in an experiment about the misery of the human existence just because we're going things alone for the moment.
4. "Maybe you're too picky."
And maybe you're a total bitch, Linda. We've all got stuff going on. Listen, unless our checklist for a partner is totally absurd and we won't settle for anyone who isn't a multilingual billionaire astronaut who never skips out on foreplay - don't tell us we should be setting our sights lower than something and someone truly great. It's unhelpful and it's also rude. Having a clear idea of the kind of partner we want isn't a weakness, it just means we're not willing to join forces with just anyone. We don't need your analysis or your critique or your suggestions of how to compromise our needs or desires to snag a partner. You might be happy to roll with the guy who only shows up for you 60% of the time and thinks that quoting Rick and Morty makes for thrilling dinner conversation, but that doesn't work for us. I'm enjoying a hearty stew, so lay off.
5. "Have you tried [insert dating app]?"
Yep, and we definitely don't need your coaching. Trust us when we say we've swiped, Bumbled, Tindered and Badoozled ourselves into exhaustion. We're well aware of what our options are, so if we're still single, it's almost certainly not for a lack of trying. Aside from the constant fear of matching with an actual serial killer, using dating apps can take a lot out of you emotionally. Getting ghosted when you thought you were just starting to click, dealing with gross messages, juggling a bunch of performatively casual conversations at once in an effort to find something real? It's exhausting stuff. People who are happily coupled up love to position themselves as the experts on dating and love and true happiness, but it's not necessary. The rest of us are doing fine as we are, and if we aren't: we'll let you know we need help.
6. "Oh no- what happened with [insert random exes name here]?"
I killed him. Thanks for asking. Weren't you wondering what was in this stew? No, but seriously, mind your damn business. If we're no longer together, you can bet it's not something I'm dying to discuss. Personally, I don't know anyone on Earth who wants to talk about their ex - aside from maybe in therapy. So unless we're paying you to listen: cool your jets. Relationships end for a number of reasons: most simply, some arbitrary and boring failure in connection. But occasionally it's something darker and even more difficult to talk about. Try asking us about what's going well in our lives instead: our hobbies, our work, our passion projects. Anything but our old relationships.
7. "It always happens when you least expect it."
Just like a UTI. Cool. I'll look forward to it. Until then I'll continue to eat my cereal and watch my shows and go about my usual business. Platitudes are of very little use here, and makes you seem a little smug if we're being totally honest.
8. "I'm so jealous! Being single must be so much fun!"
People in long-term relationships love to imagine that single people are having fantastic sex around the clock and laughing uproariously over martinis. Which yes, obviously we are. But we're too tired from the all night sex and drug parties to discuss it right now.