Most people mean well. Most people just want their friends and loved ones to be happy. Most people believe that part of being happy means finding a life partner. Most people are wrong!
Sure there are lots of very happy couples out there, but there are also some very happy singles! Singles who get tired of being told that there is something wrong with them and that they will only truly be fulfilled when they partner up. ‘Singlism’ – the negative stereotyping of single people – is rife in our culture. So whether you mean well, whether you are trying to help, or whether you just don’t know what to say – here is what NOT to say to your single friends.
1. "You need to love yourself first"
We are all imperfect and we all struggle with a sense of inadequacy in some areas of our life at some time. Luckily, how wonderful someone else thinks we are is NOT based on how much we love ourselves. Think about it, do the people who care for you lose that love just because you are down on yourself about something?!
2. "You are too picky"
Just because your single friend might know what he/she is looking for and enjoy their life enough not to compromise it by inviting someone into it who doesn’t fit, does NOT mean he or she is too picky. Picking a partner is one of the most important decisions someone makes in life and divorce is costly in terms of time, money and emotions. So, please don’t criticise your single friend if he/she is picky! There are many people who are happier single than they would be in a bad relationship.
3. "Your clock is ticking"
You may not know if your single friend wants children, and if she does, it certainly doesn’t help her when you remind her that their fertile years are passing her by. Trust me, most single women who want kids are well aware of the passing of time and need your support, not your reminders.
4. "He’s/she’s out there somewhere"
Maybe. But how do you know? In fact you know no more than the single person themselves and such a generic platitude provides no help to anyone. Your single friend may also be perfectly happy being single and not particularly interested in meeting these mysterious people ‘out there’!
5. "You should…"
As much as platitudes are unhelpful, advice on what your single friend should and should not do is also ill advised. Single people get bombarded in the media with advice on how to be attractive, how to date and who to date. Very little of this information is any more that personal opinion, so don’t add yours to the pile! Unless your friend ASKS, keep your hot tips to yourself.
6. "Let me set you up with..."
Once again, unless your single friend asks, this is also a no-go zone. It is patronising to assume that your few single friends are made for each other. Realistically, if your single friend is dating he or she will be meeting dozens of single people. So, why would the singles you know be more suitable than the people your single friend is selecting for him or herself?
No matter what your intentions, all your single friends need from you is to treat them like everybody else. If they are going through a rough time, just be there for them through it is the best friendship you can offer. And if they seem happy and enjoying life, don’t doubt it! There are plenty of singles who live happily ever after too!