I’m single. I’ve been single for a while. I’ve been single for so long I can barely remember not being single. Sure, I get lonely sometimes but for the most part I’m fine with it. Being on your own isn’t all that bad. That is until you’re trapped at a family dinner with nowhere to run and bombarded by those repetitive old questions. Here are the top seven things every family member (or friend) needs to understand before those innocent questions turn into an avalanche of awkward.
7. Being Single Doesn’t Mean I Want to Date Your Friend’s Kids: Let’s get this one out of the way first because it happens over and over again. I know you’re trying to help, and I’m sure Sheila from the office’s son is a great guy, but really it’s fine. I’ll manage on my own. There are few things more awkward than a play-date set up by the parents. And if I think Sheila’s son, a single doctor who saves kittens and waxes poetic about the history of science fiction, is a good fit for me, I’ll ask you about him myself. (Note: If this guy does really exist out there, my contact information is on the contributors page.)
6. I’m Not Hiding a Relationship From You: Sometimes family just refuse to believe the truth. When I say, “no, I’m not seeing anyone right now,” I mean it. Instead of listening, you “wink wink, nudge nudge” and eye me as if I have some torrid secret. I don’t and this isn’t high school. I might not bring him home but I’m not going to lie about it.
5. “Well, You’re Pretty/Smart/Funny/etc. It Should be Easy for You to Find Someone”: Depending on the day, this comment can cut like a knife. It should be easy, but it’s not. When you’ve gotten yourself into an “I’ll be alone forever” head space, comments like this can build on the negativity bubbling around your brain. You’re right; I should be able to find someone. Why haven’t I? What’s wrong with me? But thank you for the compliment (I think.) Along with this comes…
4. “Don’t Worry, You’ll Find Someone”: But I wasn’t worried. Should I be worried? The tone in your voice tells me you are really worried.
3. I Have Friends Who (shock!) I Am Not Dating: It seems like every time I bring up a friend in conversation, the next words out of my mother’s mouth are “Is he single?” He might be. He might not be. He might not like girls, or want a relationship, or maybe I’m not interested. But maybe, just maybe, we’re happy being friends. People can have platonic relationships. I’m not dating everyone I spend my time with. Speaking of which…
2. No Mom, I’m Not a Lesbian: The amount of times I’ve heard, “You know it would be fine if you were,” at a family dinner is enough to make anyone scream. But being gay/straight/bi/pan or whatever isn’t the issue. My being single has nothing to do with my sexual identity (see #6.)
1. Being Single Doesn’t Mean I’m Unhappy: Pure. Simple. No explanation required. If you take away one thing from this list, let it be this.