Thursday, May 13, 2010

What NOT to say to a single adult

I was going to title this post "All The Single Ladies" (*cue Beyonce's swagger*), but I have no idea if guys read this blog and I don't want them to feel left out.

I've been having conversations with people about being single and the things they say are starting to irk me a bit. So I thought...what if I made a Top 10 list of what NOT to say to single people? I know dating or married people mean well, I really do. But they might forget what it's like to be single. And if I can be any service to help both parties from feeling weirded-out, I'm here to help. So without further ado...


10) “I just don’t understand how someone as great as you isn’t married yet.” There is absolutely no way to receive this comment without feeling uncomfortable. As a single person, you KNOW it's meant to be a compliment...but how the heck do you respond? "Um, thank you" would sound awkward. "I don't understand either" would sound cocky. And saying "Well, I guess that's up to God" just sounds lame all around. How about just avoid this comment and instead tell your single friend how amazingly wonderful she is. No mention of a man needs to enter that comment. She is fabulous regardless of whether or not she's married.

9) "Are you putting yourself out there? Are you meeting people?" Don't worry...if your single friend wants to be married, rest assured he/she is doing that. We know the importance of meeting people. This question might make single adults feel like they are incompetent of finding someone and they need to be reminded.

8) "Oh, you should meet my friend ________________." We all love playing match-maker. I'll admit, I get a thrill if I set up two friends. When we know awesome people, we want to set them up with other awesome people, right? And then we secretly feel giddy if things work out. ("I brought them together!") But please don't set up your single friends with other single friends just because they're single. Does that make sense? Just because a guy friend and a girl friend of yours are both single, it doesn't mean they're compatible. They might have nothing in common, except that they're both single. If you really do want to play matchmaker, make sure you think about each individual and think if they would really be a good match.

7) "Gosh, this (holiday) season must be hard for you. I mean there's Christmas with mistletoe everywhere. And then there's New Years Eve with couples kissing all over the place. And then Valentine's Day after that! Why are these holidays so close together? *chuckle*" Yes, this has been said to me at a party. But I know you all are too nice to say anything like this to your single friends. I think this married person was a bit socially awkward. And a bit drunk.

6) Talking about how crazy life is and how sometimes you wish you could be single again. This is an interesting one. I've heard both sides - from single adults and married adults. Single people wish they were married and married people get so caught up in the business of life, husband, and kids that they long for their days as a single. It's a "grass is greener" contentment issue. I think both singles and marrieds should be sensitive with each other when saying things like this.

5) "Have you tried internet dating?" Yes we have.
4) "Maybe you're ready. But maybe it's HIM (your future husband) who's not ready." Again, I know people mean well - they don't want their single friends to feel it's them. Maybe God just needs more time to work in the heart and life of their future spouse before He brings the two together? But sometimes people date whether or not they've worked through all their personal issues. And also, we're not God. Only He knows what's going on.

3) "This weekend my husband and I went to...oh wait. Is it ok if I talk about this?" Absolutely. Single people want to hear about your lives just your married friends do. Please don't feel you can't talk about the fun you have with your spouse or your kids. If your single friend is mature, they can handle it. And since your spouse and kids are part of your life, we want to hear about them. I had a friend who felt she couldn't tell me anything about her and her husband's fun times because she thought it'd make me feel bad. Don't worry! Single people have fun, too. And we'll share our stories with you. 

2) “If you stop looking for love you’ll find it.” Some people find love when they're looking for it. Some people find love when they're not looking for it. There's nothing wrong with looking.

1) "Lots of people didn't get married. Like Mother Teresa or Paul from the bible." Ack, this is a bad one. Not only are you making your friend sad because they think you're implying they will never get married, but you are comparing them with SUPER uber-spiritual peeps that they will never be like. 

So, there's my Top 10 list. Married peeps, please know I am not trying to rag on you. I have many married friends and love them dearly.

If you've ever said any of the above, I know it's because you love your friend and want to make them feel better. If you want some ideas on how to encourage your single friends, here are some good things to say instead of the Top 10 above:

* You are amazing.
* I love how you find fun wherever you go.
* I always look forward to hanging out with you.
* I love who God has made you to be.
* If this is a desire of your heart, let's pray about this right now. (and then pray with them!)

Ok, now it's time for comments! Single peeps, are there any I should add to the Top 10 list? Either ones you've heard from others or ones people have said to you? Married peeps, were any of these said to you when you were single? Or have you said any of the Top 10 to your single friends? Was this helpful for what not to say to single friends?

P.S. And hey, feel free to forward this to your single or married friends. I'm here to help.


susannah said...

this is an awesome post. i always love how people spiritualize singleness- regardless of circumstances.

a lot of these same genre comments have been made to my friends who are also trying to get preggers and can't. funny how people just can't keep their mouths shut.

how about the one where people tell a long story about their single friend who FINALLY got married after years and years & stumbled upon the guy of her dreams who she never would've met if it wasn't for those years of no lovin'? (i used to get that one too- as well as many in your list)

fun times.
i think you=awesome.

Jody said...

I am laughing so hard right now. Remember when I tried to set you up with Isaac even though he SORT OF had a girlfriend?

I think Michael Buble says it best in "I Just Haven't Met You Yet".

New Branch said...

how about the 'i had a friend who after being single realized maybe God was calling them to be celibate.'

-nice try overspiritualizing lame comment


'i had a friend' (cause they want to relate to you so they talk about their friends) i had a friend who took a year off to be with Jesus and then they found their spouse.

-as in God rewards super spiritual sacrifices. i don't think it's about our works...cause i didn't do anything to deserve my husband. oh sorry sarah, can i talk about my husband? hahah kidding!! see you soon!

Jody said...

Can I just say... I LOVE BEING SINGLE while at the same time I LOVE DATING? There, I said it.

susannah said...

haha good one amy. i forgot about the dating Jesus comments!!!!

Rachel said...

A friend sent this link to me... Fantastic post. My newest favorite has been now that I've started a new job at a church, everyone's first reaction is: "Now you have a whole new pool of guys to choose from!"

Smarshie said...

Hi Rachel, welcome! And thanks for your comment. I work at a church, too, and everyone said that to me when I started. Isn't it so silly? =)

WackyMamma said...

Sarah, you are amazing! This post was PERFECT!!! I smile EVERYTIME I visit your blog!

It did remind me of my 24 years of singleness. :) Remember my "boy disease" that I had? Wooh! Now I see that God was protecting me and had His Best Interest in mind for me! :) During my season of singleness, there were so many blinddates, peer pressure, awkward comments... You hit them all on the head!

Thanks for being so real, and adding humor to a very important subject. :)

A good missionary friend (who is married) once told me-- "It only takes one, Tira." So true! I loved that!

Praying God's best for ya'!

Smarshie said...

Haha, Tira! I remember in college you used to joke that you were going to play Scrabble (or was it charades?) on your honeymoon night. I'm so glad that wasn't the case. =)

Thanks for your sweet comments. You're right, I thought this would be a good topic to blog about and add some humor into it all as well.