Because everyone likes being grilled about their dating lives
Let’s get one thing straight first: a lot of single people choose to be on their own. Being single can be amazing – who doesn’t love the sense of freedom that comes with being able to do whatever you want all the time? Or the excitement that comes before a date?
But of course, not everyone who is flying solo necessarily wants to be. Which is why we need to talk about the way couple-up friends speak to people who aren’t in a relationship.
Whether it comes as helpful advice or friendly concern, there are some things that single people just get fed up of hearing after a while. And while we get that you’re only trying to help (well, most of the time) sometimes we’d prefer it if you just left us to it.
So if you don’t want to come across as what Bridget Jones would call a ‘smug married’, here are some of the classic phrases that are best to avoid:
Still single then?
To which we like to reply: ‘No, no. I’m here with my imaginary boyfriend tonight. Here, meet Pablo.’
Please don’t ask us if we’ve ‘still’ single. Because it makes us sound like we’re failing to accomplish something, which is frankly just offensive. Especially when – wait for it – some of us actually choose to be single. Shocking, we know.
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Any guys/girls on the scene?
Now, we know that this question is meant well, as a way of showing polite interest in how the dating is going. But still, just don’t ask this. Because if you are actually our friend, 9/10 we would have already told you if there was someone on the scene. So please just take our silence on the subject as confirmation that we haven’t met anyone and save us both the awkward ‘No, no! Still can’t find anyone who seems to think I’m vaguely dateable!’
So instead, we recommend going with ‘Been on any fun dates recently?’ as a way of getting singletons to open up. Because less expectation with your line of questioning equals less pressure (because we’ve already got our mums banging on about grandkids for that, thank you very much).
I just don’t understand why you’re single – you’re amazing!
Yeah, great. Thanks for that. Again, we know it’s well meant but it’s not exactly helpful, especially when you really do want to meet someone. And it’s even more annoying when you don’t.
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Have you tried [insert name of latest dating app here]? Loads of my friends have met people on that.
Yes, we have. We can assure you, we’ve tried them all – and we still haven’t met anyone. So maybe hold off on the ‘helpful’ suggestions unless you want to rub this fact in.
I reckon your problem is…
Just. Don’t. Let us assure you now that we’ve already spent plenty of time analysing why it is we haven’t met someone so we really don’t need you to do it too. If we want hard truths, we’ll ask for them. Otherwise it just comes across as kicking us when we’re down.
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I would have invited you, but it was just couples so I didn’t think you’d want to come…
Thanks. Always nice to be included. Sure, some people may not want to hang out with a load of couples all night, but surely we can make that decision for ourselves? After all, no one likes to find out all their friends have been hanging out without them. Next time, it would be nice if you checked with us first (even if we do end up politely declining).
[insert partners name] is away next week. Do you want to hang out?
Thanks for the offer, but we’d rather not be told that we’re second best to your other half. For future reference, you’re better off just dropping the first half of that phrase and simply asking us to meet up (no matter what your actual reasons are).
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I’m so jealous – being single is so much more fun!
Sure it is! Which is why you chose to be in a relationship, right? We rest our case.