A loaded question with a number of equally loaded answers.
First of all, are you single and loving it, or single and searching? To help navigate the endless nosy versions of the question, “So, why are you still single?” you need to decide into which camp you fall. But more about that later.
Congratulations, first of all, for surviving the holidays as a singleton. The parties, I hope, were fun, the gift giving not too taxing on your budget, and the extra time you had to spend with your family (since you are not attached) was, I trust, welcome.
If your nosy Aunt Evelyn, as per usual, cornered you in the hallway holding a slice of fruitcake and a snifter of spiked eggnog, she probably said something like this: “So, dear, why haven’t you found Mr./ Ms. Right?”
You knew it was coming, and she did not let you down. You may well love Aunt Ev, and tolerate her well-meaning intrusions into the way you choose to live your life. However, these kinds of obnoxious queries come from all quarters, don’t they? As if your relationship status is an accepted topic of conversation simply because you are not paired up and attached at the hip to a significant other. So, if an old college friend at the train station, a co-worker at the Keurig machine, or a blind date ask you to justify your lack of a relationship status, it might be helpful to be prepared.
Option 1. You love your singledom. You revel in it and enjoy yourself. A great place to be! Being single is not a curse, and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. There are, however, people who assume that you have somehow screwed up. That you have chosen badly, been rejected, or failed to attract suitable dates. If you are a happy single, none of these is necessarily true and in fact you are right where you want and intend to be: flying solo.
What to say to Aunt Ev, or the butcher, or Mark from accounting when they ask, “Why are you single?”
- You can start with: “You say ‘single’ like that’s a bad thing….”
- And follow up with something like: “I like flying solo at this point in my life. Suits me just fine!”
- Or this: “Keeping my options open is just about right for me.”
- Or, “I’m working on me.”
- Or, “Jealous?” (After all, you can eat what you want, do what you want, sleep when you want….)
Being single is an opportunity to live your life and do all the things you want to do before—or instead of—settling down. So own it and don’t let the Aunt Evelyns of the world pity you.
Option 2. You are single for the time being as you look for the right person and plan ahead to a serious, long-term relationship sometime in the future. Before we continue, answer a few clarifying questions:
Are you ready?
→ Are you over your last relationship?
→ Do you know who you are and what you want and need?
→ Are you willing to devote the time, energy and love that a relationship needs to thrive?
How do you present yourself?
→ Do you like yourself and project that?
→ Do you come off as arrogant, needy, desperate…? If so, why? (If you don’t know, ask a trusted friend.)
→ Are you confident or shy? What does your body language say? (Open and available or closed and shut down?)
What action steps are you taking?
→ Online dating?
→ Speed dating?
→ Matchmaking services?
→ Getting out and about? (Mr/Ms Right is not going to jump into your lap as you sit on the sofa.)
Your answers to the above questions can clarify your readiness factor. If you are not (yet) ready, you can tell Aunt Evelyn, “I’m just not at that point right now,” or “A relationship is not on my radar at the moment.”
If you are truly open to the universe bringing love your way, and taking important steps to help that happen, you are a step closer to finding your ideal match. In which case, what do you want to tell Aunt Evelyn and all the other people who are seemingly invested in your relationship status?
How about, “I haven’t found the right person yet. If you know someone you think would be a good match, I’m open!” Aunt Ev, Sally from sales, and the barista at Starbucks will either cough up a few phone numbers or they’ll quit asking.
To potential dates who want the answer—and they will—just be your brilliant, authentic self and honestly speak your truth. When the time is right for Mr./Ms. Right, you’ll know.