Being single in a room full of couples can be difficult. Not only does it take confidence to stand alone when society portrays single people as sad, lonely, and faulty, but you also will likely have to listen to the universal comments that people who aren’t in relationships hear on a daily basis. If you have single friends and don’t want to come off as insensitive, avoid the following remarks.
1. “When are you going to settle down?”
It’s best to steer clear of questions like this. Why? because they assume that being single is not a valid lifestyle choice for the long term. You’re basically saying, “You can’t possibly want to stay single forever, so when are you going to do something about it?” As you can imagine, that’s offensive to people who are perfectly happy being single. And if they’re not happy, you’re just reminding them that they don’t have something they do want.
2. “How are you still single?”
Granted, most people intend this question as a compliment. But when you consider what’s really being implied, it’s actually an insult. Firstly, again, this question assumes that everyone wants to be in a relationship. Those who are single are only that way because they have some glaring fault, right? Secondly, this question is usually followed up with, “You’re soooo pretty” or “You’re soooo smart. How are you possibly single?” So what you’re really asking is what’s so wrong with this person that they don’t have a partner. Even if it weren’t an insensitive assumption, what do you expect the answer to be? An admission that they’re a workaholic, or a commitment-phobe, or just unlucky in love? This question can only make things awkward.
3. “Don’t worry, you’ll find someone.”
As a rule of thumb, your single friends don’t want to hear any commentary suggesting that being single is a bad thing. As kind as your intentions may be, telling a single friend not to worry is a bad move. You’re essentially declaring that there is something they should worry about. Even if someone is single by choice, they may still be working through the confidence issues that can come with the lifestyle. It takes courage and enormous self-confidence to remain single in a world that puts pressure on you to get into a relationship, and judges you when you don’t.
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5. “Love will come along when you least expect it.”
This is another condescending comment born from good intentions. Again, it makes the assumption that your single friend wants to find love. But the reality may be that they’re trying to find happiness on their own. If your friend desperately is looking for love, the advice isn’t really helpful anyway. It’s very difficult to stop wanting or expecting something that you desire, and dating usually requires an active effort on behalf of the person looking for love.
6. “Let me set you up.”
The problem here isn’t so much the words themselves, but the actions that usually follow. Whatever you do, don’t set up your single friends with just anyone. Setting them up with a person who isn’t right for them sends the message that you think they’re in such a sad state being single that fixing them up with absolutely anyone would be better than letting them stay the way they are. If you do know someone who would genuinely be a great match for your friend, ask first. Don’t force it on your friend.
7. “Your problem is…”
Whether or not you have all the answers to your friend’s problems, statements like this are generally insensitive. If your friend is feeling a little sad about being single, they probably don’t want to hear about the problems they’re already aware of from someone who’s in a happy relationship. It’s also possible that there is no problem. Some people just take longer to find their person, if indeed they are searching for a person at all.
8. “You must have no stress.”
To assume a single person has no stress in their life because they don’t have to worry about relationship drama is pretty inaccurate, not to mention belittling. Everybody experiences stress. It’s nice if you want to say this to your friend with the intention of making them feel better about being single. But trivializing the struggles they do face isn’t the answer.
9. “Aren’t you worried about your biological clock?”
No. Please don’t mention biological clocks at all. Under any circumstances. Ever.
10. “You’re too picky.”
People have a right to set their own standards. If your single friend has decided that they’re looking for a specific person, they’ve probably already acknowledged that they may be waiting longer than if they were prepared to settle. They don’t need people criticizing their choices or trying to coax them into accepting less than they deserve.
11. “Can I look at your Tinder profile?”
Dating apps can be fun. But they can also be stressful, exhausting, and demoralizing. It’s best not to use your friend’s dating app experience as a source of your own entertainment.
12. “You have to put yourself out there more.”
When you’ve been dating widely—which can take a lot of effort and impact your emotional and mental health—there’s nothing more frustrating than couples dismissing your hard work and suggest you fix all your problems by just putting “yourself out there.” If your single friend is interested in finding love, there’s a 99.9% chance they’re already out there.