For women who know what we want, tiptoeing around important questions and wasting time in the dating world is a no-go. To avoid this, relationship psychologist Dr. Robert Maurer suggests asking one question that will provide you with all the answers you need without coming across as thirsty AF: “Why are you still single?”
- It’s deceptively casual. Rather than diving straight into “where is this going?” or “do you see a future together?” which could leave you looking like a stage five clinger on date one, you can play it cool. At least that’s what they’ll think—cue evil genius laughter. Asking someone why they’re still single is such a cliche line that most wouldn’t bat an eyelid at it, but it’s actually capable of revealing some important information.
- It tests their accountability. The primary finding to be sought from this question, according to Maurer, is whether or not they take the blame for their singleness. Do they take any responsibility for their previous relationships going south and for choosing partners poorly or do they play the victim? If it’s the latter, Maurer suggests you run for the hills. Having a partner who’s accountable and willing to reflect on their own issues and potential solutions for problems is vital for a relationship to survive. In other words, you don’t want to end up with some dud who blames you for everything and never takes a moment to check themselves.
- It may give you a heads up on their flaws. If they take some responsibility for why previous relationships haven’t worked out, you might get some insight into the cons of dating this person. And while certain flaws are dealbreakers for some, they might not be a big deal to you. Then again, some will be. I once had a guy tell me it didn’t work out with his last girlfriend because he was “old-fashioned” and liked to be in charge. Suffice to say, I didn’t want to travel back to 1955 either. Byyeeee.
- It can be phrased as a compliment. While this question can seem a little insulting, especially when fired at you across the dinner table by your decrepit great aunt, it doesn’t have to be. If it’s set up as a compliment and asked with genuine (fake) confusion, it’s likely to provide information of substance. When people feel like they’re getting complimented rather than attacked, they’re less likely to be on the defense and more likely to open up. It’s all about the delivery.
- It will reveal if they’re actually open to a relationship. In this climate, just because you’re dating someone doesn’t mean they’re open to an ongoing situation, let alone committing to a relationship. The sad truth is that “almost relationships” have taken over like Godzilla because many of us want to have our cake and eat it too. Asking these five magical words will hopefully help you to side step that dude who will ghost you in a month’s time.
- It might reveal red flags. There are flaws and then there are warning signs like a flashing neon sign outside a pizza shop. While a savvy guy might hide his skeletons until at least a few weeks in, it’s surprising what people will share when they feel comfortable. And while honesty is admirable, any sign that my potential partner had cheated or committed any of my dealbreakers, I’d be pumping the brakes. Make sure you’re paying attention.
- It gives insight into what they’re looking for in a partner. Maybe they weren’t satisfied by certain aspects of past relationships or partners. Wouldn’t you like to know whether these shoes you’re eager to fill would be a good fit beforehand? If his last girlfriend didn’t stick around because she didn’t share his love for adventure and your favorite activity is watching bulk Kardashians with a tub of Nutella (hey, no judgment here), you might reconsider your compatibility. So the next time you’re sniffing around for some insight, instead of trolling through his Instagram photos from 146 weeks ago, try following Dr. Maurer’s advice.