Being single—especially as your get older—has major plusses. You live your life free and easy, you’ve got more time and money to spend on yourself, and you can live more spontaneously. But that doesn’t mean singledom doesn’t come without some major drawbacks, as well. Chiefly: Your married friends and family are constantly interviewing you, testing you, and wondering when you’re going to settle down yourself.
Case and point: Every single single person on the planet will recognize these 50 comments and questions here as totally obnoxious and annoying. So read on, and if you’re in a healthy relationship, try to spare your single friends the inquisition. And for more things that should be left unsaid, here are The 17 Worst Things a Man Can Say to a Woman.
“So, are you dating anyone?”
The classic. If you were dating someone you wanted the other person to know about, you probably would’ve mentioned it, or they would have already met them. This is especially irritating if it’s asked by someone you haven’t seen with in a while. And for more relationship knowledge, here are 30 Things Only Divorced People Know.
“Don’t worry, you’ll find the right person eventually”
You weren’t worried. You know you’ll find someone you’re into eventually—or maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s not the constant source of stress that those in relationships seem to think it must be. And if you’re actively looking for the one, consider one of The Best Dating Apps if You’re Over 40.
“I know your time will come”
You appreciate the vote of confidence, but you hate the feeling that your life is being reduced to something that can be needlepointed onto a pillow. And for more things you should banish from your lexicon, here are 40 Things No Man Over 40 Should Ever Say.
“How hasn’t anyone grabbed you up?”
You know, as if you’re something to be purchased at your local store. This question is especially annoying to women, but can still rub guys the wrong way, too. It seems to imply you’re somehow incomplete or in need of rescuing—if only the right person could come along and fulfill you. And for more things you should keep to yourself, here are the 40 Things No One Should Ever Say at Work.
“Don’t you want to have kids?”
Here’s another question that’s more pointed for women, but plenty aggravating for guys. You’re not even dating someone regularly, why would you be thinking about starting a family? Yet it’s surprising how often this comes up. And for more great relationship advice, here are 10 Ways to Say “I Love You” With Actions—Not Words.
“When was the last time you went on a date?”
This question never seems to have a good answer. If it was last night, it can seem like all you do is date. If it was months ago, you sound like you’re having a terrible time with dating and not very good at it. Better just not to have a specific answer to this one.
“How’s the single life?”
As if you are the ambassador of the uncoupled, you get asked this by married friends who only have other married friends. They probably aren’t actually curious about how your dating is going, but you don’t have a spouse or children, so they don’t know what else to ask you about. And for more on the complexities of relationships, here are 30 Things Only Moms with Daughters Know.
“What’s the dating scene like in this city?”
Again, just because you are single doesn’t mean you know everything about the dating scene in a given place.
“Take my advice: Deciding to get married is the best choice you’ll ever make”
This kind of exhortation about the greatness of marriage and coupledom is not uncommon, especially coming from a happily married friend who has had a few drinks. But the unsolicited advice, given as if they are the authority on relationships, can get pretty annoying. And if you’re a single person looking to spark some romance, check out the 50 Pick-Up Lines So Bad They Just Might Work.
“Take my advice: Never get married”
On the flip-side, negative takes on the trials of marriage can be as aggravating to a single person as idealized encomiums about the wonder of committed relationships—and for similar reasons. The person doing the advice-giving is speaking from their personal marriage or relationship, and if it happens to be miserable or frustrating, that’s too bad, but it doesn’t reflect the downside of relationships in general.
“Have you read this dating book/seen this movie about dating?”
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you live, breath, and think singleness at all times. Singles are often asked about the latest article about dating or movie about a group of single friends as if that’s the only topic they care about. Singles are perfectly able to appreciate stories about couples, too.
“Maybe you’re too picky”
There’s nothing wrong with having high standards in who you date, or even for someone to point that out. But this line is a great way to make it seem it’s your problem that you’re selective about fully committing to another person you aren’t fully into. And for some great dating advice, here are the 40 Best Date Ideas If You’re Over 40.
“Can I play matchmaker?”
Some people just want to make it all about themselves! While an introduction to a friend’s cute and single friend is not something you’d usually turn down, there are some serious downsides when your friend is invested in playing matchmaker. The biggest risk is not that a date will go badly—but that it will go great and your friend will remind you for the rest of your relationship that it was them who made the relationship happen. No thanks!
“My friend would be perfect for you”
First of all, that’s doubtful. Second of all, what if they aren’t perfect, the date is awkward, and now you’ll never be able to invite both of us to the same party? It might be a bigger risk to take you up on your suggestion than to just seek out dates on your own.
“Are you okay being the third (or fifth) wheel?”
Unless they’re going on a tandem-bike ride around the city or competing in a cuddle-off or something, you’re going to have a perfectly fun time hanging out with couples as you would with singles. Your friends’ worries about you being uncomfortable is likely more about them than it is about you.
“Just keep putting yourself out there and you’ll find the right person”
Thanks, but you’ll “put yourself out there” exactly as much as you like. This isn’t an exercise regimen you are trying to master, it’s just dating. And for more expert advice, here are the 40 Relationship Tips That Are Actually Terrible.
“I don’t know how you do it”
Being single? It’s not really that tough! In fact, here are 40 Reasons Being Single in Your 40s Is the Greatest Thing Ever.
“My friend’s single—should I hook you two up?”
How well does this person actually know this friend they want to hook you up with? Chances are, not that well, since they are suggesting that you might want to be hooked up when you really don’t need or want that. The intentions are good, of course, but you’re fine on your own.
“What are you doing to meet people?”
Who says you have to be doing something to meet people? The question seems to imply that it’s your job to be constantly on the lookout for a potential partner. You are living your life, and if that leads to meeting someone you’re into, that’s great. If not, no big deal!
“Are you putting yourself out there?”
“Putting yourself out there” brings to mind images of you going out to the street and waving a sign promoting your availability, or going to a bar and setting up shop.
“Can I be your plus-one?”
Everyone thinks they can muscle in on your wedding or event invites just because you don’t have a set partner who automatically gets that plus-one status. Nice try, but you were saving that plus-one for someone special—or rolling solo, because it’s fun!
“I wish I were still single”
This comment usually comes with a rose-colored view of what life as a single is—all freedom with no responsibility. The person saying it is clearly has a skewed vision of what life as a single person involves. Being single is plenty of fun, sure, but it’s not all one-night stands and late-night parties.
“You must have so much time on your hands”
For similar reasons as the last comment, this one is aggravating in the way it misunderstands what single life is actually like (i.e. not all that different from life in a relationship, with plenty of things to worry about, people to see, and things to take care of). Not having a spouse or partner to check in on does not mean there aren’t plenty of other things that have to be taken care of.
“Do you ever get lonely?”
Often asked with an overly concerned tone, as if you’ve been diagnosed with some incurable disease, this question comes from a place of sympathy—and that’s what’s so annoying about it. You’re single—not dying.
“You’ve got to meet my friend—you guys would totally click”
The set-up gesture is nice, but nothing kills romance more than high expectations. It’s much better if a friend who wants you to connect with their friend just brings that friend the next time you guys hang out and lets the two of you take it from there. After all, you are socially capable adults, right?
“So, what’d you think of _____?”
Asked as soon as that newly introduced friend leaves the room, making it obvious that the entire evening was a surreptitious set-up. It’s not a bad way for a friend to go about setting you up with their friend, but that arched eyebrow and knowing look they give you after you actually hit it off with their friend makes the whole thing feel a little silly.
“You should use INSERT COLOGNE/PERFUME HERE. It’s a magnet for INSERT WOMEN/MEN HERE.”
It’s unlikely that a scent is going to make the difference between a successful date and a lame one. But if it did, what would that say about the person you were dating?
“How are you still single?”
How are you supposed to answer that? “Because I have a weird tic that only comes out on dates and scares people off.” “Because I have a dungeon you don’t know about.” “Because I don’t actually want to be in a relationship.” Maybe you’re single because you want to be single!
“Have you tried online dating?”
Newsflash: It’s 2018. Literally every single person on the planet is signed up for at least seven online dating services. And if you’re one of them, we’ve got your back: Here are the 20 Best Dating App Opening Lines.
“How are your profile pictures?”
Unless the person asking is a professional photographer, their inquiries into the pics you’ve got on Tinder will come off more as voyeuristic than helpful.
“Can I try Tinder on your phone?”
This is a question you might hear from friends who’ve been in a relationship for years and haven’t dabbled in online dating since Match.com was the only game in town. They’re amazed by the simplicity of the modern dating app and want to try it out vicariously through you. But next thing you know, they’ve set up seven dates for you and you’ve got no idea who you’re meeting up with.
“What kind of interests are you putting on your profile?”
Tell them your interests include “not answering dumb questions about my dating life.”
“You should always ask them questions about themselves”
Remind your friend or family member that you don’t need advice on basic social behavior.
“You will meet someone when you least expect it”
That’s a very nice sentiment, but you’re not living in a romantic comedy and don’t need a cliché to make you feel good. How does this person know when you will meet someone? Unless they are a fortune teller or can see into the future, they can keep these opinions to themselves.
“That’s why you’re still single”
The context matters a lot with a comment like this. Coming from a friend, this could be a playful ribbing about some bad habit you might have or a borderline mean thing you may have said. But it’s still an annoying, ad hominem comment that truly grates.
“Ask him/her out for my sake”
Those in committed relationships love to imagine what it would be like to be single again, and sometimes go so far as to direct you to get someone’s number of go on a date on their behalf. You’re not their dancing monkey! You’ll date who you want to date.
“When you are ready, God will send the right person”
Those with spiritual leanings like to see relationships as preordained and part of some larger plan. It’s a nice sentiment, but puts a lot of pressure onto a casual date.
“You’ll find your soul mate soon”
Like the last one, this elevates dating to soul-mate-searching and makes the whole conversation a bit uncomfortable. After all, you may not be looking for a serious relationship, let alone a soul mate. You shouldn’t feel guilty because all you want is a fling and a few fun dates—not everything has to be a magical relationship.
“Have you prayed about it?”
I’m sorry, but that is way too personal of a question.
“Is this your boyfriend/girlfriend?”
Arrive to a party or event with another person and others are bound to assume that this is your significant other. It leads to plenty of awkward moments—especially if you just started dating that person.
“Do you ever think of getting serious about someone and settling down?”
“Settling down” is one of the least appealing phrases a single person can hear.
“You know, rent’s cheaper as a couple”
Because you know as well as anyone that “cost reduction” is hardly the best excuse to couple up. But thanks for the practical advice!
“You get better tax breaks when your married”
Again: Not a very compelling reason to run out and find someone to marry.
“Are you next?”
A favorite question at weddings, it’s asked as if everyone must get married and you must just be waiting eagerly for your turn. Can’t you just enjoy the wedding cake and dance to the cheesy 70s songs without being pestered to join the ranks of the married?
“You should check out this great singles bar”
Who says you have to go to a bar that’s designated for unattached people?
“You should join this singles’ group”
Like singles bars, singles groups just reek of desperation. Why should you define your whole social life in terms of your lack of a partner? You just want to live your life and meet fun and interesting people and do fun stuff—it doesn’t have to be with other single people or hold the promise meeting a significant other for you to enjoy it.
“When can we expect grandchildren?”
Other variations include, “when can we expect a niece or nephew?” and come from out-of-touch family members who still ask about that ex you broke up with six years ago. They aren’t really interested in hearing your reasons for being single, or whether you’re happy about it. They just want baby photos.
“Whatever happened to INSERT EX NAME HERE?”
That ex from six years ago that still somehow gets brought up whenever the family gets together. You knew it was a risky move bringing them back that one year for Thanksgiving—and now you’ve paid the price for it every Thanksgiving since.
“Does it bother you that most of your friends are married?”
Thanks for the reminder, but no, it doesn’t often cross your mind that most of your friends are in serious relationships—except when other friends helpfully point it out and ask you how you feel about it.
“Is it serious?”
Non-singles are always eager to push singles into coupledom, and this is a go-to question you’ll get after mentioning you’ve gone on more than one date with someone. Stop prying!
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