The single life has many benefits. In addition to living life on your own terms, you embark on an incomparable journey of self discovery and enlightenment. However, it can also come with major drawbacks too, which aren’t as discussed as they should be. I am sure most of us can relate to being told many destructive things during this period. There are certain things that a single person just shouldn’t be told and here are my thoughts on why the following statements are so discouraging:
Lower your expectations/ You’re too picky
It’s always people with high expectations and standards who are usually the ones who tell others to lower their own. If someone knows what it is they are looking for in a partner, this is commendable. Do you know how many people are walking around, breaking heart after heart and messing with mind after mind? It’s all because they don’t know what it is they want. Expectations, standards and boundaries are what will protect you, especially if you choose to foray into the world of dating. Relationships and marriages are not a competition. People choose to be with the person they want to be with. Adopting a mentality where you simply ‘take what you are given’ shouldn’t be encouraged by anyone, let alone people who are close to you. Don’t tell single women they are picky because they are reluctant to settle. We all have choices, and although we may not understand the choices that people make, respecting them is imperative.
Focus on you
This is one of the most patronizing things any single person can hear. The word single has many definitions: one of which is ‘an individual person or thing rather than part of a pair or a group’. If you are single, your only priority is yourself. Telling a single person to focus on themselves is a subtle way of reminding someone that they are alone. Nobody wants to be reminded that they are alone. The same thing goes for telling single people to love themselves. It’s about time we stop feeding this narrative that single women need to be fixed because there is something wrong with them. There are a lot of women out there who value themselves and have fruitful relationships with friends and family. Let’s not forget that not every woman desires to be in a relationship.
Don’t leave it too late (regarding marriage and children)
This figure of speech will have a woman internally visualizing her reproductive system over and over again. It’s interesting how this statement is always reserved for women who are either approaching 30 or will into their 30’s. Society can be held accountable for putting timelines on when a woman should start a family. It’s refreshing to read articles and hear stories about women who have put motherhood on hold. As with the decision to be in a relationship, having a baby is a huge commitment. It’s better to have a child with someone who you love and share core values with than to jump into parenthood with an individual you cannot stand! There’s nothing sadder than a woman (or a man) rushing into a situation that they later end up regretting. Take your time, embrace discernment and what is for you will never pass you by.
Men/women are trash
You’ll be surprised at how many women who are in relationships are out there telling other women not to even bother being in one! When someone takes it upon themselves to tell me how hopeless men are, believe that I’m laughing on the inside. Over the past few years, I’ve learnt to be very selective with who I talk to about my single status. Remember that only you know what’s best for you.
It’s actually a contradiction to say that men are trash while you are in a loving relationship or even married. It’s an indirect way of telling someone that there’s nothing out there for them, so they shouldn’t don’t keep their hopes up. Everyone has been single at some point in their life, and I can’t even imagine how some people would feel if they were told to give up on love. These are the kinds of statements that can brainwash you into despising men if you aren’t careful. Yes, men’s antics have been highlighted across an array of platforms, but we are all imperfect in our own way. If you have a healthy perception of men, don’t allow anyone to change or have an influence on that. Protect your peace.
Keep putting yourself out there
Telling someone to put themselves out there is like the equivalent of telling someone to jump off a cliff and hope someone catches them. As extreme as this may sound, no good has ever come from telling someone to make themselves available. Of course there is a difference between actively dating and dating anyone that shows an interest in you and the latter is usually what most women tend to do. The term ‘putting yourself out there’ has a negative connotation – that in order to be seen, you need to go above and beyond. Fair enough – there are people who have actively searched for love and have found it, but the reality is that this will not happen for many of us. The best thing anyone can do in a dating situation is just be themselves – so don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. A large problem in our society is romanticisation of other people’s relationships. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by a wonderful love story but everyone’s path is different. Anybody can find love: you don’t need to look a certain way or behave a certain way so don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
How are you still single?
The majority of being who are single know exactly why. We do not need to hear this question, particularly with added effect. People think they are being complimentary because as far as they are concerned, they can’t believe nobody has snapped you up yet. A single person can interpret this to mean ‘it’s crazy that you’re alone’ rather than it being due to a series of events that have occurred in your life meaning that you just haven’t prioritized finding a mate. Not every person who is single is miserable. Let’s stop conjoining the two. Being alone does not equate to misery. I watched a very interesting sermon on YouTube and the pastor was saying that the majority of people in relationships haven’t learned how to be single – and this is so true. Remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation regarding your single status – you don’t need to apologise for it.
When will you marry?
I’m confident that every 20-30 something millennial has probably had enough of this question. ‘when will you marry?’ is one of those questions no single person should be asked. This question leaves women doubting their worth and wondering if they will ever get married. The conventional view that a woman is not complete without a man is outdated. Women already face enough societal pressure so the last thing we need is for people who we barely even know to be interrogating our personal lives. On the other hand, most of these people do mean well but nobody should have to feel like they have a deadline on a timeline. Things will happen when they are meant to. There are single people who would like to get married and have children but it is not by force. We should all work to stop making women feel bad about themselves because of their marital status.
You’ll meet someone when you least expect it
Telling someone to stop thinking about love is a no. What does you’ll meet someone ‘when you least expect it’ even mean? Whenever I hear these words, it just feels like the person doesn’t know what to say to me. It’s not helpful at all and can actually be quite destructive. This statement can also imply that a person hasn’t really worked on themselves yet. Believe me, a single person is also working on themselves. For the first six months, you are navigating, trying to get used to your new status but once you’ve passed the six month mark, the path to self discovery is yours. We all know that love is not effortless – it does take a lot of work to build and maintain a genuine connection, so ‘meeting someone when you least expect it’, falls into the whole idea of love being instant, when it isn’t.
This list isn’t exhaustive. I’m sure a lot of you can think of many more things single people shouldn’t be told. I have heard every singleness cliche under the sun, hence my decision to write this post. Although some of these comments are well intentioned, all they do is make single people feel the opposite of encouraged. If you want to say something helpful, stop focusing on when your friends or family will find someone and direct your attention to what they already have going for them.
What singleness cliches have you been told? If you are single, how does it make you feel when people make statements or comments about your single status?
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