My top 20 comebacks to this insulting question
One of the most repeated complaints I hear from single women and not-single women who spent some time being single before partnering up, is the dreaded question, “Why are you single?” and its even worse variants, “Why are you STILL single?” and, “Why are you single again?” A better question would be, “Why do people continue to ask this uncomfortable question?” As we approach the holidays, you’re likely to hear this question more often than you usually do. Your job is to let people know you’re doing just fine on your own.
A thickly veiled compliment
When people ask you this question, they’re usually trying to pay you a compliment, believe it or not, they’re just not going about it in the best way. They likely see you as someone who’s a great catch and just can’t understand why no one has snatched you up yet. If they didn’t think you were a great catch and they understood exactly why you were single, they wouldn’t ask. It would be like asking someone why they can’t keep a job – there’s obviously something wrong there and it would be uncomfortable to bring it up. However, it doesn’t occur to these people that you might actually enjoy being single or at least be okay with it and that’s why you’re still single.
We just want you to be happy
Another reason they could be asking is that they believe they’re looking out for your best interests. They really honestly believe that you’d be happier if you found a mate and they’re upset that you haven’t. They’re feeling for you. And they’re hoping that you’ll tell them that you met someone and then they can ask all sorts of embarrassing questions about that! They don’t get that maybe you’re doing just fine on your own and don’t believe that you’d actually be happier with a mate or at least not just any mate. Maybe you’re focusing on your job right now or you have some personal goals you’re working on that require all of your time and attention.
How ‘bout them Tigers?
Sometimes people are just asking this question in the course of regular small talk – how’s your job going, tell me about your trip to Australia, what’s up with your love life – and they don’t actually mean anything by it, it’s just out of curiosity. Regardless of who this question comes from or why they’ve asked it, though, it can make the single person feel uncomfortable, insignificant and like a failure. Especially if you get asked this question over and over by the same people and especially if it’s made into kind of a joke or else a pity party. That’s why I’ve put together this list of my top 20 snappy responses to the question, “Why are you single?” They are divided into confident responses and snarky ones. You get to choose!
- I’m having such a blast on my own right now. Did you hear about my last-minute trip to Europe?
- I’ve been spending all my time focusing on my career and I’m about to be named Sr. VP of Sales!
- Relationships are so much work and I’m in a place where I just want to relax and enjoy life.
- I actually am in a relationship. With myself. Being self-partnered is so hip right now!
- Amazon hasn’t started carrying descent men yet. When they do, let me know!
- If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen, the beauty is I’m really not concerned about it.
- I feel so free on my own and I’m having a hard time imagining life any other way.
- I’ve tried relationships and single just feels so much better to me.
- Maybe someday I’ll meet someone, but right now I’m rocking the single life!
- I was born this way and it felt so good I just went with it.
- I’m not interested in a relationship right now. I’m giving happiness a try instead.
- Relationships are all about compromises. No, thank you!
- I’m not willing to settle like most people do.
- I look at the relationships around me and I’m so glad I’m not stuck in any of them, amiright?
- I’m really not interested in taking care of someone.
- Single women are happier, healthier and live longer than married women. Who wouldn’t want that?
- Oh, how inappropriate of you to ask me that.
- I guess I’ve never thought about it. Why are you married?
- Relationships are so last century!
- I’m just lucky, I guess.
Dealing with other people
Why does the question, “Why are you single?” cause so much dread for the single girl? It’s because it implies that there’s something wrong with being single, something wrong with you, or both. It’s similar to the questions, “Why are you in the hospital?” or “Why are you on a special diet?” I don’t generally get asked why I’m single anymore, as most people know that I’m single because I want to be and I’m happy this way, but I used to get it a lot and I would seize up the moment it was out of the other person’s mouth. Then my brain would go a thousand miles an hour trying to come up with a witty and dismissive answer that would make me sound both confident and okay with my station in life.
People in general should be more in tune with how their questions come across and stop asking this particular one, but that’s not likely to happen. Plus, not hearing this particular question anymore comes with its own emotional turmoil. I remember when my parents first stopped asking me about my love life. I was still in the process of The Endless Search for a mate at that time and while I was happy not to have to answer the question anymore, I also thought, “I guess they’ve given up on the possibility of me ever finding anyone. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom and Dad!” The truth was they had figured out that answering that question made me uncomfortable and kudos to them for ceasing to ask it. They knew that if I wanted to share something about my love life, I would. I think it’s best to view anyone who’s stopped asking in this light and just be grateful you’re no longer getting grilled about your sometimes non-existent love life.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I hope I’ve given you some ammo to use on your Great Aunt Edna when she asks while passing you the mashed potatoes, “Honey, I just don’t understand, why are you still single?” Or when your neighbor’s catty sister whom you see once a year at her Christmas party says, “Last year you were dating that handsome Craig. What happened? Why are you single again?” I can guarantee that once you start using these responses on people or simply put the word out there that you believe there’s more to life than finding a relationship, people will eventually stop asking and it’ll be because they respect your decision, not because they’ve given up on you.
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