1. Why Are You Still Single?
Asking someone why they're still single is kind of like asking someone in the Special Olympics why they haven't made it to the "real Olympics" yet. (Newsflash: it's rude.)
To be fair, I realize this query can be laced with good intent -- it's generally followed up by, "You're just so awesome/smart/funny/pretty! I don't get it!" -- but even pure motives can't soften its blow because of the answer that springs to mind: "Oh, I don't know, I guess it's because NO ONE LIKES ME." Nevertheless, vocalizing such a thought is not optimal, and so we flush pink with embarrassment, laugh nervously and stumble over replies like "I'm not sure" and "I wish I could tell you."
I suppose the single person in question could place the blame on him or herself ("my standards are too high," or maybe, "I'm a commitment-phobe"), but even a brazen singleton doesn't particularly enjoy admitting such things to smug couples over Sunday brunch. We cogitate on the circumstances surrounding our singleness even without prompting, so regardless of your heart being in the right place, best to leave this question out of the conversation.
2. You're Too Picky.
Let's talk about the word "picky" for a second, which is defined as excessively fastidious. My friends have colored me picky on more than one occasion because of what I'll call my Boyfriend Checklist, which consists of three requirements:
1. He's alive.
2. I'm attracted to him.
3. He loves Jesus.
And even that is pretty much a two-parter considering the first item is a given. Does that make me picky? Let's ask our good friend Thesaurus what he thinks. Hey Thesaurus, would you call me "fussy?" "hard to please?" "demanding?" We're in agreement, and the answer is no.
Conversely, here's a list of prerequisites that I would consider picky in the Merriam-Webster sense when it comes to a significant other:
1. Must be exactly 6'3''.
2. Will not set foot in grocery stores or restaurants.
3. Must have the entire discography (album year, song title, lyrics) of Dingoes Ate My Baby committed to memory.
4. Will have starred in High School Musical, namely in the role of Troy Bolton.
You know what's weird about that checklist? Everything. Mostly because it describes a freegan Zac Efron (but taller) with savant-like tendencies. To be picky is to be painstakingly finicky, not to simply be inclined one way or another. So tighten up that vocab, people, and start patting your single friends on the back for being discerning, not persnickety.
3. So... How's the Love Life?
Memo to grandparents, aunts, uncles, seventh cousins twice removed, overly-familiar doctors, creepy neighbors, long-lost college friends, recently found college friends and all married folk: just don't go there. While we singletons understand that this is an all-too-common fallback question at parties (as in, we've exhausted the topics of work, children, marriage, school, etc. and are now desperately hunting for another talking point), it doesn't mean we want to divulge the inner-workings of our love life to you. Not to mention, you may accidentally ask a self-deprecating singleton this question, whose answer might be something like, "My love life? It's nonexistent." Then you'll have to deal with the reality of being "that person," the one who reminded them that they're completely alone, and will thus be subject to an hours long blow-by-blow of said singleton's failed entanglements. Trust me when I tell you that this is the Pandora's box of dumb questions; ask it, and you'll likely end up very sorry that you did.
Note: If you find the traversing of this territory inevitable, try to non-awkwardly incorporate it into the aforementioned conversations about marriage ("what about you, are you seeing anyone now?") rather than inquiring as a last resort. And whatever you do, don't follow up with the first item on this list.
4. You Just Need to Put Yourself Out There!
Ah yes, putting oneself out there: the panacea for singledom. Whenever someone says this to me, I can't help but imagine it being delivered by The Price is Right's Rod Roddy -- because that's how excited non-single people sound when they say it. Listen, you're not gifting me a new car and/or a full dinette set; you're regurgitating age-old wisdom that most of us are already implementing.
Chances are your single friends are putting themselves out there, but you don't realize it because you're absent for most of the hours in their day. For instance, I'd bet more than half of them have tried Internet dating, the 21st-century singleton's solution to putting themselves out there (even though they're not going to bars, getting smashed and partaking in several DFMOs* every weekend). Just because you don't witness it doesn't mean they're not doing it -- something to consider before doling out this particular piece of advice.
*Dance Floor Make Outs.
5. I'll Tell You What: If You're Still Single at 30, I'll Marry You.
Wait, what? You WILL?! HALLELUJAH! I was PETRIFIED of turning 30 at all, much less being puke-inducingly SINGLE at that age! Thank you for taking pity on me, your weirdo friend that NOBODY wants to date! I'm so glad you made this decision FOR me, all while completely disregarding MY opinion on the whole thing (because we all know that you're SUCH a catch and I'd be LUCKY to marry you, so how could I possibly object)! I'm so grateful that you've come up with a solution to my impending spinsterdom, and more than anything, I appreciate you making the SELFLESS SACRIFICE of marrying me, whom you find pathetic! You are without a doubt my HERO!
See you in five years (SO EXCITED)!
This piece was originally posted on Thought Catalog