As a single woman of a certain age, I feel like I've often been unprepared when someone would ask me the question, "Why are you still single?" I didn't mind as much in my 20s because my single status was mostly due to circumstances where I initiated a breakup. But around 30, it started to become a nuisance of having to "explain" myself. Instead of giving in to my natural reaction of going on the defense or feeling personally attacked, I wanted to explore why the question of "Why are you still single?" is triggering because of the negative connotations that are implied.
Luckily, I've provided 20 responses including ways to redirect the conversation or turn it into a teachable moment to show why some people actually choose to remain single.
1."Am I not allowed to be single?"
This response can be tricky so it's all about presentation. This could come off as defensive and that's the last thing you want to do, so tread lightly. Then again, depending on who's asking, you may want to throw off this vibe so they'll think before asking anyone else.
2."Because I enjoy the peace of mind of being solo right now."
If you haven't met someone who complements your life in a way that makes it better to not be single, that's totally fine. Between dating men with too much baggage or not wanting to commit, I once experienced burnout to the point where I decided it was best for me to be by myself for a while. My advice is to stay single until you find someone who makes being in a relationship worthwhile. After all, staying single and standing your ground is something to be commended, not shamed for.
3."I don’t know. I guess I'm overqualified."
Because sometimes a ridiculous question warrants a cute and ridiculous answer.
4."What makes you think I’m single?"
That's it. Keep them guessing because they shouldn't be in your business, anyway.
5."I’ve never really thought about it. Why? Are you still married?"
Diverting the conversation is a classic tool you can use to evade personal questions.
6."Because not everybody can handle me."
You're telling the truth, after all. Being fabulous comes at a cost.
7."Oh, I’m not single. I’m in a love affair with…"
Myself, food, my career, etc.This is a witty response with a bit of a curveball. Why not play into this uncomfortable conversation with a laugh.
8."That’s kind of personal. Would you like to tell me about your relationship?"
This answer is the perfect response to let someone know how invasive their question is. It's also an opportunity to redirect the conversation, whether you pivot to talking about your new business venture or turning the discussion back to them.
9."A relationship is not a priority for me right now (but if that changes, I’ll be sure to let you know)."
OK, so you don't have to add that last part unless you're feeling extra snappy, but there's nothing wrong with letting someone know that other things are more pressing in your life at the moment. It also gives you a chance to talk about all the great things you are currently doing.
10."I’m simply not interested in dating."
That's not to say your feelings won't change at some point, but right now, you may be more focused on a project at work, going back to school, or working on bettering yourself. If a relationship is not on your radar at the moment, that's OK.
11."What do you mean by 'still' single?"
Challenge them to elaborate on what they mean. It's one thing to ask if you're single, but when the word "still" is added, it implies that there is a timeframe that you've exceeded and that for some reason you shouldn't "still" be single.
12."I just am."
Shrug and offer no more information. Period.
13."Why do you ask?"
Probe them to find out why they're inquiring about your relationship status. Are they asking to be shady or do they know someone who would be a good fit for you? Perhaps they're genuinely interested to see why someone as fabulous as you is still on the market. If they want to ask questions, throw one back at them and see where the conversation leads.
14."Because, apparently, I’m really good at it."
Sometimes it's good to make light of a situation and laugh at yourself.
15."Currently, I’m looking for a significant income, not a significant other."
Who can be mad at a career-focused response? Perhaps you're more motivated by financial stability than a romantic partner. Maybe you're more interested in getting your degree or starting a business. These are things to be applauded, not appalled.
16."That’s not a bad thing, is it?"
Again, this is for clarification. If you can get an understanding of why the person is asking, then it may not be so triggering. For example, they may think you're such a catch and may genuinely be curious about your decision to be single.
17."Because I haven’t found anyone who adds value to my life."
You don't want to be in a relationship simply for the sake of being in a relationship and until someone comes along who makes your life better, then it's perfectly fine to stick to your guns.
18."You know, when the time is right and when I’m ready to be in a relationship, I have no doubt that my person will show up."
This great answer conveys that you are happy with your life just the way it is and optimistic about what it may hold in the future.
19."Single is the new 20."
Can you imagine getting a re-do of your 20s with all the knowledge of having lived through them? Of course, you can't get that time back, but being single at a certain age can be a chance to avoid some major pitfalls.
20."You know, I really like to keep my relationship details private. I hope you understand."
This sets a clear boundary for what you're willing to discuss and what's off-limits. And it rolls off the tongue easily with a smile. #Respectfully.
Be honest. If you're enjoying this time to focus on yourself, dating multiple people, or spending more time doing things you enjoy doing, then just say that. Maybe your last relationship gave you an opportunity to discover past traumas that you needed to heal from. Stand in your truth and embrace your decision to be single.
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