12 Things NOT to Say to Your Single Friends

13 Apr

Dear Married People,

Single Christians don’t hate you. We don’t hate your children. We don’t hate your in-laws (in fact, we probably like them more than you do!).

We’re just tired of you thinking we ought to want to be just like you.

Okay, some single people want desperately to get married. But some of us are pretty happy flying solo. Please stop assuming that marriage is the perfect happy ending for everyone in the world.

If I had a dollar for every time my married best friend told me I needed to “get out there and date more”, I couldn’t quit my day job, but I could sure take a nice weekend holiday somewhere. Of course, if I added in a dollar for every time a well-meaning relative or family friend or church friend asked, “Are you dating anyone yet?” I probably could quit my day job.

Several of the things on this list have been said to me. Some of them are responses I got when I solicited two of my favorite single ladies for contributions.

Things Not to Say:

  1. “You just need to get out there more” – If your single friend likes being single, she probably doesn’t really want to get out there. If your single friend doesn’t like being single, don’t you think he’s already trying to get out there more?
  2. “The right one will show up when you’re ready” – How do you know that? And why is it your responsibility to decide I’m not ready? Are you saying I’m too immature for a spouse? Because there are plenty of immature people out there getting married every day.
  3. “Take this time to focus on your ministry” – …Right, because once you get married, you don’t have to minister any more. Forget about Priscilla and Aquila, Peter (who had a mother-in-law, so must have had a wife), or Ananais and Saphira (okay, bad example…) But seriously, there are churches out there who discriminate against hiring single pastors, so don’t tell me it’s easier to minister to people without a spouse.
  4. “I’m so glad I’m not out there dating any more” – Exactly. Dating sucks. So why do you tell me to ‘get out there more’ all the time? (See first point above.)
  5. “I’m so jealous of your freedom” – Yeah, my freedom to pay all my bills on my one income, never know who my plus one will be for an event, and never have someone in the house to scratch a really persistent itch on my back.
  6. “You’re not a mother/wife/father/husband”, so you just wouldn’t understand.” – Um…maybe that’s true, but could you please sound a little more patronizing? I don’t quite feel like I’m twelve yet.
  7. “You’re too picky and you need to stop looking for someone who is perfect.” – So you’re saying that marriage, which is supposedly such a great institution, is just about settling for someone you can tolerate? It’s not picky to want to fall in love.
  8. “A person doesn’t really mature until they get married.” – Um…what? No, really, what? So I guess Paul, one of the greatest heroes of the faith, was immature? Good to know.
  9. “Life doesn’t really begin until you’ve had children.” (Or worse yet, telling the single person’s parents “life doesn’t really begin until you’ve had grandchildren.”) – There are lots of married people who choose not to have children. There are lots more who are not blessed with children despite wanting them. You’re saying those people can’t fully live because they are unable to reproduce? Really?
  10. “Do you not want to have children?” – See above. Some people actually don’t want children, and there is nothing wrong with that (I am one of those people, and have known this about myself since I was a child). But there are also plenty of single people out there who do want to have children, but don’t believe a shotgun wedding is the way to go.
  11. “You act like you don’t need anyone, so no one is going to ask you out.” – I’ve never had this one thrown at me, but I’m definitely guilty of acting like I don’t need a spouse. And I would argue that walking around acting needy & lonely all the time would be more of a turn-off.
  12. “I remember what it was like to be single.” (When you were single for all of three years, in your early twenties.) – Right, okay, you’re one of those people who went to college to get your MRS degree. That’s lovely for you, but don’t pretend you understand what it’s like to spend a decade or better of your life as a single person.

Join me next time, when I post six things you SHOULD say to your single friends.


7 Responses to “12 Things NOT to Say to Your Single Friends”

  1. jbperry21 April 15, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Amen sister! lol

  2. SWC April 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Do you have anything you would add to the list? 🙂

  3. ipokins April 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Holy crap, #9… That one stings, and it stung when I *was* married. Incidentally, I have no clue which category I fall into anymore. Just because I’m technically without a spouse doesn’t mean I’m single in the dating sense.

    • SWC April 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      Yeah, my mother hates hearing things like, “Oh, you’ll have grandkids someday,” when she knows she won’t.

      You know what? I say you should DEFY the labels! You’re probably not immune to hearing some of the same things we never-married people hear, but you can define yourself however you wish.

  4. Terpsichore April 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    I’m not sure if this belongs in the list or not, but…a few of my friends who have gotten married and/or had kids sort of dropped out of my social circle. We don’t really chat like we used to, I have no idea what time is convenient for phone conversations, etc. But more than that, when we *do* talk, it’s more about motherhood than anything else – as though the entirety of my friend’s personality had suddenly been truncated.

    One friend in particular loved dancing, Shakespeare, Shyamalan films, kittens, various choral groups – but now she really has little to talk about beyond her son. It’s hard to keep up our friendship when it suddenly seems that we have nothing in common, since the things we *had* in common don’t matter to her anymore.

    • SWC April 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Wow, Terpsichore, that could be a whole blog post by itself! You make a great point. I’ve seen this happen on Facebook, where people who once seemed to have a lot of interests post about nothing but their kids. I know being a mom is a huge, important job, but does that erase everything the person was before? I’m sure that your friend is super busy being a mom, but you would think that for her own mental health, she would want some adult time every once in a while too.


  1. 6 Things to Say to Your Single Friends « singlewhitechristian - April 15, 2012

    […] up on the last post, 12 Things NOT to Say to Your Single Friends, I want to offer some constructive things you can say to your single friends. After all, what good […]

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