Following 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 is criticism if it isn’t constructive?
It’s honestly difficult coming up with some positive things to say to single people. I’m not sure there are many good reasons for a married friend to point out my singleness, so I’m drawing on help from a couple of single friends who contributed to this post.
Things to Say:
- “What are your dreams and hopes?” – More specifically, don’t assume that the single person dreams of getting married. Don’t assume that they don’t. ASK. You might be surprised by the answer you get.
- “What would you like to do with your life?” – This is similar to the first suggestion, but this opens the conversation to career, travel, ministry, and other topics. I’d like to share a quote from one of my single friends to expand on this.
People also don’t seem to understand the whole “wanting to have time to work creatively”… Marrieds seem to think my work is a HOBBY I should pursue after I invest time in finding a husband, because having a family should be my priority. But, if I don’t get my art out there now and make a name for myself now, then (a) I won’t be supporting myself through work I really love, and if I’m not doing that, I won’t be satisfied or happy [with] myself and how can I expect anyone else to be, and (b) I know it would be nearly impossible to put myself out there if I’m similtaneously [sic] working at a relationship.
- “What gifts would you like to use?” – This is most applicable in a conversation about church and ministry, but maybe your friend has talents you’re not aware of. If you focus on the person instead of their marital status, you can learn a lot.
- “Would your schedule allow you to [volunteer/chair this committee/go to dinner/insert activity here]?” – In other words, don’t just assume that the single person doesn’t have a full social calendar. Don’t act like the single person is just dying to babysit for you because she doesn’t have kids of her own and doesn’t have anyone to spend time with on a Friday night. Don’t act like the only reason a single person is a good volunteer is because of his marital status.
- “Sometimes I get lonely.” – Loneliness happens to married people too, but it’s easy for a lonely single person to forget that. If your single friend confesses to loneliness, it’s okay to point out (gently) that marriage isn’t a 100% cure-all for loneliness.
- “Paul’s command to be content in whatever circumstances means: be content.” – In other words, don’t trot out Philippians 4:11 just to address singleness. In fact, he was talking about financial situations and having enough. But it’s good advice, whatever the situation. As a friend of mine commented, it’s about “making that an actual state of mind. In whatever circumstances, yes, up to and including singleness.”