How To Answer "Why Are You Still Single?" Question This Holiday
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and celebrating — and, of course, a time where your family or those childhood friends will overload you with awkward questions about your life.
At most of the gatherings this December, you're bound to be asked questions about your love life, especially if your social media pictures don’t have a bae in them. As a single during the holidays you know you are bound to get one of this questions:
“Are you seeing anyone special?”
“What happened to that nice [insert name]?”
“Where are my grandchildren?”
“When are you settling down already?”
And the not so much of a question, but a statement we all usually feel obligated to respond to: “I’d like to see you get married before I die.”
"The holiday time is like wedding season for the winter; we are invited to many events that typically allow a plus one. When you are single and unhappy with that status, those invitations are a constant reminders of the status and possible feelings of loneliness. Family or friends asking about one's single status can also trigger feelings such as loneliness,” sex and relationship therapist, Courtney Geter, says, “Some family members may ask out of curiosity and not realizing your single status is a sensitive topic. It has become very common for 'why are you still single' to be a default question. If a family member hasn't seen you in a year, it may be a way to see what has changed in your life since the last gathering. Another reason for asking is a family member may think you're a great person and trying to understand what's keeping you from getting coupled up OR they might be trying to set up a blind date and assessing you really are single. None the less, the constant reminder of your status hurts.”
Here’s how to handle your least favorite question about your relationship status in the most effective — and kindest —way possible:
First- Prepare What You’re Going to Say
Before a big presentation at work or when you had exams in college, you probably studied, right? When you’re going into another situation — like a family gathering — that could make you uncomfortable or pose to ask you about your relationship status, think about what you’re going to say. When you’re armed with information and yes, a canned response, you are less likely to lose your cool or be rude. (Even if, yes, the question itself is personal).
“Create your script before the event. If you're already anxious and you know there is a chance this question will come up, go ahead and think of your response before family events,” Geter suggests. “Knowing your response will help manage and decrease anxiety by not putting you on the spot and creating awkward or unpleasant conversation or interactions. You can state your response and move the conversation along. Then take a deep, cleansing breathe to remove any left over anxiety.
Second- Know Your Audience
How you would answer this question to your mother is probably different than what you might respond to your dear best childhood friend, right? It’s important to approach each person differently. Though you want to craft conversations that make sense between you and whoever is doing the prying into your love life, you can try this suggestions to get you started:
Casual friend: "I know—it's crazy, right? Everyone knows I'm a catch!" and then what? Then move the topic to something they’ll be chatty about: did they just have a baby? Go on a big trip? Get a new job? You can put the ball and attention in their court to make them less likely to keep chatting about you.
Close family member: "No, really. Please don't worry about me. Things are going great! Did I tell you about the promotion I got at work?" This tactic works because you’re showing them — or rather, educating them— that there is far more to your daily existence than searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Instead, you’re filling your life with work you enjoy, adventures you work hard for and more than enough happiness to fill whatever void they are trying to point out.
Your Mother: "Mom, I know you love me and you worry about me sometimes. But you have to remember, you raised me to be strong and capable and even though being single can be challenging, you gave me all the tools I need to handle it. Don't worry, I'm not crying myself to sleep every night! I have a very full life and I hope you can be proud of me for all my accomplishments, even if — at the moment — these accomplishments don't include a spouse and kids. Thanks for checking in, but I've got this." You have to remember, that your mom has your very best interest at heart and she only wants to see you as full of joy as you can be. This approach lets her know you appreciate her concerns, but that you’re doing just fine and there’s nothing to worry about.
Third- Try Not to Get Defensive
It’s easy — it really is — to go off on someone when you might already feel under-the-gun yourself. If you’re single and you really wish you weren’t, it might even be harder to not roll your eyes or get upset when you’re pushed for an answer. To this, Geter says to remember the reason the person is asking.
“Keep in mind your family member's intention isn't malicious and he/she may not realize the topic is sensitive to you," she says. "Family gatherings can be stressful under pleasant circumstances, and defensiveness may create conflict or more stress. Plus, if you didn't drive yourself, you might not have the option of leaving early! If the topic is sensitive, you have a right to inform the person, change topics, or remove yourself from the situation."
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