How to Respond When People Expect You to Be In a Relationship

Maybe it’s strange for a young adult to say this, but I actually like being single. That’s not to say I want to stay this way forever, but I see that I am able to participate in life with a certain amount of freedom that I would not otherwise possess if I had a significant other. Often, I feel like other people don’t understand this. I feel a cloud that weighs like cement on my chest telling me I am somehow ‘behind’ everyone else, or that I am not quite ‘normal’ because I am single. Do you ever feel like this?

Whether you have recently had a relationship break down, have been divorced or maybe just have not found the ‘right’ person yet, there seems to be an increasing pressure to ‘recover’ from this, like it is a disease. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like singleness is something to be overcome or remedied. In fact, I think it’s an entirely plausible way of living. It is far better to be happy, healthy and single than in a relationship with someone who makes you unhappy for the sake of being in a relationship. This is not to say people in relationships should not work at them, or receive help and support when they are struggling. But I know that when I enter a relationship, I want it to be for the right reasons, not just because I want to fit certain social expectations.

Maybe you are like me, and are single and are tired of the pressure to ‘mingle’ from your friends and family. Informing them that there is no one on the scene can become a mundane and frustrating routine at family functions, often because it reinforces the fact that you are alone around the newlyweds or expectant parents. It’s important to remember that often people will ask you about your relationship status because they genuinely care about your happiness, but we all know there are times people are just being nosy. Next time you attend that family dinner or engagement party, here are five responses you can use to field the uncomfortable ‘singleness’ questions and hopefully have those you are closest to understand that at this point in your life, it’s healthy.

1. I don’t feel ready to date anybody yet.
It may be blatantly honest, but sometimes this is the best way to have people understand why you are single. Irrespective of what your friends and family say, it is your choice to date if and when you want too.

2. I haven’t found anyone yet.
Of course this response will be met with questions about your lifestyle, but no one can argue with the fact that you are allowed to have standards and expect a mutual attraction to be present before even considering entering a relationship.

3. I’m happy the way I am at the moment, thanks for asking.
Your happiness is your prerogative, if you are happier being single then thank them for their interest and move the conversation on.

4. I’ve been dating a few people, but no one’s connected with me yet.
Letting people know that you have been making an effort in the relationship department should put a damper on their questions, while validating their desire for you to eventually find happiness with another person.

5. It wouldn’t work with (insert name of family friend) because I’m not attracted to them.
If you have friends and family constantly trying to ‘set you up’ with that friend of a friend, take a step back and pause to consider what they are saying before you shut them down. Are you attracted to this person, and is there any merit in getting to know them? If not, be honest. Just because two people are single doesn’t mean they should be in a relationship.