” So,why didn’t you ever get married?” It is a question every long-term single has been asked multiple times. There are several variations to this question equally as daunting.( Feel free to substitute your favorite variation here.) 🙂
Usually as a single person I am asked this question at very odd and vulnerable times. For example, at a party gathered around a group of people. One minute I am hearing about an acquaintance’s vacation to Mexico and the next thing I know I hear THE QUESTION as ten pairs of eyes shift their focus to me. A hush falls over the entire party as everyone waits for my reply. It is enough to make even the most confident single person stammer.
And stammer for a moment is what I usually do, for several reasons. First, the question seems a to hint that my life as a singe person needs justifying on some level. I have never heard anyone at a party ask ” So Ann, why did you decide to get married and start a family?” Well, maybe they do and I just always miss that part of the conversation. The second reason I stammer is because it requires me to reveal a part of my past that I do not wish to share with everyone, especially in a casual social setting.
While such a question may seem rude and impertinent to some single people, I imagine that most of the time no offense is meant. People are curious by nature. So, if you are married and have single friends and you are interested in their choices in life, remember it is all in how you phrase your questions! Let the single people in your life know that you think they are interesting and ask them about their hobbies and interests. When you listen to single people talk about their passions you will get a glimpse of how the single mindset works and how they build social networks to support them in their single life. Please avoid the approach that somehow their life is lacking ( such as “don’t you miss, or don’t you wish?”). It just isn’t good manners. Either they are healing wounds ( the newly divorced, for example) that you are re-opening with such questions or they are long time singles who love single life and words such as miss and wish just aren’t part of their regular vocabulary.
If you are a single person, when you find yourself in a situation where people want to know about your personal life take the opportunity to educate them. Help those you come into contact with understand that single people are often educated, attractive, and talented individuals leading fulfilling lives and contributing to their communities in various ways. Be a living example of what it is like to grow where you are planted and to understand that happiness comes from within and not from the validation of other people.
I would love to hear from you! If you are single, how do you address tough personal questions? If you are married, have you ever wondered about your single friend’s choices but weren’t sure how to ask? Let me know your experiences.
Until next time,