As much as we LOVE your concern... Please. Stop.
I'm sure you've read all the recent posts, seen the comedy bits full of memes and gifs, and watched the recent celebrity interviews related to the topic of being single and/or childless. We singles and marrieds with no kids (or not enough kids for your taste) are tired of the questions about why we're still single or still childless. We're tired of the assumptions and we're tired of the unsolicited "advice"!
Underneath all of your questions and condescending comments-disguised-as-concern is the assumption that we want your life because you're the standard by which we should measure ourselves. You act as if we don't have a plan for our own lives.
Let me explain to you why I'm tired of it.
1. You're not genuine; you're judgmental. There is a difference between making conversation and judging. "Are you single?" and "Why are you still single?" are two different questions.
Questions like, "Are you dating?","Looking to date?", and "Interested in getting married?" can be fairly benign if not asked in rapid succession. They are definitely different from "What are you doing to put yourself out there more [since you're not married]?", which suggests that there must be something wrong with me.
Why do I have to put myself "out there" more? Am I doing something wrong by choosing to live my life the way I choose to live it? I'm not doing anything to put myself out there more and that's fine with me… why can't it be fine with you? Can I live?!
2. You're being pushy. Some people ignore clues. If you're asking questions and folks respond with one word answers, back off!
"Are you dating anyone?"
You're skating on thin ice, so stop being nosy! Maybe I just got out of a relationship and I'm still emotionally raw. Maybe I'm in a relationship but just don't want to talk to you about it. Perhaps I'm too busy for your inquisition and don't have time to engage you.
Maybe it's none of your business.
3. You assume that because Person X is single, he or she would automatically be interested in Person Y who is also single. People who think all single people want to not be single and are willing to be set up blindly with someone they haven't screened are wrong.
A friend once told me (not asked me, told me) she had planned to hook me up with one of her husband's friends, but opted not to because her husband wasn't on board with the plan. He was concerned that if there was a break-up later, they would be caught in the middle. The problem with her plan is that she never considered whether those who were to be hooked up (particularly me) actually wanted to be hooked up. Don't I get a say in the matter?
4. You're assuming that there is something enviable about your own marriage or relationship… and to me, there isn't. You believe you have a good marriage, but I've observed the relationship you have with your husband/wife and maybe I don't want that. I've also seen the relationship you have with your kids, and I don't really want that either.
If you'd be offended by my unsolicited thoughts on your marriage, relationship, or parenting skills, then put yourself in my shoes. If I didn't come to you and ask you for assistance, take heed. You don't have the credentials to hook me up.
5. You diminish my overall worth when you place so much value on me being single. I have a "friend" who reaches out about once a quarter to catch up.
"How have you been doing?" he always asks.
"Great! Life is really good," I usually say.
"Oh? So you found a man?"
This is how our conversation goes every time we talk, even though we mostly talk about our careers.
Life is good because I'm happy, healthy, my family is doing well. I just got back from a great vacation, I'm excited about my new project at work, I just got certified to teach yoga/ typing/underwater basket weaving/whatever. I successfully baked my first cake without burnt edges. I successfully gave myself my first relaxer without burnt edges. None of that matters to you. All you care about is whether or not I've "found" a man. I might need to stop taking your calls.
I don't feel the need to live my life by your standards.
You don't know my financial situation. You don't know my health situation. What if I have a plan and actual goals I want to achieve before I decide to get married or start a family? What if I can't start a family?
Maybe I'm still childless because I like taking real vacations rather than just trips, because that's what happens when you take kids. You're not vacating your everyday life… you're taking your life with you to a new location. Maybe I'm still childless because I've run the numbers and learned that I can retire a lot sooner if I don't have kids.
Maybe I'm still childless because I like to sleep until noon on Saturdays. Maybe I'm still childless because I'm still single and I'm still single because I'm not married… yet. That's it. Not forever single, just single right now. Get a grip and mind your business.
This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.