Along with turkey and all the trimmings, mulled wine, and Secret Santas, the holidays can bring a little tension for singles. You know, those awkward moments when a (hopefully) well-intentioned relative shouts from across the extended dinner table, “So, why are you still single?”
The conversation halts. Silverware clinks as every other family member sucks in their breath, cringing in anticipation of a meltdown. Your stomach churns, because you know no matter what you say, they just won’t get it. And unless you navigate this very carefully, your lovely family holiday dinner could turn into a holiday nightmare.
Here are some approaches you can take.
Say, “I’m enjoying my life so much. I’m focusing on living in the moment.”
Chances are, Aunt Carol or whoever asked the question is pretty loopy off wine at that point and frankly, didn’t know better than to ask that dreaded question. And chances are there’s a generation gap that doesn’t quite grasp the concept that you can be single and love your life. So, introduce the concept of living in the moment and feeling grateful for life and turn it around on them.
Follow up by telling them what makes your life so pleasurable and then ask what makes their life fulfilling. For example, “I love my job and I have such an amazing group of friends. We’ve been going on hikes every weekend followed by these incredible family style dinners. What’s the best part of your week?”
That will either spark a conversation about the unique ways in which your family is enjoying life or shut down the inquisition about why you’re single. After all, who’s going to interrogate someone who’s having a fabulous time?
Say, “Tell me about how you and Aunt Suzie met. I just love that story.”
Asking someone to share their love story is a great way to deflect the question and compliment them
at the same time. People love to talk about themselves. People also love to be complimented. By asking them to share their story, you show an admiration for them. They’ll gobble it up faster than pumpkin pie.
Say, “I’m just so glad that when I do meet someone special, I can come to you for advice.”
Again, compliment and deflect. The person probing into your personal life will either feel fabulous or foolish when you say this. It all depends on their own relationship. Either way, it will prompt them to talk about how knowledgeable they are or it will shut down the conversation. Whatever the case, the focus will be off you and on them.
Most importantly, remember that when someone asks you why you’re still single, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Don’t take it personally. It’s all about the way they
believe things should be. They’re just trying to fit you into whatever they perceive to be “the norm.”
What’s important is you, your happiness, and your life. Don’t let one (hopefully) well-intentioned family member’s dumb question suck the joy out of your holiday. Just do you. And remember, no one is going to interrogate someone who’s having a fabulous time.
What about you? How do you handle it when someone asks, “Why are you still single?”