Probably advice is the only thing you will always want to give others without charging for it. Of course, counselors are an exception here. But many a times, advising becomes out of place and irritating.
You may believe you are empathizing, but intrusive comments may offend your friend. Before you open your mouth, ask yourself what is more important: your opinion or your friendship. EHC remembers what Benjamin Franklin said – Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it. Here is a compilation of what to avoid saying to your single friends, what you can sometimes say or do instead and when to simply shut your mouth.
Why aren’t you married?
Perhaps the only sensible answer to this is “none of your business.” In fact, it is rude to assume singles are looking for a relationship. This question presumes that the single person is unhappily single. Many unattached people live their best, most authentic lives as singles. So stay away from this question and its variations.
Have you tried online dating?
Nowadays people find relationships online. But this assumes your friend is clueless and hasn’t thought of it herself. The ratio of disappointing dates is the same online as it is offline. Furthermore, avoid sharing details about people you know who have found someone online; it has zero bearing on your friend’s life. Finally, remember that offering dating advice implies there’s something wrong with being single.
Stop being so picky.
This comment basically slaps your friend’s sensibility and accuses her of faulty judgment, as if she can’t trust her own wants and needs. If she brings up being frustrated with the dating pool, a better approach is to respond with, “It’s challenging to find the right person for you,” which acknowledges the realities of dating without criticizing her. And while it is okay to ask about what qualities she’s looking for in a mate, don’t add what she should be seeking.
You’ll find the perfect guy when you’re not looking.
This is a lose-lose comment. On one hand, this assumes your friend is on the hunt when she may be content with single life. On the other hand, this comment is disempowering if your friend actually is seeking a relationship. It is the equivalent of saying “just sit and wait for someone.” Instead, affirm how much you care for your friend by continuing to do things you both love together and inviting her to events because you enjoy her company—not because you feel sorry for her.
What ever happened with [insert ex’s name here]?
This is one of the worst things you can say to your friend. When a relationship ends, there is usually some degree of sadness, even if your friend is the one who initiated the breakup. Dredging everything back up is hurtful. Skip this question. If she wants to talk about it, she will bring it up on her own.
You’re so lucky to be single!
Even if you are reminiscing about your own carefree days of singledom, no one wants to hear this. People in a relationship might think the independence of being single is preferable at times. Yet singles have all the responsibilities of life without someone to share them.
If you’d get out there, you’d find someone.
You have no idea what I’ve tried or how aggressive or passive I might be. Maybe I’m shy and it isn’t my personality to be the pursuer. Or maybe my workplace doesn’t put me in contact with many other singles. Still, there’s no harm in seeing if she’s open to meeting someone you know.
You should smile more or wear more makeup.
It is hard to imagine anyone finding these useful, but singles say they frequently hear these rude suggestions. This assumes that you are the all-knowing superior person who can diagnose the ‘problem’ and dole out advice about how to fix it. Plenty of single people don’t think they need to be fixed. And they’re right. Even singles who want to be coupled don’t always welcome unsolicited advice. Refrain from all attempts to teach your friend how to act or look, and respect and love her for her unique self.
You’re still young. You’ll find someone.
You are probably trying to make her feel good about herself, but this kind of remark usually backfires. She may think that she must look old. Why else would she feel the need to reassure me. Besides, age has no bearing on one’s ability to love or be loved, so don’t spout platitudes that only perpetuate this myth.
Maybe you’re meant to be single.
You don’t have a crystal ball any more than your friend does. People do not give up on lasting love simply because it hasn’t happened yet—same as we wouldn’t tell someone to give up on her dream at any age to go to college or start her own business or see the world. With a bit of common sense, this is one thought that should never be said aloud.