5 things not to say to single gals

One of them is Put Yourself Out There!

You smug married couples (and couples in general) take note. There are at least five things you do not say to single women. We know your intentions may be good and you think you are providing well meaning advice but your words can do more damage than good.

Let me explain.

I have been single now for 14 months. During that time (and without meaning to sound like a soapbox. I love getting personal don’t I?) I have done a lot of soul searching and personal self-discovery. I consider myself to be in the best place I have ever been spiritually, emotionally and mentally. My career is on track and I have met some amazing people over the last year. Thanks to the breakdown of my previous relationship, I have really put myself out there but not in the way some people expect I should have.

Some people are surprised when I am not at a pub or club on a Friday or Saturday night. Apparently, as a single woman still “young” enough to do so, this is how I am meant to be putting myself out there every weekend. This, I am told is the way to meet someone, to meet that special man who could possibly become my future husband. Well, I’m sorry but I am not interested in going out just to try and meet a man. If you ask me, it’s a good invitation to have to put up with witnessing some overworked single (or married) bloke who has not had sex in a while try and hit on any girl for a one night stand. OK that may sound very cynical of me and I am NOT implying all men are out for those reasons (and yes I do know of females who do go out for those reasons too) but let me flick the light bulb on for you smug couples. I am not that sorta gal and NEVER have been, even in my twenties.

Before you all judge me for thinking I am the biggest nerd on the planet (although if you have read my Coming of age post, you already have), I love going out. I love nothing better than to sit in a beer garden having a glass of wine or two (or more) with friends. I love eating out at restaurants and socialising with people. But it does not have to be on the traditional Friday or Saturday night. I prefer to do that on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and then go home and enjoy my night in. I enjoy staying in, reading books, doing yoga and most of all, writing. And I am very content to do this on a Saturday night while the rest of Melbourne gets drunk. I prefer to go on little road trips to visit friends who live by the sea, to wake up sprightly in the mornings to go for a run or bike ride and I enjoy indulging in the wondrous cultural delights that the city I live in has to offer. Who wants to put up with screaming, immature Generation Y brats on a Saturday night and have to haggle to get a taxi? Not me. I am content being immersed in my own company as I recognise I am a solitary person. But DO NOT mistake me for living like a hermit.  Yes I do have plenty of friends and hell, I have been too busy lately getting up at 5am on weekends to go on training hikes for my upcoming OXFAM trail walk.

Since the day I became a single gal again, I have put myself out there by focusing on my career and investing a great deal into my professional and personal development. Last year I completed many extra curricular courses including writing and editing. I have learnt a lot about Web 2.0, the new age of the internet and social media. I attended some spiritual and crystal workshops and I found aromatherapy. I have also read many books about the mindsets of the most successful people on the planet and I continue to read. That is how I choose to live my life, not by going out getting drunk every weekend. I have no issue living this way and I am comfortable with it so why should it bother other people? But then it must be bothering me because here I am telling you about it.

I was recently at my married cousin’s house for dinner. After settling on the couch with a couple of wines, she then said to me “what are you doing here with me on a Friday night?” Let me tell you her words stung me.  For goodness sake I DO go out and I DO GO out on Friday nights, but please, do I have to go out every Friday night?

I stayed in a previous Saturday night. A certain person, who has a boyfriend, said I should be going out.  Mind you, I did have a night out the previous Saturday. But I forgot, us singledoms are meant to be out every weekend aren’t we?  It is getting really frustrating and I wish people would stop speculating what I should and should not be doing with my time just because of my marital status. It’s like me asking childless married couples questions such as why they do not have any kids or when are they going to have children? I could quip back with saying they must not be having enough sex. But I don’t because I am mature enough to know that isn’t the reason why (in most cases anyway). What’s the difference? It’s the same thing and it is just as frustrating for childless couples to be faced with those questions as it is for me to be told what I should or not should not be doing simply because I am single.

I want to meet my future husband more than anything in the world. And I do understand in order to meet him, you do need to put yourself out there. But I have no doubt he is walking towards me as I write this and I am attracting him into my experience. He will show up when the time is right but in the meantime I will continue to indulge in those things that provide me with much enjoyment and pleasure.

Karin Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Concordia University Chicago, says the message to singles tends to be that they’re doing something wrong, ‘You’re too this’ or ‘You’re not enough that.’ Being single is treated as this problem that needs to be solved,” says Anderson. “That’s really bogus. We should be telling single women, ‘You’re fine. There’s nothing wrong. Enjoy your life.'”  Hallelujah, thank you Professor! There is nothing wrong me with after all.

These five snippets of well-meaning advice to singles top Anderson’s list of worst offenses. Couples take note. Here’s why.

1) What’s Said: MAYBE YOU’RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH.

What’s Heard: “This can come off sounding like you’re passing judgment on effort,” says Anderson. “It’s better to encourage a single person to explore new relationships to the extent they are comfortable and to extend themselves in ways that feel natural and not forced.”

2) What’s Said: WEAR MORE MAKEUP.

What’s Heard: More than implying that the search for Mr. Right is as easy as brushing a spot of color onto the cheeks, this comment offends further by actually attacking a person’s core identity. “A woman presents herself according to what she defines as meaningful. Whether her style is glamorous belle or au naturelle, every woman should be allowed to be herself. There’s a man out there who is going to be attracted to her style, whatever it is. If she’s presenting herself as anyone other than who she really is, that’s false advertising and that’s going to backfire.”

3) What’s Said: GET BACK OUT THERE!  Yep, I get this one all the time.

What’s Heard: This can send the signal that the single person is simply not doing enough speed or Internet or blind dating, or worse, that she isn’t living a full enough life. “Singles are not by definition hiding out in their closets curled up in the fetal position all day,” says Anderson. “Most are likely working, meeting friends out for dinner and events, working out.”

4) What’s Said: YOU’RE TOO PICKY.  My mother tells me this constantly.

What’s Heard: This implies that at some point, a point that the single friend or loved one has reached, she is no longer allowed to be discriminating, says Anderson. “This sends single women the message that their time to be choosy is up, that it’s now time to go out and pick up any chump.”

5) What’s Said: TONE IT DOWN A NOTCH.

What’s Heard: You ask too many questions. You’re too intimidating. You’re overly opinionated. You’re too consumed with work. “This is interpreted by single women to mean that they have to dial down their core identity a notch in order to attract potential suitors and make them feel comfortable,” says Anderson. “Suggesting that a woman reduce the fullness of who she is to lure a mate will lead to an inauthentic connection, and is a recipe for a disastrous relationship or marriage. Because really, how long can any person fake it and maintain a facade?” (Source)

Before my couple friends quip back with “fine, we won’t give you anymore advice” or “don’t ask me for my help again”, listen up. I will gladly listen to anyone who can provide constructive feedback without the “should’s” or judgments.

It appears I do not fit into some people’s expectations of what they think a single woman should be doing. It’s time to stop the judgments and let people evolve naturally. We were all born single but luckily for some people, they end up meeting their partners much earlier and have a far easier journey than others. Good on them I say. Some of us have a longer journey to travel before the Universe allows us to settle down with The One. Just leave me to travel the journey on my own terms thank you.

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~ by Shae on February 1, 2010.

13 Responses to “5 things not to say to single gals”

  1. Oh Shaeby, I am so offended you labelled me a smug married… ha ha ha he he he. Just kidding! I love this blog. I actually think it’s my favourite. I totally think that everyone should just let others live their own journey and they should only be concerned about their own. I think you have more chance of finding Mr Right than the people desperately searching for someone in a bar. The reason is because you are loving yourself and what you do, that will attract someone much more perfect for you that someone who the only thing you have in common is the bar you met at.

    Well done Shae. Another fine post from a fine writer with a life that is just fine the way it is! 🙂

  2. I was a single girl for a long time who went out a LOT, pretty much every weekend and every chance I got. And then, when I got tired of doing that and wanted to have a break from the whole thing and do something for me, I went travelling to South America with an awesome friend who I always have a great time with and then BAM, I met my lovely Andrew, who lived in England at the time but who now lives in Melbourne with me. To be sure, this is not a “smug couple” story, but this is a real story of someone who held out for the right one and didn’t settle and then got really really lucky by fate of circumstance, while doing something I love and that brings out my best (travelling). My message is Never Ever Settle, He is There. For a long time I didn’t think he was but now He is, better than I ever expected.

  3. nice one Shae, love the blog. xxx

  4. Good on you Shae, “Mr Right” is out there and you don’t have to go “clubbing and pubbing” just to find him.

  5. I can totally relate to this Shae, you described the pressure to conform to an expectation that some in society have of singles perfectly. Its comforting to know I am not alone. Walk a mile in someone elses shoes is all I can say for those who are quick to judge.

  6. Hi Shaeby. I’m a big believer that you don’t need to go to a pub on a Friday or Saturday night (or any night for that matter) to meet the one. I met mine out camping where there was not meant to be any new people coming along. What a surprise! I also believe that you need to be in a good place personally before you can open yourself up to love and meeting that special someone. It sounds like you are on the right path!
    In saying this, I also believe that you can find love in a pub. Many years ago, I found a man I loved very much, on a Friday night down the pub. I think you will find that many married couples (smug or not) have found love this way and that is why they think that you could too. They are just drawing from their own experiences, or others, as we all do when giving advice. They can’t be judged either but they should be mindful of the type of person they are giving this GENERAL advice too. Were they aware that you don’t like going to the pub on Friday and Saturday nights? Just a question. They may very well have been….. Anyway, I used to love going to the pub on any day or night of the week and I wasn’t there to find a man. I was there to have fun with friends and if a man happened to come into my life this way, then that was a bonus. I still love going to the pub any day or night. You know me! But it is definitely not for a man. It’s to get away! Just kidding:-)
    Keep living your life the way you want to live it and however it makes you happy. That is what friends and family want for you. Nothing more, nothing less. xx

    • I enjoy going to the pub. In fact I love it. And I go to have fun not to meet a man. But hey I would have no problem if I met my future husband at a pub. That’s not my point. My frustration lies with certain couples/people who think because I am single, I should be at the pub or out every weekend and wonder why I choose to have nights in. They then judge for me not putting myself out there when I do not go out and believe by choosing to stay in I will not meet anyone. It’s ignorance and shows a lack of respect.

      • I feel the need to rebut. Juicy! 🙂 I completely got your point! And maybe I shouldn’t have said that you don’t like going out on a Friday and Saturday night. I should have used the words ‘prefer to go to go out for a drink and socialise during the day’. Everyone takes in information (blogs etc.) in a different way. They absorb parts of the writing that has hit a cord for them (as you have done with my reply). I wrote that you didn’t like going out on a Friday and Saturday night because you had written ‘who wants to put up with screaming, immature Generation Y brats on a Saturday night and have to haggle to get a taxi? Not me.’ That is the comment that stayed in my mind when I wrote my reply.
        I was also drawing from my own experiences (as we do!) and reiterating your point that you can come across your special someone anywhere (at a pub or anywhere else). I was also defending the married couples to a degree. I had been single for a very long time and I came across the same pressures. As you had said, they may have had good intentions but it can be hurtful. To push through those times, I allowed myself to understand that they are only drawing from their own experiences (and others experiences) and only wanted the best for me. I don’t think it is possible to stop this from happening but you can pull them up in their tracks by saying that ‘I’m getting out there in other ways and that I don’t need to be out on the town and drunk for that’. You can’t argue with fact! Well there’s some more advice from a married woman ha ha. Just what you didn’t want:)
        Anyway, this is purely my view and you definitely don’t have to agree with it. We all look at life, and live our lives in different ways. That’s what makes it all so INTERESTING! xx

      • Love the advice. And I love what you have to say 🙂 I do understand your point of view but I also know that you are not a judgmental person either.

      • Thank you for your kind comments Shae – the blog thing is new to me, but I must say I am impressed by your incisive style. The set up is great too – keep up the good work. We hope to see you soon – make sure you have turned into that butterfly!!!

  7. The right man comes along when you are busy & confident.
    While you have been busy sorting your issues out he has been doing the same so when you get together those problems of the past are dealt with. I believe that and God will put him across my path when I least expect it. So keep going, keep positive and if you stay in on Friday, who cares others are just jealous.
    Use what people say as a positive and don’t take it personally.
    You have a different plan to them that’s all.
    Chin up, your fine.
    I am going out Saturday and anyone who lives in the Dandenongs watch out, church people can have great fun and make lots of noise. We will party till dawn.
    God Bless Bronie

  8. I think the issue is broader than just un-attached girls – I am sure there are many men out there also who find themselves stereotyped by their attached friends as needing to ‘get out and into it’. There is a common misconception that there is some social status involved in being in a relationship – the divorce rates in our country show otherwise. Far too many people throw themselves into a relationship simply ‘not to be alone’. They are willing to accept partnerships with incompatabilities in the hope that their partner will change… and the odds are against that. Its almost like ‘Its better to be married and divorced than to be have never been married at all….’ As one who has been through a messy divorce, I can categorically disagree with that! I was 38 when I met the wonderful lady who became my second wife – so don’t let anyone fool you that the clock is ticking…. it wouldn’t have mattered if I was 50 when I met her. Take your time, get it right and don’t compromise to appease others. Revel in your individuality and protect it at all costs – whether Mr (or Mrs) ‘Right’ comes along at 15 or 50 is immaterial – its the journey towards finding each other that makes us who we are….

  9. The only person we really need to marry is ourself. Single life is such a rich gift and you are truly making the most of this time to evolve your life into something that you can be deeply proud of. I know that loneliness can surface and the ‘wondering’ can toss one about a bit but the preparation that one does now is what creates the next pass and its going to be amazing. And right now you are amazing too, and it shows through in your writing. Brava!!

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