There are a lot of great things about being single — a sense of freedom and independence, not being held accountable to a partner, and being able to take a dip into the dating pool (if that’s even what you want at this point in your life). But it’s not all positives. And if there’s one thing that single people despise most, it’s being asked the dreaded question: Why are you single? Unfortunately, it’s a question that comes up often (like at pretty much every social gathering). Still, figuring out how to answer “why are you single?” doesn’t get any easier.
IMO, it's wild that people still think it's appropriate to even ask this question. But there nonetheless will always be that one distant relative, coworker, or friend who comes up to you at the holiday party and utters those cringeworthy words. Even when they follow it up with a compliment like, “Because you're just so great,” it doesn't make the situation any less awkward or annoying.
Not to mention, it leads to a serious lull in the conversation. I mean, it’s hard enough to know what to say when someone asks if you're single, figuring out how to respond when they ask why is even harder. Here’s the good news: I’ve collected plenty of answer options for you to make that unbearably awkward question a little more bearable.
So the next time someone asks you why you’re still single, feel free to use any one of the following expert-approved responses.
1. “I'm focusing on my career.”
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson says she encourages “people to talk about the things in their lives that they are excited about.” If that’s your career, then kudos to you. And if the time comes when you do meet someone special, “[You] will choose partnership when [you] find someone who values [you] and is willing to put in the same amount of work [you] are.”
2. “I'm just not settling.”
This is a solid response because you’re explaining your needs and expectations from a future partner. For example, Richardson suggests saying something along the lines of, “I'm just not into settling. The person I'm looking forward [to meeting] is working on having the kind of life they are just as excited about as I am about mine.”
Richardson tells Elite Daily that if your goal is to find someone who brings more happiness and positive vibes into your world, it’s tough work. It calls for you to be more “selective” and not settle for anything less, but the result is well worth it.
3. “Weddings are expensive, and I have expensive taste in vacations, clothes, and footwear.”
As Carrie Bradshaw once said on Sex and the City, “I like my money right where I can see it — hanging in my closet.”
4. “Yeah, it's terrible being able to date any person I want.”
If it’s an appropriate time to throw a little bit of shade, this response is sassy and sarcastic. Mic drop.
5. “I don't need a partner to prove that I’m worth something.”
You're thriving in every aspect of your life. Why would you need a partner to show that? Richardson tells Elite Daily, “I love this [response] and I hope that anyone who says it means it. Truly believing in your own value sets you up for a much healthier relationship. When you rely on your romantic relationship for your self-esteem, it drains it and sets it on a really unhealthy path.”
6. “Why don't we talk about my job promotion instead?”
Why is it that without a partner, nothing else seems to matter? Your single status shouldn’t take away from all of the other amazing things that are going on in your life.
“The truth is, there are often people in our lives that don't understand us and the life we are building,” says Richardson. “Especially if it is a family member, it can feel as though you can't simply cut them out. When this happens, it's important to take a deep breath and tell them about all the positive things you have made happen and that you're proud of.”
7. “I'd rather have a significant income than a significant other.”
You can take care of yourself all by yourself, thank you very much.
8. “I'm fabulous, and I haven't found anyone equally as fabulous, that's why.”
You're really just telling it like it is. Again, you’re not in a rush to be in a relationship and life is far too short to settle for anything you’re not completely happy with.
9. “I'm in a passionate love affair with myself.”
It's a party of one, and that's the only party you're after. Thomas Edwards, Jr., Transformational Coach at thomasedwardsjr.com, tells Elite Daily that he especially likes responses that focus on self-love.
“If you’re being real and choosing not commit to anyone but yourself, that’s great,” he explains.
10. As Cher Horowitz says, “You see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.”
You can always count on Cher Horowitz from Clueless to tell it like it is. You might be picky because you don’t want to be in a relationship simply for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s like finding the right pair of shoes: it may require a lot of searching, but once you do find them, you know it was worth the effort.
11. “I'm not single. I'm married to food.”
As Edwards says, "The question [someone asks about why you’re still single] is so ridiculous, an even more ridiculous answer is needed sometimes.”
12. “I don't know. Why are you still married?”
If they want to ask the hard questions, you go ahead and ask them right back.
13. “My dad didn't have enough sheep and wheat for my dowry.”
“No man shall ever marry ye!” This response may even get a laugh out of the person who asks you why you’re single.
14. “So far, every person I've met has been unimpressive.”
This response is best delivered completely deadpan. If they’re not impressing you, why waste your time? You could be cuddling with your pup for a movie night instead.
15. “Well, it's likely because I haven't found the right person yet.”
For this particular response, Richardson says it can come across as a bit defensive. It’s all about presentation, and Richardson stresses to never settle. “Life is too short and the people we surround ourselves with are really important to our quality of life. Staying selective and not settling should be a source of pride not shame.”
16. “When I’m ready to be in a relationship, I have no doubt I will find my person.”
This response suggested by Edwards is straight and to the point. “The main idea is to center your answer around why your life is great right now just the way it is and to not let anyone else’s pressure be your own,” he says.”
17. “I still haven't met a person who is as good as prime rib tastes.”
And prime rib is expensive, too.
18. “Single is the new black.”
I mean, you're just being trendy.
19. “Harry Styles is already taken.”
Sad but true.
20. “I can't commit to a dinner reservation, let alone another human being.”
It's all about priorities. Obviously.
21. “I’m enjoying this time in my life when I get to focus on myself and becoming whole as a person.”
This is another awesome response suggested by Edwards. It’s all about self-love, people. Loving yourself before you welcome someone else into your world is key.
22. “My arranged marriage is just around the corner.”
Again, a deadpan delivery here will go far.
23. “I'm busy focusing on myself and don’t have time to devote to someone else.”
This one is straightforward and to the point. Being in a relationship might not even be on your radar right now, and that’s perfectly OK.
24. “Why settle for one partner when I can date around?”
At this point in your life, you may be swimming in the dating pool and having a great time doing it. You’re learning what’s really important to you, your likes, and your dislikes when it comes to a future partner.
25. “My shows are far more interesting than any date I've been on.”
(I mean, have you seen Regé-Jean Page?) Dating can be a struggle, and you’ll likely deal with a lot of frogs before you find the one you’re meant to be with. But, hey, at least Netflix and HBO are always loyal companions.
26. “Honestly, being single is really fun.”
Richardson says if you’re perfectly content with this single stage in your life, embrace it to the fullest. “No one can make you happy but you. It is wonderful to be bold enough to create the life you want, not everyone is brave enough to do that,” she tells Elite Daily.
27. “I'm more into the title of CEO than partner.”
You’re focusing on reaching your goals, and that’s entirely your choice. Edwards does make it a point to say, though, “I have had plenty of clients who came to me saying they focused on their career and as a result, are having a hard time getting into a relationship. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. It is possible to have everything you want in your life without waiting for one domino to fall.”
28. “I'm dating myself — why would I need a partner?”
You are the best dinner date and Netflix and shopping companion, after all.
29. “I'm pretty certain I'm ‘The One.’ So, there's that.”
Now, this response deserves some applause. Plus, it sounds a lot like the Lizzo lyric, “I’m my own soulmate.” And who doesn’t want to emulate Lizzo?
30. “Want to ask my ex? I can give you their number.”
The “why are you single?” question is rude and ridiculous, so your answer can be both of those things, too. If it makes them feel uncomfortable, then they’ll know how you feel. Sounds fair to me.
31. “That’s a bold question.”
There’s no rule saying that you have to answer their question. You can simply comment on their decision to ask it. Hopefully, they’ll learn from this and stay quiet next time they’re curious about someone’s single status.
32. “I think I misheard you. I thought you asked, ‘Why are you still single?’”
Another way to point out how ludicrous this question is: pretend you misheard it. Maybe it’ll remind them of some of their missing social graces.
33. “I’d rather be picky now than unhappy later.”
When it comes to finding your person, it’s a good idea to take your time. And, TBH, it’s a much better option than rushing it and ending up with someone you are less compatible with.
You don’t really owe anyone an explanation about your relationship status. But if you feel like using a clever rebuttal the next time someone makes an encounter awkward by asking you why you're single “because you’re just so great,” refer to this list.
Nicole Richardson, marriage and family therapist
Thomas Edwards, Jr., Transformational Coach at thomasedwardsjr.com
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