6 Things Not To Say To Single People, Even If You Think You Should

All right, y’all, honesty hour! I’ve been single for a long, long time. I’m usually the fifth wheel on group outings, I never get a plus one to weddings, and I’ve mastered the art of Tinder and all its dating app counterparts. None of these are things that bother me. I don’t mind being single and I’ve actually grown quite fond of my own company, but people who don’t know this about me often forget the things not to say to single people, and that's when my singledom starts to get to me. Not when I think about being single myself, but when other people point out the “negatives” to me. Like, OK, yes, I definitely want to hear about how my life would be so much more “fulfilling” if I had a boyfriend to buy me things! It’s my favorite thing to talk about, keep it coming!

Real talk though, no one likes to hear unsolicited criticism about their lifestyle, no matter what it is. Thankfully, we’re living in a mostly woke society where independence and singledom is not frowned upon (a concept!), but regardless, some people think it’s their place — no, their duty! — to tell you why you’re doing everything wrong and why they’re perfectly qualified to tell you how to fix it. Thank you, thrice-divorced Aunt Mary, for feeling the need to tell me exactly how to keep a man and why what I’m doing (even when I’m doing nothing!) is wrong, all wrong. Will be sure to remember that next time I swipe right!

If you’re reading this, in a relationship, and thinking, “Hmm, maybe I am too hard on [insert single friend’s name here],” then you’ve come to the right place. Think about the following, all-too-common tidbits of “advice” that you might be giving your single friends, that they honestly, probably, just don’t need or want. And if you are that single friend, then just laugh-cry with me at all the dumb things we hear on the reg.

1“You’re in prime baby-making time!”

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Sorry! I was under the impression that prime baby-making time was when I was ready to make said baby? Also, why do I need to be in a relationship to make a baby? What if I want to raise a baby by myself? Also, women can get pregnant well into their 40s! This comment also makes the assumption that I want a baby, which a lot of people don't!

There are several other things I want to do with my life before I have to completely devote it to a small child. This is just such an irrelevant thing to say to someone who’s single. It’s such an irrelevant thing to say to anyone, really!

2“Get a boyfriend/girlfriend/SO, so we can double date!”

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Oh, so that’s… that’s the only reason? Got it. Cool! Will, thanks.

No but actually, this is so selfish, even if you say it jokingly. It simultaneously rubs it in your single friend’s face that they are single, and you are not. (You know, in case they missed it.) Yes, I will get a significant other *just* for the sole purpose of double dating with you (which already sounds like a nightmare even if I did have someone to bring) so… hard pass.

3“I’d invite you, but it’s only couples.”

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You guys, this is so mean. I really can’t make this sh*t up. Once in a while, someone will tell you about all their amazing weekend plans, or about the fun party they’re going to that night, and they’ll hype it up until you start to really actually want to go, only to pull a, “You should totally come but you’ll probably be the only single person there and totally hate it!” What they really means is, “If you come, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and there will be no one there for you to flirt with so, like, stay home, but I’m going to tell you how excited I am about it anyways!” Love this! It’s my favorite, favorite thing!

4“You just have to find someone like my partner! They are so good to me.”

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When talking to my friends about my dating qualms, nine times out of 10, I’m venting. Maybe I’m looking for informed advice. But chances are I’m already upset about something, so I really don’t need to hear about how your partner is so perfect. That’s probably, like, the exact opposite of what I need to hear. In what actual world is that something that’s supposed to comfort me? This is just so beyond me. Please do not say this ever.

It's also worth mentioning that just because your SO is perfect for you, that doesn't mean that someone like them would be perfect for me. That's like assuming that everyone likes bananas, or, IDK, avocado toast. (But actually, who doesn't love avocado toast?)

5“I know it was just going to be us two, but can [insert SO’s name] come?”

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NO, THEY CAN’T COME. THEY CANNOT. Anyone who tells you that they’re OK with your SO tagging along on a pre-established one-on-one meeting is probably lying!

Let’s just… OK. Let’s just give your friend the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they made plans with you, but they haven’t seen their partner in a few days and they miss them, but they don’t want to cancel on you, but there is literally no other day they can see their partner. Still with me? So they think there will be no harm in asking you to include their partner, and they ask you, so that’s… nice. But if the roles were reversed and they had plans with their partner, chances are they probably would not ask them if it was OK to bring a friend along to a romantic date.

I know that relationships mean different things to different people, and I don’t want to diminish the importance of romantic relationships. But I think there is something to be said about respecting pre-made plans and making sure that everyone involved feels comfortable. And take it from me: Rarely does a third wheel feel comfortable. It’s also just not nice to essentially drag a partner into someone else’s plans. It isn’t just your plans you’re affecting — it’s mine too, and now I can’t talk to you about all the horrible dates I’ve been on, or about how painful my bikini line razor bumps are, or about why I can’t stand any of the men on The Bachelorette this season! And like, isn’t that just the whole point of friendship?!

6“I can’t even imagine what it must be like to use dating apps.”

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This comment confuses me, because it paints dating apps as being a horrible thing when really, they’re great. (So many eligible people all in one place!) It also makes the non-single friend seem “so beyond” dating apps, because they just “can’t even imagine” how hard dating in today’s technology-driven world must be, because they are so, so lucky (much luckier than you) to have found their perfect someone before the days of right-swiping.

Online dating can be hard, yes, but only in the same way that dating always has been — in finding someone who feels like the right fit. But that’s the same issue you’d have off dating apps, too. And if the comment is in reference to all the downsides of online dating, there are downsides to dating people you meet IRL! Like, for example, how hard it can be to find someone, because everyone is busy with their own lives, so they (surprise!) go on dating apps!

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Dating can be hard. It can be really fun, annoying, frustrating, and exciting all at the same time. But it is usually really hard to find someone who feels like a good investment of time and feelings. If your single friend hasn’t found that person yet, please don’t make them feel like that’s a bad thing, because chances are, they’re doing just fine. People want different things, and just because what they want isn’t what you want, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If we want to be good friends to others, we need to make a conscious effort to think about what that means. Making someone feel bad about their lifestyle is definitely not the way to do that, even if it isn’t your intention.

Next time you’re hanging out with your single friends one-on-one, talk about something else — perhaps something they’re really proud of. Job promotions, moving, travel, and yes, even dates, are all good options. Talking about sex and dating is such a great way to bond, so when you do, make sure it’s in a way that makes everyone in the conversation feel good and included!

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