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How do I answer the question 'why am I single?' 20-40-60 answers

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: June 30, 2010


Question: Dear 20-40-60,

I am a woman in her mid-thirties constantly being hassled by why I do not have a boyfriend or am not married.

Usually, I respond by telling people that you can have a fulfilling life still (career, friends, family). However, this only seems to make the other person want to argue their point further that I would be happier with a man in my life. I am tempted to just lie to people about my status. Ha!

Any helpful suggestions on a polite way to handle my response?

Callie’s answer: Yes, your life is still fulfilling but really?? Are you looking for that right person?

If you are, I would just simply say “I just haven’t found someone yet, but for the time being I am enjoying life by being with friends and family! I do have to say I love it for now!”

Being positive is always a better approach then argumentative.

Lillie-Beth’s answer: It probably gets tiring to hear the comments over and over, but can you laugh it off once you’ve explained that you’re happy?

One thing I used to say to deflect people from inquiring more about why a particular, expected stage in life wasn’t happening is “Oh, I’m not worried about it. XXX will happen if it’s supposed to when it’s the right time.” A statement like that doesn’t leave much room for additional comment.

If particular people commit the offense continually, then you’ll probably have to pull them over and tell them how you feel when they say things like that and to please stop. But a lie about your status would only lead to more explaining later, which is the last thing you’d want to do.

Helen’s answer:  It is a normal question to ask young people (mid-thirties is way young to me) about their boy friends or special people in their lives and I don’t think that people asking these questions mean to put the single person on the defensive. Your response should be as honest as possible. “No, I don’t have anyone special right now” should be good enough. You certainly don’t need to explain any further. They don’t need to know you just broke up with your fiancé or that no one has asked you out in two years or you are very content being single.

Keep it light and non-argumentative. Most people understand when the topic is closed and will not ask further questions.

Heather Warlick-Moore’s answer: The way I see it, you have two choices. Like you said, you could lie and say you’re seeing someone but that it’s not serious. I know lying isn’t usually right, but neither is nagging a happily single person. Or, you could just be completely honest about how it makes you feel when people harp on you about being single.

Say something like, “I know you only want the best for me but it really hurts me when you and others imply that I am not happy with my life. When and if the time is right, I will settle down. So, tell me, where did you find those cute shoes?” If you turn the conversation to focus on the person you’re talking to, chances are, they’ll be distracted from the original conversation.

Callie Gordon, a college junior,  was a 2009 debutante and has been in many new social situations recently. Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a former  debutante and currently the assistant features editor for The Oklahoman. Helen Wallace has written a social column for The Oklahoman for many years and has been on various local Ball committees. Heather Warlick-Moore is Mood editor.

This group does not always agree (via age differences), but they ALL see the need for proper behavior.
Ask a specific etiquette question and you will get three answers…Then you decide for yourself how you would handle the situation. The answers have information for every age range….Callie is 20-ish; Lillie-Beth is 40-something, and Helen is 60-plus.

Please email us with your questions and  follow us on Facebook, Twitter and daily blogs. We will try to answer your etiquette questions  weekly on the Parties Extra! blog. Sometimes we will ask other people for their opinions.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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