Sometimes being single isn’t easy, and it only gets more difficult when you’re surrounded by friends who seem to think launching into worn out, dusty platitudes will somehow make a single lady feel better.
Whether I’m happy about being single or not, however I’m feeling about my aloneness or loneliness, it can be assumed the last thing any woman needs is a “friend” who is now all-knowing simply because she has managed to keep a relationship going. I could go on about the individual things that violate that sanctity of what a friendship should ideally be when this happens, but none of us have the time, and so will settle for a desperate plea to end the dispensing of clichés, especially these ones:
1. The perfect person will come along when you least expect them!
No shit? When I least expect them? And here I was, sitting here like a schmuck with a sign reading, “Single Girl for Hire,” at the front door to my local tavern. I wondered why I got so many weird offers for sexual favors…thank goodness I, a single woman, have a friend who would point out the obvious!
Listen taken ladies, we don’t need to hear when it will happen for us. There are several reasons why. Firstly, we don’t know it will happen and actually neither do you, so sit down and tend your own relationship garden. Secondly, unless we brought it up, why are you saying this? And thirdly, if you are bringing it up, it’s likely we’ve been single for a while and are probably focused on other things, i.e. do not expect it, so we’ve surprisingly got it covered.
2. He just wasn’t the right one for you.
One of the mothers of all annoying prosaicisms anyone could hear after a break-up or in the middle of a dry spell, and a phrase that only serves to fuel an eventual distance between friends. Stop saying this. Do you know something, friends who say this? We know they were not right for us. Do you know how? Because we are not still with them. Astonishing, I know.
I don’t know if you are trying to fill the now cavernous silence between us at brunch, or show off how adept you are at understanding the inner-workings of compatibility, but whatever it is, this phrase doesn’t help and we’re all sick of hearing it.
3. I have a friend you might like.
I’m sure you do. I’m sure he’s just the greatest guy that you wouldn’t date otherwise you would be dating him. What’s unfortunate about this phrase is in my experience it has almost never come from somebody who has my best intentions at heart. During a short break with a boyfriend, in an epic, flailing tailspin of a downward spiral, I actually agreed to one of these setups suggested by one of these wretched people. She said he was a “total catch,” (mhm, right), and we would definitely hit it off.
When he picked me up, he was wearing Ed Hardy, had two children by different women, and before the end of dinner had confessed that upon being bored he had decided to give himself a Prince Albert. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention he was missing most of his front teeth.
Yes, everyone, my friend set me up with a guy who pierced his own dick, and was missing quite a few of his front teeth. A little bit about me: I’m not against body piercings. Do you. Just have it done by a professional. I also understand healthcare is difficult in this country and dental coverage is a nightmare, so I don’t fault him for that; who I fault is my friend, thinking a toothless, MMA loving, self-mutilator was my key to love. I guess this one is okay to say, but only if you actually are our friend.
4. I knew he was wrong for you from the beginning.
There are so many things wrong with saying this I’m not even sure where to start. It shouldn’t have to be said if you were our friend. If you were a friend, you’d have said it in the beginning. We’d have known the red flags you were seeing when we started dating said dipshit and whether we agreed or not, you would have done what any actual friend would do: warn us. Save this one.
5. You can hang out with us.
Ah, us. Your friend and her significant other are an us and they have so graciously extended poor, single you an invitation to…what, exactly? Watch how relationships are performed correctly? Pick up make out tips? Wallow in sadness as a happy couple frolic around you flipping you off because you couldn’t do the same?
Okay, hyperbolic, but what about this offer is appealing to a single person, especially if we are A.) Struggling with loneliness or B.) Don’t really know our friend’s significant other, a situation I have found myself in too many times to mention. We’re single, you’re not. No, we don’t want to watch you have a Netflix date with your dude. We want to gather our other single friends and go crazy in a club, or stay at home with our dog.
6. Have you tried online dating?
Maybe we have. Maybe we haven’t. Personally I haven’t because it scares the shit out of me, but I know plenty of people who have. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t at the urging of their friends, because we’re all adults here who make our own decisions.
To be fair, this one may be too subjective, but it does irritate me personally. No I haven’t tried it, and why do I need to? Am I taking too long to meet a date in class, at a bar, at the gym, etc.? Is it unbearable for you to meet up with me without the promise of comparing notes based on who has the messier boyfriend or, even cattier, who has the nicer and more caring boyfriend? If it is, maybe we should break up, I’m just sayin’.
7. There’s somebody for everybody.
Maybe there is, I really don’t know. I’ve known people who have died alone, people who have died in miserable marriages, and people who lived life as though they really found their soulmate. There have been times when I thought mine was chocolate, or beer, or adult onesies with footies on the bottom. Whether there is somebody for everybody or not, I’ve never expressed concern about an extreme need for romantic companionship to any of my friends, which is why it so disconcerting when this is said.
Relationships have ended, and some have really been painful, but I’ve dusted myself off like everybody else and moved on with my life. To say things like this operates under the assumption that we all just accept we have to couple up and die; I’ve never accepted this, and any real friend would know that.
Any real friend would know friendship is companionship. Family is companionship. Even in relationships romance does not last forever; you have to be friends. You have to have something more. There has to be something substantial under everything else to keep it going, otherwise it ends, and these women across the table at brunch end up single just like the rest of us, only they’re desperate for the platitudes. They recite to themselves hourly that it is always darkest before dawn, and there are other fish in the sea just to make it through work. They thrive on being around other couples because it allows them to see coupling in itself exists, and one day it will involve them.
And all of that is fine when it’s going on in their head, not when it turns into word vomit in public places where I cannot speak up at an appropriate volume to get my point across. Single is not desperate. Alone is not lonely. Companionship does not mean a significant other. And single women are, quite frankly, tired of feeling like some kind of project for their taken friends. We’re fine, and if we aren’t chance are we’ll seek help from people who don’t say shit like this.