What Not To Say To Your Single Friends. Like, Ever.

– Posted in: dating

I love all my friends dearly. And while I know they never mean any offense, I’ve received a few comments lately that stung something fierce. So here is my personal PSA of what not to say to a single someone without a certain someone in their life. Ahem.

1) “You know what you need? To get laid.”
I’ve heard this one twice in the past few weeks alone and both times I winced. (Also, I have had sex within the last few months, so cut me some slack). It should be noted that both offenders are over-the-moon in their relationships. In all honesty, I couldn’t be happier for both of my friends, but like anyone else who ever navigated their way through the dating pool, they each had to kiss some frogs before meeting their Prince Charmings.

It’s not like I pull out my finest muumuus to hit the clubs or that I’ve been hiding under rocks waiting for my knight in shining armor to come find me. Dating is hard. And getting laid? Even harder. I have prospects, but I don’t think getting laid is the answer to all life’s problems. If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I’m not exactly one foot in a monastery, but my search has taken a bit of a turn lately. I want to find something a bit more substantial, so saying something like that is mean and a bit self-righteous.

2) “You should find yourself a boyfriend.”
I’m sorry, did I miss a sale at the Men’s Wearhouse? Or maybe I didn’t RSVP in time for the Available Boyfriend Convention? Perhaps I should head down to the docks and see what Male Imports have arrived.

3) “Maybe you are just too picky.”
Right! I suppose you mean to tell me that I should have given crusty horse penis guy a second chance. How about the stalker who asked me to move in on our first date? Or the guy who cut me off after our second date? Sometimes a mutual attraction just isn’t there and I have to live with that, but accusing me of being the one to let all the good ones go is unfair. I firmly believe I’ll know when I meet Mr. Right and no, I will not settle just for the sake of having a relationship…any relationship.

4) “Maybe you’re not looking in the right places.”
I hate to admit this, because I know they say it happens when you least expect it, but I’m always looking. In line at the health food store. On the path train after a hectic day at work. In my bikram yoga class (though I’m not sure I want to meet someone when I drip sweat from my ears), and on the Internet, since I signed up with OkStupid months ago.

But when people say this, it again fills me with insecurity and sometimes self-doubt. It makes me feel I’m to blame for not hanging out where all the men are secretly hiding. Seriously, where else should I look? The Apple store? A biker bar? Rush concert?!

5) “This is a great wedding! There’s only one thing missing: [name of ex-boyfriend].”
I wish I were kidding about this one. What makes this even worse is that it came from a family member. Though I’m sure he meant well, he suffers terribly from foot-in-mouth syndrome and I had to let it slide. But throughout this entire exchange I stared at him like a deer in headlights while my brain screamed: “DON’T SAY IT! DON’T SAY IT! DON’T SAY IT!”

Mentioning the ex’s name to someone clearly dolled up at a wedding (or at home stuffing her face with peanut butter cups) is a complete no-no. DO NOT remind your single friends of their old flames while they are trying a new normal on for size.

6) “I know what you should try! SPEED DATING!”
I wrote a particular post about this once. Of all the ways to discover other fish in the sea, this one probably interests me the least. I just imagine myself lying in a puddle of sweat or hyperventilating in a brown paper bag at the end of the last round.

Also, if you are in a relationship, please refrain from giving those of us NOT in a relationship unsolicited advice on where to meet men. I shave my legs more now than I ever did when I had a boyfriend–just in case–and I feel like that should count for something.

And don’t you dare tell me I just need to get laid.

46 Comments… add one
Gia September 7, 2011, 1:14 PM

Amen sista’….!

Brian K. September 7, 2011, 1:34 PM

To answer your question “Do you think I’m overreacting/being too sensitive?” I actually am getting a mildly angry vibe from this, although I am sure you don’t mean it at all, lol.

Charlotte September 7, 2011, 1:54 PM

Yea, that was unintentional. Maybe just the result of hearing people say the same things repeatedly over and over. And while I’m sure they mean well, there is a bit of tact that should be used in such situations πŸ™‚

Hutch September 7, 2011, 2:01 PM

I hear ya, I really really do! Although, I readily admit I need to get laid, especially since I can’t even count in months anymore. Ugh.

Coupled people seem to forget how hard it gets, or they never had to date after college when there’s no longer a pool of guys to choose from on a nightly basis. This might be one of the main reasons I wouldn’t mind going back πŸ™‚

Galit Breen September 7, 2011, 2:20 PM

Ugh. I’m scouring my brain- have I said these things?! Such great advice!!

Hang in there sister!


Nicole September 7, 2011, 2:26 PM

First of all, your tone is exactly as it should be. Because it IS angering, annoying, insulting. People tend to forget what it’s like to be single, or, as Hutch said, maybe they never had to date in their 30s. So, you should not apologize for how this post may or may not come off. They should apologize to you for being insensitive.

Happily coupled or not, sensitivity goes a long way. And those closest to you should know the struggles and frustrations you’ve been facing, the hard road you’ve been down and have traveled with such grace and dignity… maybe they need to think back to how they felt before their significant others came into their lives. I’m ridiculously happy, but that doesn’t mean that I (or anyone else) should off-handedly brush your frustrations aside with inane and obviously stupid responses.

Don’t you DARE settle. Be picky, Girl. You are smart, courageous, sweet, beautiful, talented, kind-hearted, funny… I could go on and on. You BETTER be picky! πŸ˜‰ Because let me tell you, the man who winds up meeting you in the laundromat, supermarket, train, or wherever you bump into him, is going to be the lucky one.

And sometimes (though I’m not 100% sure who has said these things to you) you simply need to consider the source. Not everyone is a font of support and wisdom. πŸ˜‰ xoxox

Rebecca September 7, 2011, 3:00 PM

I’ve had this same internal dialogue when I talk to some of my single friends. I would never say it out loud. Huge no no!

One Bad Pixie September 7, 2011, 3:06 PM

A friend with benifits can go a long way. Sex with no strings attached can be quite liberating. Otherwise, go out and do the things YOU enjoy. Have a great time and soon others will be flocking along following you, trying to find out what the fun is all about.

BE the life of every party (in a good way of course!) and you won’t be the one of the fish in the ‘pool’ the men have to choose from- instead you will have a ‘pool of men’ of your own to choose from. As Nicole said- Be PICKY! It’s one of the only ways you will ever get, exactly what you wanted…

Salt September 7, 2011, 3:17 PM

::standing ovation::
I clearly remember all of these things being said to me when I was single. I also clearly remember wanting to kick in the shin anyone who said them to me.

PS. You are lucky if you have anyone even moderately decent to look at in your Bikram class.

Mark September 7, 2011, 3:19 PM

I know, I’m late to this blog so help me catch up. “Crusty horse penis guy”? Did that post come with photos by chance?
I haven’t dated in over 21 years so I don’t know the first thing about it. And I would hardly call it “dating” by the way.
All that said, I’m sorry that I have no good advice for you. What’s your type? Okay, I got some advice! If you put yourself out there letting people know exactly what you want and what you are about(be honest), maybe that will bring in one or two. But you must be absolutely honest. How’s that? I’m trying!

Bonda84 September 7, 2011, 4:18 PM

These things would get to me too…especially when they seem to be on constant repeat from people. Lately I think the one comment that has been made was by my Mom. I’ve been talking to her about things with Zac (my parents both know him very well) and she said “now if you two could have only figured this attraction thing out a long time ago you could have saved a lot of pain and trouble”. I know she meant it in a lighthearted way, but it irked me. If the time would have been right back then it would have happeded, but it didn’t, it’s happening now and I can’t nor would I change it. I think we all have those loved ones and friends that have foot in mouth disease and don’t always realize it. Keep on keeping on the way you are!! You are an intelligent, funny, gorgeous woman and someday you will be standing in the right place at the right time and look into that pair of eyes that were made just for you and you will begin your happily ever after.

EmilyinNYC September 7, 2011, 4:25 PM

I agree with Nicole — your tone is fine. I’ve had people say all of these things to me before, and no matter what their intention is, it always hurts. People either don’t know, or seem to forget, how hard it is to find a mate. When it finally happens it seems easy, but it’s so hard to imagine when you’re smack in the middle of your search.

As far as being picky — it’s called having standards, people!!! No one should have to date crusty horse penis guy.

Sarshie September 7, 2011, 4:40 PM

How about “I just don’t understand why you’re single! You’re such a great gal!” — While this is probably meant to be a compliment, it often makes me feel insecure. Like apparently all the eligible men find something about me repulsive that my close friends and coworkers do not see.

(FL) Girl with a New Life September 7, 2011, 7:36 PM

Ha! I was holding my breath hoping I didn’t make it on this list. πŸ˜‰

I am sure I got all of this advice–I was a single hold on for a long time.

@ms_jones74 September 7, 2011, 9:09 PM

Sex with no strings is almost never sex with no strings, on our end.

I have actually walked away from, “GOD I just don’t know how you single girls do it! Thank GOD I am married/have been married since the beginning of time. It’s just so ROUGH out there, I mean, MY GOD.”

Thanks. I just… thanks.

I’ve come to realize that coupled people begin to feel like they no longer have things in common with you, like you two never liked the same movies or the same restaurants or had the same gripes about life before they met their smoochiewoochiepoo. I think they feel uncomfortable and they want you to have this one huge thing in common with them again and they want to do everything they can to “fix your problem.”
The only problem is… this isn’t a problem. So it can’t be fixed. It just IS, and we live around it, just like they live around their “IS”.

Maria September 7, 2011, 11:59 PM

When I was single, I couldn’t stand when people would say… “You’re such a sweet girl. I can’t believe you don’t have a boyfriend.” What they really wanted to say is… “what is wrong with you?” I also hated people trying to set me up with their brothers, or friends, or cousins, etc.., then get “mad” or pushy if you refuse. I know they meant well, but it felt more like pity. And the thing I couldn’t stand the most was when people would say how awesome, sweet, and just amazing their mates were right in front of you. Bragging about their relationships knowing full well you were not in one and you didn’t know what you were missing. It was not so much about jealously, but frustration about how insensitive people in couples can be sometimes.

Sandra September 8, 2011, 1:35 AM

I had to laugh at the “not hanging out where all the men are secretly hiding”…I have this vision of men hiding behind magazines and under tables…I wish most of them would stay hidden, but then again I’m a jadded married woman. You can still find a man who doesn’t fall asleep on the couch at 10pm…or maybe mine isn’t actually sleeping, only hiding…hmmmm….there’s a theory…

My Inner Chick September 8, 2011, 1:49 AM

So Annoying. And you know what? I’ve probably said that to some of my friends as well. Damn, I’m annoying as hell.
After reading this, I’ll watch my tongue from now on… thanks.

Alison@Mama Wants This September 8, 2011, 2:10 AM

I hear ya. When I was single, I would get the ‘You are too picky’ line A. LOT. I have a right to my standards. I’m not so desperate I’d settle for just anyone who came along.

The worst line I heard? “What’s wrong with you that you’re single?”

Yes, bitch slap, anyone?

I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about dating! And I’ll be super sensitive around my single friends after this post.

Krysten September 8, 2011, 8:41 AM

I remember before I got married having friends say this stuff to me. Not. Cool.

Blond Duck September 8, 2011, 12:08 PM

They sound like total B’s to me!

Hannah September 8, 2011, 1:24 PM

I can’t STAND when people throw me the “it’ll happen when you least expect it!!” Or, another variation, “you’ll meet someone when you’re not even trying to!” Sooo…what? Should I not try to?

My friends have reached a point where they know that when I begin talking about my singlehood, all they need do is listen. I’m not looking for reassurance. I don’t need advice. I am wholly uninterested in their thoughts on what I should do or could do or am not doing quite enough of. Because frankly? None of them are in my shoes. They get that now, but it’s taken some time and many a “Shut the f*ck up” looks from moi.

Diana September 8, 2011, 3:11 PM

I’ve heard all of these excuses before. Before I got married though. But at the time when people told me the same things, I remember always getting irritated inside but at the same time trying to keep my cool. You’re not overreacting at all. Sometimes, the people who told me those things got into pretty bad relationships..and the funny/bad thing was I was secretly laughing at them. So it’s a win-win situation! Bad of me to laugh at them, but hey, in a way they deserved it! πŸ™‚

One Bad Pixie September 8, 2011, 5:43 PM

@ms_jones74 says:

Sex with no strings is almost never sex with no strings, on our end.

It is, only what you make of it.

From one Pixie to another- Have you or any of your friends ever considered the thought- you may be perfectly happy being single? Ask your friends what they can’t stand about their mate. They may not answer at first, but then OMG the floodgates open wide and Holy Hell!!!!

If you are single, be blessed that you don’t have to put up with their dirty underwear on the floor, someone leaving the seat up, empty things that should be full, stuff that ends up broken yet nobody knows the cause… you get the idea. Relish in the concept that what’s yours is yours and you Own it!

liz September 8, 2011, 8:37 PM

How awful that you’ve heard any of these! What is wrong with some people?!

You have no reason to be insecure or doubtful! You’re an intelligent, caring, independent woman!

It’s not you, it’s the people who say that crazy stuff to you! πŸ™‚

jadygirl September 9, 2011, 1:18 AM

Often times you speak your mind with out hesitation to a very close friend, unknowingly it is not right to say it. Though you just post that we should not say that to our single friends but probably you set limitation to friends who are not close to you.

Rachel Cotterill September 9, 2011, 7:31 AM

Gosh, that’s insensitive! πŸ™ Not that there aren’t a few popular examples after you meet someone: “so when are you two moving in together / getting married / having a baby ….” (delete as (in)appropriate)

keishua September 9, 2011, 10:56 AM

Yep, heard those before. Worse, when I was in a relationship, I’ve said those. CRINGE. The truth is dating looks a lot easier on t.v. than in real life. In real life it’s messy, you have to have some sort of standards and sex does not fix or make anything{in the long run}. Personally, I’ve given and received enough heartbreak to tread softly. We are fabulous and wonderful women{inside out} and we really should not settle for less than that with our partners.

Lillian September 9, 2011, 1:42 PM

BOOOOOOOO! I’m an OFFENDER!! πŸ™ You know I only meant it with love. But I am SO SORRY!!!

Rebecca September 9, 2011, 2:19 PM

I’m sorry, I know I should comment on the actual subject of the piece, but I’m still laughing at “crusty horse penis guy” EWWWWWW!

Karen Peterson September 10, 2011, 2:38 AM

I want to leave some witty and interesting comment here, but really, all I’ve got is AMEN!

My Inner Chick September 10, 2011, 1:59 PM

–I commented on this post before. I love it.

“You need to get Laid!”

I can’t help it…That cracks me up :))) xxxx

Thanks for stopping by my blog !

Colleen September 10, 2011, 8:23 PM

You are not being overly-sensitive. I think the biggest problem other people forget when making these comments is how much it sucks to be with someone you don’t want to be with! Relationships are hard and if you’re “settling” for someone, wow, that would be a lot of work! I’m sure you have a list of the dudes you’re friends were with. Next time they say these things ask them, “Hey, why did you kick so-and-so to the curb again? You were probably being too picky.”

StephanieinSuburbia September 10, 2011, 10:07 PM

I feel I missed a story on this one: crusty horse penis guy.

I so got a lot of these when I was single. “Have you tried just approaching guys? Have you tried bookstores and stuff?” I was ALWAYS looking around for potential boyfriends, that was just the way my mind worked.

Great post!

sue September 10, 2011, 11:38 PM

SIMONE…you are obviously intelligent, witty and open to the world. Why WOULD you settle for crusty penis guy (ick) or any bore that shows interest in you! Seriously…I too am single, and happy to be that way. Some people posted things as if it is a life goal to find your match! I don’t think it is at all, but you would be significantly decreasing your chances by hooking up with someone for whom you have no passion, just for the sake of “being in a relationship.” What a total crock, and you would never be happy. I hate to sound cliche, but stay true to yourself, and all the right things will happen, whatever they are. I get these same comments from people all the time and I’m like, “if I was hooked up with someone I only marginally cared about, I wouldn’t have the freedom to travel the world and do whatever I can to find inner peace.” Enough said. Peace to you.

Sorta Southern Single Mom September 11, 2011, 7:12 AM

Oh Girl! I so agree and what grates most is that people think it’s HELPFUL. 1. Well OBVIOUSLY! 2. I thought that was a GOOD thing! 3. You are welcome to look in better places for me!

Glamamom September 12, 2011, 10:04 AM

Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever said any of those things. I do stick by “you’re trying to hard,” and “just go out and have fun with your friends.” Because in my experience, the good stuff happens when you’re least expecting it πŸ™‚

shell September 12, 2011, 4:11 PM

I promise not to ever say those things to you. πŸ˜‰

Austin September 12, 2011, 10:45 PM

I hate when someone keeps on telling me that I should do online dating. Cough cough Or that mail order brides are a last resort.

Btw, what date is the appropriate to take a girl to see a Broadway show. I would say no earlier than 5th. I would say musical are off limits until she agrees to see a ballgame.

Austin September 12, 2011, 10:55 PM

If you type “crusty horse pens” your plenty of PHISH post is number four. Very impressive red.

Pretzel Thief (aka Balkan Girl Down Under) September 13, 2011, 6:39 AM

Yeah, those things are shitty and lame. You’re not being too sensitive, nor are you too picky in your quest: you’re awesome and you deserve someone equally as awesome. All in good time! (Is THAT a lame platitude to say?!) In the meantime, enjoy the coolness of singledom! xx

Brandi {not your average ordinary} September 15, 2011, 4:43 PM

I have definitely heard these from people lately. And honestly, when people say I’m being to picky, I usually respond with something along the lines of “Yes, I am. And why shouldn’t I be? Why would I even dream of settling in a relationship with a man that doesn’t make me utterly happy?” That doesn’t mean there won’t be some problems here or there but I’m done with guys not treating me the way I deserve to be treated.

trininista September 18, 2011, 9:48 AM

A-MEN! I need to share this with my friends cause they really have no clue! Great post!!!

samira September 17, 2016, 8:17 PM

JAJA! I get those all the time. Specially about looking in the wrong places. Isn’t it better to just do things you enjoy and luckily meet someone while at it? I think it might be worse to look in the “right” places, and meet someone doing something they love, but something we don’t really enjoy, *sigh*

Martha July 20, 2017, 7:14 PM

I love the part about shopping for men! I would have loved to have that ability when I was single. They really should make it a thing. lol

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