Please Don't Tell Your Single Friends 'You'll Find Someone'
“You’ll find someone!”
Anytime someone says that to me, I can literally feel myself ignite. Suddenly I am a dragon, and if I open my mouth, fire will come out and burn everything to the ground. To say that I hate hearing that would be the understatement of the freaking century.
Look, I know that whoever is saying it means well. But that doesn’t make it feel any less patronizing. I’m aware that the likelihood of me “finding someone” is high. That’s literally not my point. My feelings in the moment are not always of utter hopelessness. And even if they are, telling me “you’ll find someone!” is going to make it worse. Because as easy as you make it sound, I’m still fucking single.
Being in a relationship can be amazing, if that’s what you want. When you find a person you want to be with, it feels great. Relationships, when they’re right, make your heart full. You almost forget those shitty feelings from your single days. Of course, you want to share that warm fuzzy feeling with everyone you know. And especially your friends who are single. You want them to be as happy as you are. And that’s totally fine and normal.
But you still have to think about what you’re saying. Your single friends may not need to hear “you’ll find someone” in that moment. It’s not that we’re not happy for you. And it’s not always that we’re unhappy with our own lives. But someone telling you these words when you’re single can conjure up lots of feelings.
I’ve been single for the better part of the last three years. After ending a long-term relationship, reconnecting with myself was important. Many times, my friends telling me “you’ll find someone” felt like it was undermining what I wanted for myself. I was prioritizing myself first. It’s important to me to have a strong sense of self before bringing someone else into my life. Finding someone else isn’t what I was looking for at that moment.
Oftentimes I talk about being single when I’m not actively looking to date. It’s just a thing I talk about because it’s a part of my life. Even though I say, “I wish I had a girlfriend,” I don’t always mean it. Sure, in that moment, maybe I’m allowing myself some feelings. But sometimes just putting the thought in the world is enough. Not in some kind of law of attraction way. Just as a “hey, this is a thought I’m having” way. Then the moment passes and I’m over it again.
I jokingly made a post on social media using the hashtag #foreveralone. It’s a phrase I use constantly to describe my romantic life. Most of the time, I vacillate between wanting to be alone forever and wanting a partner. In this particular instance, I may have been feeling both at the same time.
“You’ll find someone!” one of my very close friends replies. Cue eye roll.
We’re constantly fed this notion that we need someone else in our life romantically to be fulfilled. As if this other person will magically make everything better. Because of this, if you’re in a relationship, you are conditioned to think single people are less-than. There’s no celebration for the person who is okay being alone, let alone the person who loves being unattached. That’s where this need to say “you’ll find someone” comes from — the notion that the only way to true contentment is through another person. And that’s bullshit.
That’s not to say a healthy romantic relationship doesn’t add value to your life. Of course it does. But being single does too, for most of us.
Contrary to popular belief, your life’s value isn’t connected to whether you’re partnered or not. Spending time on yourself, getting to know who you are, makes you a better person, and maybe eventually a better partner. Everyone has their own timetable for when they’re ready. But if they’re taking their time, your suggestion can feel like you’re rushing them. It’s not about finding “someone,” it’s about finding someone good.
Another thing to think about… Maybe the person you’re talking to doesn’t actually want to be in a relationship. Just because they’re talking about being single doesn’t mean anything. They may prefer being single, since it certainly has its perks. Not every single person wishes they were in a relationship all the time. But that doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to talk about being single. If you talk about your relationship frustrations, your single friend isn’t going to say, “just get a divorce!” So, extend us the same grace.
At this exact moment in my life, I’m very happy being single. I love my friends and my child. My work is fulfilling and time consuming. When you’re a freelancer co-parenting with another freelancer, time is valuable. And the little bit of time I have to myself can be better used than going on dates. Especially when I know how they’ll likely end — unsatisfying. Honestly, I don’t know if I would be a good partner right now.
Sometimes, hearing “you’ll find someone” reminds me of the pain of past relationships. Maybe I did find someone to be in a relationship with. And perhaps that relationship didn’t work out. Lamenting about being single can be tied to a specific person, and I don’t want to admit it. Being told there is someone else out there can open up those wounds again. The reminder of what doesn’t exist anymore can really hurt. Naturally, a well-meaning friend may not be aware, but it still hurts.
Talking about being single is just that — talk. Sometimes single people like to talk about it. That doesn’t mean we’re looking for solutions. If we don’t want to be single anymore, we know the steps to make the change. That’s why there are literally a million dating apps out there. And, to be honest, they all kind of suck. But if that’s what we want, we’ll do it.
Your single friends know your intentions are good when you say “you’ll find someone.” Trust me, we appreciate your positivity. Dating can really take it out of you emotionally. So the vote of confidence can be great. But, more often than not, we don’t need to hear it.
As much you think you’re being helpful, you’re also driving us bonkers. So perhaps just listen to us vent, but then just give us a hug and say nothing.
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