I’ve been single for a long time. Here’s a list of things that people have said to me during that time to assist me on my dating journey. Please feel free to add to this list from your own experiences.
“You’ve got to get out there”: Out there is a magical, mystical place in which all the eligible, single men in your age group reside. Trouble is, it’s an incredibly difficult place to find. The people who seem to know most about it are marrieds/long term relationshippers (LTR’s) who constantly tell you to “get out there”. They don’t seem to have the exact coordinates though and it’s not marked on any map. You, of course, have been trying to find “out there” for as long as you’ve been single. It must exist otherwise why would people keep telling you to go there? I am here to tell you that “out there” is not only mystical, it’s mythical. The closest thing to “out there” I have found is a place populated by a ton of lovely, attractive, intelligent, single women who are all looking for “out there” as well.
“It’ll happen when you least expect it”: Also popular amongst marrieds/LTRs although this one does also rear it’s head amongst the newly coupled. As in “I just wasn’t expecting to meet him”. This can be a tad frustrating to the still single friend because you know that she was searching, looking for love, every where she could (to paraphrase from Hazell Dean’s fantastic long ago hit) so whilst she wasn’t “expecting” him, she was hoping for him. The thing is, for the most part, you don’t “expect” to meet someone (I want years without expecting to meet someone, and I never did). Yes, there are nights out when someone tells you there will be a slew of handsome men to choose from and there are times when you put on an extra layer of mascara and lip gloss thinking you might spy a hottie in the sandpaper aisle at Bunnings, but mostly, we don’t expect to meet someone and therefore, if the magic formula is “not expecting it” then we should all be tripping over terrific fellas every day.
“Don’t settle”: Sometimes this is something you choose to do. Sometimes this is something your friends think you have done. But we are told that this is something we should never do – it is the path to sadness and ruination and anyone who “settles” will never be happy. On the one hand, I’m inclined to agree. I was recently seeing someone I really liked, but whom I was not excited about. I couldn’t see a future for us and although I kind of wanted to keep seeing him, every single person I spoke to said I should end it. Which I did, because I’ve been in a relationship with someone who was never really that into me and even though I didn’t want to believe it, I knew it to be true. And it wasn’t a very nice experience (and I got my heart broken). On the other hand, sometimes a friend ends up with someone you would never have thought was her type. You may think she’s “settled”. She may be madly in love. Unless she explicitly tells you otherwise, you should assume it’s the latter.
“Too picky”: This is the opposite of settling. This means that your friends are sick to death of hearing you moan that you can’t find anyone who is right for you. To those who are in happy, committed, long term relationships, the main criteria for setting you up on a date is that you are single and that he is single. If you say oh well, he doesn’t have a job and is living with his parents, and he’s 45, they say “oh, too picky”. If you say well, the thing is, given I’m 5’10” I would prefer to date someone who is a little taller than 5’6”. Too picky. If you say to be honest, I’m looking for someone who is a bit more into art house movies and a bit less into binge drinking, they say “too picky”. Too picky is really just the exasperated friends way of saying “you’re single and you’re nice but there aren’t too many really great single guys in your age group out there so you’re going to have to settle” – which of course they can’t say because, well, see above.
“It’s just not the right time for you now”: Really? But when will it be the right time? People have been saying this to me for the past 12 years. Truly. I’ve met women who have jumped into relationships right out of their marriage, before they’re even divorced and I’ve met women who have been single for years and years before meeting someone. And everything in between. There is no “right time” really. Yes, it’s better that your divorce is out of the way and that you don’t fall to the floor sobbing because your new beau drinks the same beer as your newly ex-husband but for the most part, it’s more luck than timing.
“It might be the vibe you’re putting out”: This is the modern version of “don’t be too desperate”. Putting out the correct vibe is hard work. You want to convey that you’re single but you don’t want to convey that you’ll do anything for love (forgive me, I seem to be quoting 80’s and 90’s hits all over the place – thanks Meatloaf). You want to seem scintillating and interesting but you don’t want to seem as though you’re trying to hard. Those who suggest that a “vibe” is holding you back are really just trying to tell you that you turn a little loopy whenever a guy walks into the room and you may just want to reel it in a bit.
So there you have it, a few things that the modern, single woman has to contend with. It’s a jungle out there but as long as you arm yourself with good white wine and a mixture of both single and partnered friends, you’re going to be fine. Promise.