A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook crew what their biggest stress is at Christmas time. I was expecting most of the answers to be about money and travel but I got three almost identical answers relating to something I’d almost totally forgotten about. These questions came from single people who are sick to death of hearing the question ‘So have you met anyone special?‘ every few days over the course of the Christmas season.
I can totally relate to this.
Even though I’ve been with Mr Smaggle for over a decade, before him I was very, very single. He was the first boyfriend that my extended family met so I had a good couple of awkward Christmases where I was the single one and inevitably I would be asked many times throughout the day how my love life was going. I felt a bit shit about being single because my cousins always had boyfriends and it seemed like I was disappointing everyone by not having a significant other that they could torture on Christmas day. It wasn’t just Christmas day though, it was any time I saw people I hadn’t seen in a while and it was always ‘Have you got yourself a man? Seeing anyone? What happened to that guy you were seeing last time we spoke?’. I really hated it and I’m noticing that things haven’t changed much since I was single. For example, there’s always this odd sense of relief among my peers when one of my single friends hooks up with someone in a serious way. It’s almost like we can tick them off the list and stop worrying about them. It’s stupid, particularly because no relationships are permanent and there’s actually not anything interesting about whether or not someone is in a relationship. It rarely has any impact on anyone else’s life.
I’ve certainly been guilty of thoughtlessly enquiring about a single persons’ love life in the past and a few years ago I decided to start talking about other things instead. If you want to try this too, here are a few suggestions for conversation if you’re stuck for topics.
1. What’s happening with work?
2. Have you been watching That Amazing TV Show?
3. Hey, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
4. Tell me about that awesome roller derby team/crocheting club/ukulele band you’re part of?
5. How was your trip to That Awesome Place?
6. Did you hear about That Awesome Thing That Happened?
7. If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
8. If you could have dinner with three famous people, who would they be?
9. I listened to a great podcast the other day and I learnt this Really Cool Thing. What do you think about this Really Cool Thing?
Of course, if anyone wants to talk about how they hate being single, how they’re thinking of getting divorced, how much they love living alone or want to tell me about their hot new Italian lover they are more than welcome to. In fact, if you pour me a glass of red you can talk about relationships all night… but I will not be starting the conversation because there are way important things in the lives of single people than the fact that they aren’t dating anyone.
Are you guilty of putting singles on the grill? Or are you a grilled single?
P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.