The holidays can be a magical time with those we love. They can also be a time when those we love ask us intensely awkward and annoying questions. Questions like… “So, why are you still single?”
Well, as always, I want to equip you with a powerful response to this question. So in preparation for all of the family gatherings and holiday parties you might be going to, I shot this week’s video for you.
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Have you ever been at a family dinner table for the holidays when a certain relative pipes up and asks you the awkward question, “So Jane, why are you still single?” It’s that awkward family moment where someone points out the fact that your single. Another year has gone by and you are not in a relationship.
Firstly, what should you say outwardly to that person? Don’t give it energy. Even if you’re feeling something, the more you give energy to something, the more you perpetuate it. You inject it with fuel. So instead just say, “I’m actually having a pretty good time being single. But, Aunt Agnes, if you’ve got someone cute to introduce me to, I’m all ears. If you’ve got someone you think can change my mind, bring them forth.” Be playful about it. Don’t give it too much energy. And don’t spend your time logically debating with the person about the merits of being single either, because now you’re just starting a philosophical debate. “Well, I think single is actually quite fun, Aunt Agnes, because I’m just meeting different people and having a good time. Why is it such a bad thing?” Now you’re creating that situation.
But there is something I think deeper to this moment that happens between two people. Of course, when people ask that question ad nauseum, it can become tiring and frustrating. But, sometimes that question lingers with us in an emotional way after someone has asked it because we are uncomfortable with the answer. There is something about it that triggers something within us.
I think that there are three interesting things about what makes us uncomfortable with the idea of being single.
The first one is comparison. We compare ourselves to everyone else: My friends are married… My friends are in relationships… Other people seem to be doing fine in this area, and I’m not. That comes, I believe, from a false comparison. We’re looking at a snapshot in time of where everyone else is, but our love lives aren’t snapshot in time. They’re this living, breathing organism.
Different relationships are like different organisms that live and die over the course of our lives. So the people we’re comparing ourselves to may not be in a relationship five years from now. But we compare ourselves to them now and say, “We’re losing.” You could be in your 30s right now and on your own and saying, “God, I really thought by this point in my life I’d have someone.” Meanwhile, you might have a friend who got married at 27, and by the time she’s 38 is divorced. So what really happened? You skipped a divorce, right? She might be in the same position as you in three years, but right now you’re judging yourself because you’re not in the same position as she’s in right now. Relationships come and go for people all the time. So when we compare ourselves to other people, we’re really only comparing ourselves to a snapshot in time.
The second thing that makes us feel bad about being single is the belief that being in a relationship is fundamentally a better state than not being in a relationship. In other words, that’s just a happier position to be in, objectively. Now, we could debate that for quite some time. I think even if we take it to be true that, yes, there are of course experiences to be had within a committed relationship, within a true partnership that magnify some of the best experiences of life. Truly, if life is about love, then of course romantic love and being with someone on that level is one of the greatest experiences of life you can have.
But even if we take that to be true, that’s still true of only a small percentage of relationships, because only a small percentage of relationships actually achieve that level of fulfillment within that partnership. So many of the relationships we see around us are miserable, or they’re just very average. They’re two people coasting along.
I think it’s more often people who are not happy in their relationship that ask us why we’re not in one, almost like a way to justify their position having chosen their relationship. People who are really happy in relationships, I don’t think they go around asking everyone else, “Why are you single? Why are you single? Why are you single?” It’s kind of like how someone who suddenly makes a bit more money starts talking about money all the time. Says, “Oh, what do you earn? How you doing? Do you earn as much as me?” They care about money because they’re still insecure about money, right? Or someone who does a job that they hate, but it pays them a lot of money, needs to justify why they do a job they hate by talking about how important money is all the time. The guy or the woman who’s had money for a long time, and money is no issue for them, very often they don’t talk about money because it’s not a thing in their mind. It’s not an insecurity they have, so they’re not really talking to you about what you earn.
I think the same is true of relationships. So we have to be very careful because, even if we believe that there is this beautiful thing that we’re missing out on by not being in a relationship, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to the 50% of people, or whatever the number is, that are in relationships and saying, “Oh God, I’m missing out on what they have.” We should at least keep it in its proper context and proper perspective and say, “If I think I’m really missing out on something beautiful by being in a relationship, I’m actually only missing out on something that one to five percent of people have, not something that everyone in a relationship has.”
And the last thing, and I think this is the most important thing we need to remember, the last thing that makes us uncomfortable about being single is when we believe we’re not doing what we can do to feed our love life, to create opportunities. That’s the real problem, because when you’re doing everything you can, that’s what makes you sleep at night. Now it’s not about whether you should be in a relationship because tons of people can say to you, “You should be in a relationship.” But who are they to say? If you haven’t met the right person yet, then you’ve made the right decision by not being in a relationship. That could be a reflection of you having great standards, of you not being willing to settle for the wrong person, the wrong relationship. So that can actually be a positive thing that you’re single right now.
Forget the societal, cultural, peer pressure of you should be in a relationship. That part isn’t important. You should ignore that. But the part where you’re doing what you could do to create excitement in your love life, that’s the part we should focus on. I’ve heard it said before that sometimes jealousy is simply unrealized potential. We’re looking at someone else and seeing what we ourselves are not doing, what we could do but are not doing. I think the often jealousy of someone else’s relationship is that we know we could be doing more to create that for ourselves, but we’re not doing it right now.
The most important point about any discomfort you feel when someone asks you why you’re still single is to recognize, not if you feel uncomfortable because of some bullshit external pressure, but if you feel uncomfortable because deep down you know that you are not self actualized in this area, and that you could be doing far more to generate activity in your love life than you’re doing right now. Because when you’re doing that, you can sleep at night knowing that the result will come. If it comes today, or next year, or five years from now, it’ll come because you’re doing the right things.
If you’re not doing the right things, if you’re not getting out there, if you’re not even trying, if you’re guarding yourself and holding back, that’s what will truly haunt you. If you want to make sure that never haunts you, I have something that is a super easy way into being proactive that you can do today. It’s called What Men Want. It is a program that you can blaze through really quickly of mine and it’s very, very low investment. It’s about the price of a Starbucks and a half.
So you have no reason not to do it. You should do it today because you’ll at least show yourself that you’re on the path to taking action. So go check it out. As I said, it’s called What Men Want. I’ll leave a link here, and get yourself on the road to being proactive. Then when someone asks you this year at the holiday party, or at your family dinner why you’re still single, you can smile and know, “I’m doing what I can be doing. The rest is bullshit.”