Picture this: It's any given Sunday morning, during the spring and summer months. You're scheduled to head out and meet with a bunch of people your parents promise you're related to, even though you've seen them once, maybe twice before. Under a pavilion on a bright day, waiting for the dogs and hamburgers to get done grilling, you know you're about to be bombarded about your single status.
I mean, these people are from a totally different generation, the one in which the point of being alive is to couple up, birth and make sure there are generations of people to keep the annual family reunion going ad infinitum. Because someone has to eat all the potato salad Costco makes, right?
In honor of family reunion season, here are the top 10 ridiculous things singles hear at this often inauspicious event. And how to handle them.
- "Have you Been Seeing Anyone? I know a really nice…" This is where you get to interrupt Aunt Sue. Of course you've been seeing "anyone." Feel free to give her a laundry list of all the anyones you see. This can help confuse her out of her attempt to introduce you to that nice dentist. You've been seeing the bagger at your grocery store and the clerk. You see the mailman sometimes. You see your boss every day. It's pretty serious. You're seeing at least three or four new bartenders every month, and your dog walker once a week.
- Eyebrows raised at you and the guy you're standing next to, "Who's This!?" Perhaps one of my favorites, best answered with honesty. In an effort of hopeful projection towards anyone who looks even close to your age and isn't immediately recognized is your partner. This happened to me at a wake once. I smiled and said, "This is my brother, Sean."
- "You've still got time!" Yes, you do. And while this implies some magical age when there won't be time, you know that's bollocks. If you're brave, feel free to call out your inquisitor's fallacy by asking innocently, "Time for what?" They'll probably get tongue-tied in no time.
- The anecdotal "When I was single…" story Meant to make you feel "better" about being single, someone always wants to boost their ego by recalling their fantastic single days. This is all about them, not you. So let Great Uncle Phil have his memories. Later on, after the potato salad is gone, he'll head back to the senior center and you'll be at home, resting leisurely, knowing how much time you've still got.
- "Well, Don't Overthink It. Have fun!" This is a variation on Phil's rant. Often a segue into talking about themselves and how much they didn't care about being tied down when they magically met the one. Tell them earnestly that you're having the time of your life. Seriously. Feel free to let them know how great your life actually is. This'll burst the bubble fairly quickly. Their "fun" single life was probably a thankless part time job in their hometown. No way they got to plan the summer trip to Europe you're looking forward to. Or that weekend jaunt to the Hamptons.
- "Don't give up. He's out there!" "Yes," you reply, followed with a wink and a whispered, "Him, or her." Then you walk away. Granted, this could start the rumor mill, but it's also hilarious. And if you're open to meeting a special someone of either gender, it's the truth.
- "When the time is right, you'll find him!" "You're right! I was looking for this park forever! And I finally found it in just enough time to get to speak with you!" This is so subtle it'll probably go unnoticed. And sometimes deflection is the best weapon.
- "I don't see Jeff…" Jeff being your last date to one of these things Guaranteed the nosiest Nelly sought you out to hear a juicy breakup story. Give her one. Or say simply, "No. He's not here." Then go talk to someone else.
- But you're so beautiful!" (Or smart, or funny) Why do people think you need them to tell your qualities? That somehow you're just not secure enough to land Mr. Wall Street? The best answer here is, "I know." Don't be tempted to make excuses for yourself, which keeps the conversation going, and is exactly the intention of whomever said this to you.
- Story of Doom about someone else who was just "too picky." Ah yes, the passive aggressive way to give you "good" advice that obviously no one else has bothered with. Act like you're taking it to heart and follow up with your own anecdotal story. You had a friend once who was so desperate to get her boyfriend to marry her she went with him on a mountain backpacking trip she didn't want to go on, and fell into a crevasse. Sad face.