I’ve come to the realization that when you are single, people feel that it is socially acceptable to constantly reassure you that being alone is ok. The perpetual and consistent banalities of “you are enough,” or “you don’t need a man to define you,” and “happiness comes from within” are repeatedly jammed down your throat. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times someone has posted, unsolicited, some variation of the “strong, independent woman meme” on my Facebook feed. Or e-mailed me links to trite, cliche laden articles entitled 13 Things You Appreciate More When On your Own or Single – It’s Not a Curse.
I can’t even.
There are a number of reasons I find this vexatious and it has nothing to do with how I feel about being single. Whether I’m happily content as a free spirit or the weight of the solitude is crushing my soul, it’s immaterial.
It starts with the fact that an overwhelming percentage of the folks who engage in this are themselves ensconced in long term relationships. Single people almost never shout – solidarity sister. It’s the romantically involved that sanctimoniously remind you that you’re going home to a half a bottle of Pinot Noir and your dog, and that’s peachy keen. But there’s a hypocrisy in the subtext that reads, peachy keen, but I’m glad that it’s not me.
Secondly, the iteracy generates an undertone that says that there really is something unsavory about it. I think you doth protest too much. If you honestly felt that it was ok, you probably wouldn’t feel the need to constantly remind me that it is.
Let’s be clear – I’m not in the habit of bemoaning my relationship status at every opportunity. The fact that others feel the need to bring it up, out of the blue, says that it’s weighing on their mind. This contributes to the perception that despite the vehement affirmations, perhaps being single really is malodorous.
Bottom line though, why, oh dear gods why, is my personal life anyone’s business but my own? Whether you honestly think it’s super spectacular or are simply trying to keep my poor lonely spirits up.. don’t. The reality is that the act of adding gratuitous commentary means you’re making an assumption on my behalf and conscripting me to your perception of societal norms.
PSA: Unsolicited opinions (about anything) are rarely well received.