These Compliments To Single Women Are Actually Insults
According to countless people whose opinions I didn't ask for, I'm a rare breed: I definitely don't want to get married and, although I adore kids, I don't want any of my own. Dating has never been one of my priorities, but I sometimes enjoy casual dating when I meet an interesting, funny guy; however, as I get older, I've learned the hard way that plenty of these guys are ready to settle down — which often makes me realize that I haven't been clear enough that I'm not seeking anything beyond "casual." They're looking for a longtime partner rather than someone to meet for drinks and "Netflix and Chill" nights when we both happen to be free. So, I'm perpetually single these days and I absolutely love it — but what I don't love are backhanded compliments to single women that are actually insults.
I know what plenty of people will say— I'm secretly insecure about the fact that every time anyone asks if there's "someone special" in my life, my answer is no. So, for starters, let's stop dismissing women who say they love being single and mean it — because there are plenty of us out there. We all have different reasons for choosing the single life — but for me, it comes down to the feeling of being untethered. I don't need to plan my day, week, or vacations around anyone, I get more quality time with my close friends, and when I unwind at night, I can order whatever takeout food I want and watch my TV show of choice.
Yes, I'm aware that a few of these things sound petty and selfish — but I am who I am, and it would be way more selfish to be in a relationship with a great guy while harboring secret resentment that I missed out on a vacation, a girl's night, or something else I really wanted to do. So, really, everyone — like my fellow happily single ladies, I'm doing just fine and I don't need you to "lift" me up with "compliments" that are actually insults. Here are five examples of faux compliments that we really need to retire.
1. "But You're So [Insert Positive Adjective Here]!"
This is probably the most common backhanded compliment because it has so many variations. Look, I appreciate that someone thinks I'm "smart," "pretty," or "fun" — but none of those qualities have anything to do with my choice to be single. Plus, they imply that there's something inherently wrong with single people. Not cool.
2. "It Must Take A Lot Of Strength To Go Through Life Alone"
It takes a lot of strength to go through life, period. On good days, I do consider myself to be a strong person — and I'm surrounded by many strong women who are married, in relationships, and single. Being single doesn't require "strength" when it's what you want — and this comment implies that single women must be sobbing into our pillows at night and then putting on a brave face to hide just how hard it is to be without a partner. But we apply our strength to the actual struggles we face in life — and for most of us, being single doesn't happen to be one of them.
3. "You Must Have So Much Free Time"
As it turns out, a lot of people are "jealous" of the mythical free time that single women possess. Spoiler alert — we don't have more "free time" than our partnered peers. Along with every single woman I know, I'm patiently waiting for a day when I have no professional, personal, or volunteer obligations and I can spend a full day in bed. But that day isn't in the near future — because I'm lucky enough to have a fulfilling career, amazing friends, and volunteer work that I'm passionate about. This compliment implies that life is boring and incomplete without a significant other — which is absolutely untrue.
4. "It's Great That You're Not In A Rush To Settle Down"
We don't need any supposed mind-readers to assure us that, although we'll obviously want to settle down eventually (because what woman doesn't, right?), it's awesome that we're unconcerned about the ticking of our biological clocks and all that jazz.
Sure, plenty of happily single women will eventually end up in great, long-term relationships — just like many of us will go through life single. But the implication that everyone needs to "settle down" at some point is inherently problematic, because it sends the message that no one's life is complete until he or she has a partner — and that's simply not true.
5. "I Love That You're So Chill About Being Single!"
To be fair, the people who say this to me are correct that I'm "chill" about being single — because, you know, I love the single life, so I have absolutely no reason to not be chill about it. But again, this backhanded compliment implies that a certain amount of stress should always be associated with singleness. In fact, I don't mind being the "third wheel" and I don't lose sleep over when I'll finally find the right guy — because I'm unconcerned with these matters.
The bottom line is, being single is a natural part of my life and the only time I give it much thought is when people ask invasive questions, are downright rude, or give me backhanded compliments. We need to normalize the fact that more and more women are choosing to remain single for their own personal and very valid reasons. We don't need to commended for being "strong," "brave," or "chill," when all we've done is choose the lifestyle that suits us best.