Are you sick of people asking you all the time about your relationship status? Or maybe you have that one friend who can’t seem to talk about anything else? I feel you. As a woman, I feel sometimes like my relationship takes precedence over every other important thing in my life — at least in other people’s eyes. And I mean, yes, my romantic relationship is very important to me. But it’s by no means the only thing I have going on. Which is why I try to prioritize talking about things that aren't my relationship status.
Our obsession with asking women and femmes in particular about their relationship status harkens back to a time when women didn’t have much else going on. Considering the fact that middle class women were expected to prioritize husband and children above all else up until the women’s liberation movement of the ‘60s — and working class women working the “second shift” didn’t have time or energy for anything outside of work and family — it kind of makes sense that everyone from our moms to pop culture is obsessed with our relationship status.
“What is the focus of pretty much all women’s magazines? TV shows?” Jessica Valenti writes in her book Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters. “According to pop culture, women are either searching for a man, with a man, or getting over one.”
But you and I both know that, no matter what the media tries to tell us, we’re doing a lot more than that. So next time someone asks you about your relationship status, talk about one of these 11 things instead.
1. Your Job
Your job is always a good go-to for conversation. If you love it, rave about it! If you hate it, start complaining. Either way, it’s guaranteed to provide /plenty/ of fodder for conversation.
2. Your Hobbies
What do you love doing? Maybe you sew or you do ceramics or you really, really love to shop. Whatever it is, there’s probably nothing more interesting to talk about. So get chatting!
3. Your Pets
This is one of those ones that you should reserve for other people who are really into their pets — anyone else will just get bored. But if you’re obsessed with your cats and a friend is also obsessed with their cats, trading cat stories is a great way to pass some time.
4. Your Kids
Same goes for kids. Most people without kids can only stand so much kid talk before their eyes roll back in their heads with boredom. But if you have kids and they’re important to you, then share as much as you want to share!
5. Your Friends
We all have friends who are crazy or fun or doing something stupid. Change the subject to stories about your friends (respecting boundaries and privacy, of course) the next time someone asks you about your relationship status.
6. Your Goals
Do you have a five year plan? Or maybe just a plan for the upcoming year? Talking about your goals is a great way to figure out exactly what your plans are and get the people around you to hold you accountable for meeting them. So what are yours?
7. That Article You Just Read
This one has the double advantage of not only being a great topic that isn’t your relationship but also making you sound smart. If you’ve read something interesting lately, talk about it! Chances are the person you’re talking to either read it too or is also interested in the topic. You’ll both walk away feeling better educated about world affairs.
I know, I know — this one can get contentious, especially lately. But it’s sure to take the focus off of your relationship status!
I mean, if you’re into the Kardashians, talk about the Kardashians. (Or whatever celebrity you’re into.)
10. Your Favorite TV Show
There’s so much good television these days that talking about TV doesn’t carry the stigma it once did. What are you watching? Why do you love it? Ask the person who’s asking about your relationship status if they’ve seen it too and, if they have, you’re set.
11. The Last Book You Read
Personally, I read constantly, so talking about books is always a great option. Bonus: if you talk about the last book you read, the person you’re speaking with will probably do the same and you’ll have a great recommendation for future reading!
So there you have it: so many things to talk about that aren’t who you're dating (or not dating). You're fully prepared to take on anyone now.
Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle; Giphy (11)