If you are single, like I am, there are things people say to you. For example:
- Don’t worry, honey – your time will come.
- Well, being single – at least it is better than being in a bad relationship
If you don’t succumb to these pitying kinds of remarks, then you might start getting the scare stories and the threats. For example:
- You know you are going to die alone, don’t you?
When people say these kinds of things to people who are single, it is as if they cannot fathom that anyone would actually want to be single. To them, it is marriage or romantic coupling that is the royal road to the good life. It is the path that leads to happiness and health and sugar and spice and everything nice.
Of course, if you have been reading my work or the most recent and most sophisticated studies of these matters, you already know that marriage is no such royal road, and in some ways, it is the people who stay single who are doing better.
What I want to share today are my favorite responses to the three comments. The first two are probably meant to be encouraging, even though they strike me as condescending. It is possible that the last one, about dying alone, says more about some fear of their own rather than a genuine concern about the single person they are addressing.
You probably have your own ways of responding to these comments. (Or maybe you just ignore them.) Here’s what I like to say.
The first one: “Don’t worry, honey – your time will come.”
My answer: “Oh, my time has come. You’re looking at it!”
The second one: “Don’t feel bad; being single is better than being in a bad relationship.”
This is like someone saying to you – that’s too bad that you have cancer; but it could have been worse – you could have had leprosy. No! Being single is not a disease. And it is not even Plan B. For people like me who love living single, being single is our first choice. It is Plan A.
And finally, the threat: “You know you are going to die alone, don’t you?”
My answer: “I hope so!”
I don’t mean that I don’t want to have any people I care about in my life. I mean that I love living alone and I hope to get to do that until the day I die. Now that, to me, would be a very good life.
[Note: For more writings about dying alone, including those published previously here at the “Single at Heart” blog, check out the section on scare stories here. If you were hoping for answers to the “why are you single” question, check out the first section here.]