A Single’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Oh, yes. The dreaded question from your relatives, your mom, that girl from high school who has “the perfect life”, and the randoms at holiday parties.

“Why are you still single?”

Or maybe they ask, “Are you dating anyone?” or “What’s new in your love life?”, some variation of the same question that makes you feel like you are in a category of misfit singles. Your relational status does not define you, anymore than how thin you are or how much money you make–but it can feel like it’s all anyone cares about.

I remember one of my parent’s friends asking me (with direct eye contact), “When are you going to quit this China thing and come home and get serious about getting married? Beauty is a ticking clock.” I floated around the party of the rest of the evening feeling desperate, somewhat hopeless, like my window for happiness would soon expire.

So, I get it.

But this Christmas, why not have a little fun with the annoying questions?

Here are a few tips Michael & I came up with after drinking entirely too much coffee (as you’ll see from our enthusiasm in the video below):

1. The distraction. Something is always cooking at Christmas. Immediately following a question about why you don’t have a ring on your finger, gasp and say, “Do you smell that?! I think something is burning!”. Exit the conversation and dart to the kitchen.

2. Turn the tables. So everyone has a question that they’d rather not be asked. Instead of explaining your relational status, why not turn the question around. That overweight uncle of yours probably doesn’t want to be asked how his new years resolution of losing weight is going.

3. Offer unsolicited advice. It seems that most think it’s appropriate to start giving relationship tips to singles. Did you ask where the best place to meet someone is? No, you didn’t. Do you need another reminder not to be too picky? Nope. Instead of getting flustered, start rattling off some advice about their love life, business, social calendar, home remodeling project, or healthcare. Whatever they definitely didn’t ask for your advice about, make sure to give them your two cents.

4. The contest. Just for fun, count how many different people ask you questions about your relational status this December. Report back and whoever was asked the most gets a special prize!

5. Remind yourself of the truth. Getting married is easy, staying married is hard. You’re waiting for the right person.

We’re grateful for each of you & want you to enter the holidays with some humor! Let’s swap stories in the comments below about the most uncomfortable situation where someone asked about our relational status. Come on, share! It will be good for everyone.

Also, check out the video on this topic Christian Mingle asked us to make. We’re going to be shooting more short videos for them, so stay tuned.

Merry Christmas!

Share your story of being asked some version of “why aren’t you dating anyone?” below! 


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15 Responses to “A Single’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays”
  1. Greg says:

    “Why am I still single?”

    (Love this post!) This is the tough question I’ve asked myself often: (www.waitingforintimacy.com/whyamistillsingle.html)

    “Getting married is easy, staying married is hard. You’re waiting for the right person.”

    Great truth to hang onto–thanks! May I quote you on this response? Love its truth and simplicity..!

  2. Mickey says:

    I get the “why are you still single” question a lot.

    My response is this: “Why does it mean so much to YOU to see ME married?” That usually stops them in their tracks.

  3. Anna says:

    This is great!! I’m definitely going to have a competition with my friends to see who gets asked the most questions ;) And usually when people ask me why I’m still single I ask them if they’ve been praying for my Mr. Future Husband to pop into my life as much as they’ve been bugging me about him. It’s not up to me to decide when he’ll show up and I don’t plan on messing with God’s plan because I’m “off” on people’s timeline for my life. The ring can wait – God’s plan can’t! Thanks for this!

  4. Nicole says:

    I had almost the same experience you described above, Ruthie! My best friend has two children and we were playing with her baby one evening when my BFF’s grandmother says, “Nicole, when are you going have us some babies? You better get started before you run out of time!” I said, “I didn’t know there was a time limit??”

    How RIDICULOUS is that question?! “When are you going have us some babies?” Like, somehow, I can help it. Well, firstly, maybe AFTER I get married for one…and two, there is no time limit with God. It’s just one of the worst questions…when I know when I’m going to have some babies, I’ll be the first to let you know. :-)

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Oh my. Talk about pressure! The baby pressure only gets worse after marriage, unfortunately. “There is no time limit with God!” Great reminder.

  5. Yep, needed this. I’m so excited you will be making videos for Christian Mingle and can’t wait to hear the story about how that happened.

    One of the most frustrating things about the “What’s new with you?” question is that there’s a lot new with us single people, our lives are not boring, but you know the tone behind the question translates to “Who are you dating?” I’ll be making a lot of runs to the kitchen this Christmas :)

  6. Jennifer says:

    If getting married is so easy, then why are so many people single?

  7. One of my best friend’s from high school (whom I am, unfortunately not so close to anymore), asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding this next June. It came a surprise, even to me. Her engagement party, where I met the groom for the first time, was in August when I returned from interning at Focus on the Family. Her family and I chatted a lot about my summer and her fiancé’s parents were also very interested, which was nice to share. But, of course, you cannot go to an engagement party without someone asking if you’re seeing someone, especially sporting a purity ring that is oft mistaken for a wedding band because it is simply plain silver.

    I ate dinner with some of her family friends and the wife remarked if I was married, to which I chuckled, because it is all I can do now not to burst out laughing. I told her, “No, I’m not married.” She looked at me and replied, “Oh. A little bitter, are we?” Not two hours later, my friend’s grandmother was asking me if I was engaged. Nope. Going steady with anyone? No, ma’am. How is that guy you met at your friend’s wedding. Fine, I am assuming. I only saw him twice this summer, cool your jets. He was at work one of those times.

    And on and on it goes.
    Is anything going on between you and your Bible study co-leader? No.
    You sure? Yes.
    100% positive? Am I not one half to the party you are referring to?
    You going to reconsider not dating him? No.
    Why not? Because you asked me to and not him.

    To make what has been now a lengthy sharing, I would just like to say, Ruthie and Michael, that I love reading your posts and watching your videos and listening to your encouragement. Especially as a young lady, nearly 23, who has only been on one date (at 19) and who thinks every time a friend of mine gets engaged (I am running out, let me tell you) is this line from an iconic song: “And another one bites the dust, ah! And another one gone, another gone, another one bites the dust.”

  8. Perhaps the best response could be to say that you ARE dating someone and then add a “smell that burning’ chaser: ex – “Oh, I AM dating someone, but he couldn’t make it because he doesn’t get out of prison until New Years. Oooh, smoke!”

  9. Stacey says:

    As a single woman in her late 30’s, the “Why are you still single?” question is pretty much about as common as the “What do you do?” question, only not nearly as simple and painless to answer.

    The other day when asked that question, this popped out of my mouth:

    “Well, I can give you the endless list of reasons that so many people have been ooooh-sooooo-helpful to provide me with, but personally, I’m sticking with God’s sovereignty.”

    I’m not sure where that came from, but I felt that summed up a lot of points quite nicely. And, with the added of bonus that it didn’t make me seem particularly wounded, or fiercely independent, or desperate… It actually made it seem as if I was “perfectly content” (or nearer to it) to be either single or married, so long as God was sovereign over my status (would it were really, truly true!). And best of all, It left the door open for God to intervene in His timing, but not for the question-asker to suddenly try to “fix the problem” by adding their thoughts on “Why?” to the mix. Genius!

    (excerpted from post: http://staceytuttle.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/why-im-still-singleand-other-tough-questions/)

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