When you’re navigating the world of dating, online, app or otherwise, you’ll hear one particular question asked quite often. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a question that you’ll grow to tire of extremely quickly.
“Why are you single?”
I’ve written on this topic before, but apparently, it bears repeating. So for educational purposes, I’m going to let all you guys in on why this question sucks, and what you should ask instead.
It’s completely unoriginal.
I’m a super casual dater, meaning I rarely meet new people and go on even fewer dates. Yet, I find myself asked why I’m single just as often as I’m matching with a new guy on a dating app. If I’ve already had the chance to be exasperated by that Q, I can’t imagine what you serial daters are out there are dealing with.
There are ways to determine someone’s singleness and the reasons as to why without just asking them point blank like every other person out there. Figure it out, and you’ll stand a far better chance than the next dude who comes along, or the dude that came before you.
It’s completely boring
Along with being unoriginal, “why are you single” is also a super boring question. Really, all that matters when you first meet someone is that they ARE single, not the reasons as to why. If the person you’re speaking to really shouldn’t be in a relationship because of some very good reason, chances are that reason will come out fairly quickly through the natural getting to know you process. Asking them point blank may get you an honest answer, but chances are it will be accompanied by a sigh of boredom.
Because we’ve ALL heard that one before, and we’re bored of it.
It can be completely offensive
I was on a press trip and while I was having a drink at a bar by myself a man approached me. He was well spoken, complimentary, and very direct in telling me that he found me attractive and he’d like to take me for a drink while I was in town. Impressed by his forthrightness, I gave him my card and we connected later that day. Yet, when he tried to ask me for that promised drink, I ended up turning him down.
Why, you ask?
Because he asked me why I was single so many times in the course of our subsequent text conversation, that I actually became offended.
His apparent shock at my single status bore repeating, even more, times than my need to tell people how much I hate this question. It was apparently beyond his realm of comprehension that someone who looked like me, spoke like me, and was like me, could be single. The comment was repeated so many times that I actually had to call him out on it.
While his shock and frequent expression of it may have been intended as a compliment, it actually came off as very offensive. It came off as an implication that there was something wrong with me, and he needed to determine what that was.
Newsflash: when someone is single, sometimes they don’t even know why they’re single. Asking them, especially repeatedly why, literally does no good.
If there’s a legit reason (recent breakup, some sort of life incident, work, etc) then that reason will make itself known over the course of a first or second date, or in an initial conversation. Trying to drag the supposed reason out of a person with the force of an investigator trying to extract a confession from a murder suspect will not yield the romantic results you desire.
What should you do instead of asking someone why they’re single?
Try some of these unboring, original and not offensive questions next time:
- What’s your dream job?
- What do you hate in life? (I had a guy ask me this recently and it lead to a very interesting conversation!)
- What do you love in life?
- What’s your dream travel destination?
- Have you ever(insert interesting activity/experience here)?
- Just don’t use this line to get creepy/gross/overly sexual too quickly unless the conversation is going in that direction
- What is something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten the chance yet?
We live in a strange new world where we are all so very connected, but finding true connections is more challenging than ever. Don’t make things harder on yourself by souring a prospective romance with a lame opening question. Get creative, get excited, and get out there and try something new. You never know what you may discover!
Got some favorite opening lines? Share them with us on Twitter at @weraddicted today!