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The Worst Question To Ask A Single Person

  • January 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

The other night I was at a networking event where I was introduced to a man who seemed to possess the qualities of my ideal mate: intelligent, good job, tall, handsome and single. We bantered for a bit about the event and our personal lives. He was interesting and I was enjoying our conversation hoping that it would lead to a first date. That was until he asked me the inevitable question, “Why are you single?” Before that question I was feeling beautiful, confident and witty. After that question, I began to feel my insecurities rise within me as I pondered an answer. Do I discuss the last guy I dated who didn’t want to commit to me or the fact that many guys I meet are intimidated by my beauty, intelligence and ambition (the very assets I feel would make me a desirable romantic partner)? Do I discuss how bad timing played a role in sabotaging past relationships, as I feel that if I had met former boyfriends at later times in their lives there is a likelihood I would have been married by now? Do I discuss the fact that I have spent several years contemplating that very question and am still uncertain about the answer? Above all would any of these responses be appropriate “first meeting” conversation? Could the reply, “I don’t know” suffice?

Eventually I mustered up an answer that I thought would be light but powerful and honest. “I just haven’t met the right person yet,” I responded coyly starting to feel the confidence within me rising again. “Why not? Are your standards too high?” he quickly shot back. Ok, now this conversation was becoming a slippery slope. “Well I don’t think wanting a man who is intelligent, spiritual, employed and attractive are high standards. Do you?” I retorted realizing this conversation was no longer going in a positive direction. Politely I found a way to end our discourse then moved on.

Although I comprehend the theory behind wanting to understand why a person is single, I don’t understand how asking that question reveals anything substantial about potential relationship issues. Is the person hoping someone would own up to their personal flaws by making statements like: “Well I was in a mental institution for the past year”; “I have trust issues which make me very clingy”; “My baby daddy, Ray-Ray, don’t like anyone else being around me or the kids.” Seriously, the only way I think a person can uncover the proper answer to finding out “why a person is single” is to spend some time getting to know the person. That and maybe “Googling” them! (Just kidding…well maybe not!)

What questions do you use to uncover if a person has relationship potential or not? Do you feel there is a worst question to be asked as a single person than, “Why are you single?” If not, how do you respond to that question?

Photo: Glenn Loos-Austin / Flickr