Is there even one person out there who has not, at some point in his or her dating history, been asked the question, "Why are you single?"
At first blush, this question rings of a compliment.
"You’re so great! How could you possibly be single? Why hasn’t someone put a ring on it? Why haven’t you been locked down?"
But lurking beneath the surface lies a more sinister implication.
"What’s wrong with you? What can you reveal to me now that will save me the time and money of continuing to date you? What secrets are you hiding? What’s your grand flaw that sent your previous boyfriend running?"
How do you respond to this?
How do you frame your reply in order to achieve the sweet spot between answering the question and remaining elusive?
Here are six powerful ways to respond to this question:
1. "Me? Why are you single?"
Throw the question right back at the person.
Whenever you don’t want to answer a question directly, summon your inner lawyer to deflect and redirect.
2. "Because I choose to be."
Whether or not you're in a relationship is a choice you make for yourself. Regardless of which direction you decide to go, the choice is valid.
Don’t be ashamed to admit that, and don’t feel the need to elaborate.
3. "I’ve been focusing on myself."
There's no shame in taking some time to figure out who you are and what you want out of life.
Single does not equate to lonely, pathetic or desperate. It does not mean you are unlovable or undesirable.
You've just been doing you for a while, and that’s okay.
4. "I’ve just been living my life."
You haven't been sitting at home on the couch, waiting for the man or woman of your dreams to come knocking on your door.
You fill your life with family and friends.
You play kickball. You're involved in a weekly book club.
You take cooking classes. You surf and paddleboard.
You have a whole host of hobbies and interests, and spending your free time actively searching for someone to date is not one of them.
5. "I’m really passionate about what I do for a living, and that's been my priority.
Driven, motivated people who have a strong sense of self are drawn to like-minded people, so work this question to your advantage, and utilize it as an opportunity to tout your professional success.
6. "I’ve been traveling the world."
Curiosity is an attractive quality in a partner.
Curious people seek answers to their questions.
They have a passion for learning. They test the boundaries of society and make the world their oyster.
Curious people aren’t afraid to explore the world on their own terms.
They make their own rules and don’t conform to anyone else’s expectations for what their lives should be.
When you hear of someone who’s traveled solo, you immediately respect the guts it took for that person to book a plane ticket, pack a suitcase and wander around a new city on his or her own.
People recognize not everyone can do that, and they commend that person’s ability to step outside of his or her comfort zone.
Whichever response is applicable to your life, remember to keep it simple.
Don’t prattle. Don’t extrapolate.
Assume a tone of voice that is light and nonchalant. Even if the asker’s tone gives off a condescending vibe, hold your head up high and own your reason.
In the end, this is a date and it’s supposed to be fun.
If you feel like you're on trial or at an interview, then the person sitting across from you is probably not a match.
Maybe the next person will be.
In the meantime, if someone asks why, give him or her one of the responses from above.