Over two billion of us around the world are single, so it’s hardly a rarity.
But that doesn’t stop some people from asking you why you’re still single as if it’s an odd thing rather than an everyday occurrence.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty rude. I mean, you wouldn’t ask someone why they’re choosing to be in a relationship.
Sadly though, it’s a question that still gets thrown around far too often. So how can you respond in a polite, yet firm way?
Let’s take a look…
1) “Because I want to be”
Sometimes less is more.
Rather than overthink it or offer up any explanations, this simple response should hopefully shut the conversation down pretty quickly.
If you let them know that being single is a choice, what more is there left to say?!
2) “That’s a strange question, why do you ask?”
Being assertive is something many of us find tricky.
It’s the reason we let people get away with uncomfortable questions like “Why are you single” in the first place.
But you can still be well-mannered AND straightforward.
As I already eluded in the intro, it’s just as odd to ask someone why they’re not in a relationship as it is to ask why they are. So you can make that clear in your answer.
Let them know it’s a peculiar thing to ask.
3) “I’m prioritizing other things right now”
Steer the conversation away from your love life to something that interests you and that you are happy to talk about.
For example, I’m building my career at the moment or I’m focusing on friendships.
Maybe you tell them that you’re investing in a particular hobby or new skill that takes up a lot of your time.
We all have many priorities in life, and it’s perfectly acceptable for romance to be lower down on your list.
4) “I am happy with my life the way it is”
This one lets them know in no uncertain terms:
“You know what, I have a fulfilling life that doesn’t necessarily require a romantic partner.”
We find meaning, joy, and interest in so many things in life.
That makes you a well-rounded person.
A 2022 study pointed out some of the highlights of flying solo include having more time for yourself, being able to focus on your goals, and not having anyone else dictate your actions.
The reality is there are plenty of benefits to being single, that they are perhaps ignorant about.
5) “I’m just not looking for a relationship at the moment”
This is similar to the response above but it also makes it clear that you haven’t closed the door on a relationship.
Being single now does not mean you intend to be single forever.
For whatever reason, which you’re not going into, it’s just not something that you want at this moment in time
6) “I want to find the right person, not the first one that comes along”
For some people being single is a lifestyle choice that they consciously make. For others, they just haven’t met the right person.
It can be tricky to answer why you’re single when you don’t even know.
This response highlights your commitment to finding a meaningful connection and not settling for less.
You have standards and this shows that you are single because you value yourself.
7) “I’m having lots of fun exploring my options”
This one is a playful yet still firm answer.
I think the reason a lot of us hate to be confronted with the “Why are you still single” question is because of the inference.
Even though they may not mean to, it seems to imply that this is the inferior option. So it can feel loaded with pity.
This reply reminds people that a single life offers choice and countless opportunities.
8) “I’m enjoying being in a relationship with myself”
Self-care, self-exploration, self-love, that’s where it’s at.
There was a bit of a craze a few years back for marrying yourself. Nicknamed Sologamy, the idea is to commit to number one — you!
Brittany Rist explained to CNN why she made the decision to do just that:
“I thought, ‘Why don’t I just buy myself a ring? Why don’t I just love myself fully during this time, and have a little ceremony?’ It felt empowering to sit in front of the mirror and feel that I love all of me and my scars and all that makes me feel unlovable.”
Okay, so you might now want to go that far, but the sentiment still applies.
We can feel proud to say that we’re working on ourselves and letting romantic relationships take a backseat.
9) “I’d rather not talk about my love life, but what’s going on with you?”
If you tell someone you don’t want to talk about it, they should always respect that.
It sets a boundary.
Any further attempts to cross it would be disrespectful.
I’ve told people plenty of times that I can’t be bothered to talk about it. If you say it quite casually, it still sounds polite.
Turning the spotlight back onto them can help to change the subject. After all, if they are nosey enough to ask about you, then you can do the same.
10) “Love isn’t Uber Eats, you can’t get it delivered to your door instantly”
Okay so you’re making a joke about it, but it still holds within it a serious point.
Who said that relationships and romance were something you can just conjure up whenever it suits you?
Modern online dating may give the illusion that we can find love in a flash, but in reality, it’s not how it works.
Asking why someone is single attempts to reduce a very complex picture into a simple answer.
11) “I guess life is just unpredictable like that, so I’m just going with the flow”
This answer lets it be known that you are easygoing and relaxed about your relationship status — so they should be too.
It’s like saying “if it happens, it happens”. But either way, it’s all good.
It refuses to make a drama out of the question — as does the next response on our list.
12) “I’ve never really thought about it as I don’t think it’s a big deal”
And here’s the thing:
In this day and age, it isn’t.
Sometimes older generations don’t always understand how attitudes have changed.
We live more independent lives these days. We have more choices.
Their outdated beliefs don’t need to be your problem.
So let them know that it’s not even something you’ve been sweating.
13) “That’s a story for another time”
There aren’t many of us who don’t carry some emotional baggage around with us.
Love and relationships can get messy.
Maybe you’re getting over a past heartbreak or perhaps you are battling some internal demons.
You don’t have to put a brave face on it, but neither do you have to divulge anything you don’t want to talk about.
This is a great delay tactic to politely but firmly say it’s not up for discussion right now.
14) “Do you think being single is a bad thing?”
This is another one that depends on how you deliver it.
Sure, if you snap back and say it with a moody tone, it’s going to come across as agitated.
But if you ask it sincerely, then it’s a very valid question.
Yet again, it flips things around and puts the onus on them and away from you.
15) “I know, it’s hard to believe as I’m so awesome, but so far I’ve managed to fight them off”
Sometimes masking our emotions with humor isn’t the way to go. But other times, it’s too tempting not to!
You can make a lighthearted joke to deflect any discomfort you feel about being put on the spot.
16) “Being single is great, you should try it”
If you’re tired of someone feeling sorry for you because you’re single, then let them know what they’re missing.
Flip the script and show them that you are proud of your independence and freedom.
17) “Last time I checked, relationships are a lot of work”
This one does have a bit of sass to it, but it also depends how you deliver it. Because when you think about it, it’s a very fair point.
Relationships take time, energy, and effort.
As highlighted by relationship expert Susan Winter, there is a price for love:
“Believe it or not, relationships are ‘mentally’ expensive. Intimacy and partnership takes up a lot of space in our heads. Even though much of this is happening unconsciously, there’s simply a lesser capacity for individually focused thought. Emotional discord can be all-consuming as it removes us from the present moment and present situation.”
Maybe that’s a price right now you’re not willing to pay!
18) That’s quite a personal question
You may want to keep it polite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t respectfully let someone know that they are prying.
I did something similar once when I guy asked me why I didn’t have kids.
I told him that although I didn’t take offense, he should tread very carefully throwing around questions like that.
You don’t know someone’s circumstances or personal history, and you risk upsetting people.
You can use being asked why you’re still single as an opportunity to gently educate others about why it can be a tactless or inappropriate question.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation
I know firsthand that dodging questions about your intimate life is tricky.
It can feel invasive, but the people-pleaser in us may not want to make a fuss about it.
It’s important to remember that nobody is entitled to an answer you are not willing to give.
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