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“I just want you to know,” he said quite seriously, “I am praying for you to get married.”

I stared back, my slow brain unsuccessfully commanding my dropped jaw to stop being ajar. His wife looked on in comfortable silence.

His comment came at the end of a semi-awkward conflict resolution meeting and had no other context. I had never confessed a deep desire to be married; had not just poured out the troubles of a lonesome heart. In fact, at the time, I had never been more content being unmarried. The conversation quickly ended and I’ve never been able ask him why he thought that was something he should pray for and then share randomly with me…

After hearing this and other ill-timed or awkwardly-worded comments to myself and other single friends, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps the state of non-married means an odd drug is released into the air around us, causing people to uncontrollably blurt out unhelpful things. So here’s a warning for the next time you’re around a single person. Stop and move away slowly if you find yourself wanting to say something like…

 “It’s much more fun to do it married.”
She patted my knee encouragingly as she said it, not noticing my blank glare. She had concluded, after her three month post-retirement trip with her husband (compared with several weeks spent overseas pre-marriage decades previously), that adventuring overseas is better done married. I wondered if she could see how much fun I was already having overseas and if she thought there was a magic wand I could wave to answer that encouraging pat and get myself hitched up…

 “Shall I arrange your marriage for you?”
Or “arranged marriage starts to look like a good option!” or “We’ll just arrange marriages for all the single people”. One would think (hope!) that these comments only come from my South Asian friends – whose culture is only just coming to accept the idea of any other marriage option than arranged. Unfortunately, though, the offer has been made more by foreigners I’ve met than anyone else. Joking among friends I’ve known for a long time about it – sometimes funny. Thirty minutes after you just met me? Probably not the best time to suggest you start checking out life partners for me…

“You’re too (nice, pretty, good with kids) to not be married.”
As if the only reason God gave those talents to my friend was so that she could use them in a marriage relationship. I sometimes want to answer this with something like, “And you’re too awkward not to be the weird uncle at family reunions. Tell your sister to get on that whole nieces and nephews thing!”

“Marriage is just so awesome!”
This “encouragement” towards marriage is usually given by a newlywed just returned from the honeymoon cruise. Often followed by a “now we just have to find you someone!” because suddenly your single status (only until recently shared) is a complete scandal.

Are you single and heard some comments like these that made you cringe?
Married people – is there anything single people say to you that you find awkward?

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