Saturday, 12 January 2013
How Singles Can Annoy Married People
Note to New Readers: I have written for Single people, in a Single-positive way, for six years, at least six days a week. This is the only post I have ever written in all that time that describes why married people occasionally get fed up with their Single friends. Many Single people have complained to me that they feel abandoned by married friends. Whereas the number one reason why they don't see their married friends so much any more is that with marriage comes responsibilities, work, and a husband who often wants his wife to stay home and keep him company, there are indeed a few things that bug some married people about some of their single friends and acquaintances and even just single strangers.
I am posting this explanation because I am tired of complete strangers telling me I hate Singles.
I will have to breathe in and out for a bit to get my composure. I made the mistake of entering into a Facebook conversation about Singledom.
There was a complaint that the Church does "nothing" for Single people, which is what I was going to write about, but then I caught a remark directed at me that contradicted my feelings of being alone on New Year's Eve.
I had volunteered that my husband and I were alone on New Year's Eve because most of our friends were at a party for Singles, and how great it was that Singles could take matters in their own hands and plan events for themselves. The divorced person pointed out that I was not really alone, as I was with I was my husband. ":-)"
I saw red.
One should never write anything when seeing red, so I clicked away from Facebook.
I will not go into the reasons (yet) I saw red, or a defense of my feelings of loneliness on New Year's Eve, which actually had nothing to do with the Singles' party and something to do with being 5,338 kilometers from home and family. Instead I will try to write something constructive.
I have been writing for Singles for at least six years, and I was Single from birth until 25 and then (arguably) from the age of 26 to 38, although the annulment didn't come through until I was 28. So that's at least ten years of dithering What-Is-My-Vocation? and Where-Is-He? Single Life, plus much correspondence with Single people. And, admittedly unusually, most of my social circle in Edinburgh is composed of Single people. I want you to keep that in mind when you read my following remarks.
One of the biggest complaints of Singles that I come across is that they are left out of social events hosted by Married Friends. I imagine this is true of some Married Friends, including B.A. and me, although we have no policy of shunning Single friends. Our resources are limited, so we invite some friends some times, and others other times. We invite Singles alone or with other Singles or with Married people, or entertain just one or two Married couples, and we don't think marital status is much of a guest list issue. (I might briefly ponder the kindness of a guest being the ONLY Single there, and the danger of being suspected of setting up the ONLY female Single guest with the ONLY male Single guest.)
B.A. and I entertain unusually often for Married People, and here is something Singles often don't get: Married People don't usually have much time or inclination for non-family parties.(Married men are notoriously wedded to sofa and TV.)
This is particularly true if they have children. Children are often so embarrassing and their behaviour so non-adult, that it seems to their parents a kindness to inflict them only on their relations, who love them, and on other adults with children, who are guaranteed to understand/be immune.
Also, the Married State is so different from the Single State that Married People often find a relief in the company of Married People we do not find among Singles. There is just so much that can be explained without words.
And then some Single people (not all, obviously, since my own Single friends tend not to do this) annoy Married People by constantly talking about being Single, and how sad it is to be Single, and how much better it is to be Married, and how lucky the Married friend is.
Some Married People (like me) do not mind talking to Single People about their Single state. Others can't stand it.
Some Married People, perceiving the Singleness as a problem to be solved, offer thoughtful spouse-hunting advice, which the Single tearfully rejects. Some Married People, thinking one should look on the Bright Side of Single Life, suggest ways in which other Singles have found happiness, which the Single tearfully rejects.
Some Married People invite a Single woman and a Single man to the same parties, thinking these Singles will be pleased, only to be berated later. Some Married People avoid matchmaking entirely, only to be berated eventually.
With some Singles, some Married People think they just can't win.
In short, it's not necessarily because a Single is Single that she or he isn't invited to parties.
One of the things about being Married is that you see Single life from the other side, and can report back to Single friends about what useful information you can now see. So here is what I've learned:
Here are ways to annoy a Married Person:
1. Deny or belittle her experiences or feelings, particularly with the remark "Well, at least you have a husband."
Married Woman: I miss my family so much.
Unusually Clueless Single: Well, at least you have a husband.
Married Woman: Actually I was in hospital. Miscarriage.
Unusually Clueless Single: I'm sorry. Well, at least you have a husband.
Married Woman: Paid work, housework. Paid work, housework. Paid work, housework. Visit parents. Visit in-laws. It never ends, and I never have time to myself, and sometimes I wish I could just run away to Paris for a weekend.
Unusually Clueless Single: Well, at least you have a husband.
2. Tell a Married Person what marriage is supposed to be like (beyond non-abusive).
Unusually Clueless Single: Sex isn't really that important to a marriage, is it?
Unusually Clueless Single: The work of marriage should be 50-50!
Unusually Clueless Single: The most important thing is that sex be romantic!
Unusually Clueless Single: NFP is just so easy! Why would anyone ever be tempted to use anything else?
3. Upbraid a Married Person for noticing that some of the 3.5 billion men she is not married to are attractive. Trowel on the shame. Go on. She deserves it.
Married Woman: Ah, that new usher is certainly a charmer!
Unusually Clueless Single: I'm really shocked to hear you say that. You, a married woman!
4. Upbraid or gossip about a Married Person for inviting you to a party in which you were the only Single, or the only Single your age, or one of two Singles, the other being male.
5. Upbraid or gossip about a Married Person for not inviting you to a party in which you would have been the only Single, or the only Single your age, or one of two Singles, the other being a male who could have been the One.
In general, people like people who are happy, upbeat, don't complain much and don't take swipes at them for their way of life. And most of my Single friends are like that, which is one reason why I have so many Single friends.
Don't worry. I will soon write another post on ways in which Married People Can Annoy Singles, although readers will be much more up-to-date on that than I!