Here's why you should stop asking people why they're single

Here's why you should stop asking people why they're single

When meeting a new person, there are normally a few things about them that we try to find out in the first few minutes. Their name, for one thing, is always good to know, as is their profession, their interests, and anything the two of you may have in common.

Once all that has been ascertained, the nosier folks amongst us might pry a little further. Where do you live? Do you like your job? How much money do you earn? Do you have a family? Which political party do you align with? Are you single?

And if the answer to that last question happens to be "yes", it is very often followed up with, "why?"

Sometimes, this might be said in a well-meaning way; for instance, I've heard people coo: "Oh but you're so pretty/sweet/attractive - how come you haven't settled down with anyone?" Unfortunately, though, that doesn't soften the blow for certain people who are constantly reminded of their singleness, and so we really ought to stop asking that question.

But if you really want to know why someone is single - consider these points before you ask:

1. They could have just gone through a break-up

People get together and split up all the time, especially in their younger years. But if you want to be the awkward person trying to continue a conversation after your new acquaintance tells you they've just ended a seven-year marriage, be my guest.

2. There's nothing wrong with being single

Seriously, guys, this isn't ye olde days anymore. People don't need a nuclear family and a 9-5 in the city anymore in order to get by. Some folks just prefer the single life, and you should respect that.

3. They could have lost a partner

Any sort of loss is difficult to cope with, but surviving the death of a partner is probably the hardest thing a person can go through - and anyone who has suffered through that certainly does not want to be reminded of it.

4. They may have had a traumatic experience

Many people - women, especially - may suffer traumatic or abusive events early on in life that make it difficult to build or maintain romantic relationships with others.

5. It's none of your business

So butt out.

Basically, you should stop asking people why they're single because it's not something you need to know. If you are interested in dating them, there are other, better ways of approaching the subject, and, if you're just being nosy, there are probably far more interesting avenues of conversation the pair of you could go down.

Whatever you do, though, don't ask them why they don't have kids, because that's a whole other can of worms.