How to Answer the Dreaded Question: Why Are You Single?


People can be nosy. When they are curious about you, they may not realize they are asking you a question that is intrusive, and maybe even rude.

Single women dread being asked, “Why are you single?’

It’s no wonder this question is so hated. Even if you love being single, you may not relish the idea of being asked to defend your single status to someone. And if you don’t love being single, the question can feel painful, reminding you that you’re still alone.

Although things have changed since the 1990’s when Bridget Jones felt pressured by “smug marrieds” to find a man, some women still feel pressure to get married. This makes the dreaded question even more emotional. Unfortunately, this question pops up often enough that you might want to get ready, so you aren’t caught off-guard.

Today we’re going to explore the depths of wit and wisdom to give you an arsenal of responses to prepare you for those persistent interrogators, whether men or women. You want to tailor your response to the person asking the question. Are they a relative, business associate, new acquaintance? If they ask you only once, it may be an innocent question, so you want to stay away from tense or snide responses. Ideally, you want to feel comfortable answering such a question in a way you feel good about later. If you’re joking with them, smile and laugh so they know you’re being playful.

By the way, you don’t have to answer the question of why you are single. Remember, just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer, and you don’t have to apologize. Ideally, you want to feel true to yourself and not engage in a conversation you don’t want to have. I’ve included many ways that you can politely let them know that you’d prefer not to discuss it. They won’t know what your boundaries are unless you tell them.

Believe it or not, a man might even ask you some version of this question on a date. He might precede the question with, “Have you ever been married?” Be prepared, so you don’t have to fly by the seat of your pants.

Although he may be surprised that you’re single because you’re so wonderful, it might not feel like a compliment to you. Maybe he intends to mean something like, “You’re such a great person, who wouldn’t want to be with you?” but for many of us, “Why are you still single” sounds more like, “What are you doing wrong that you aren’t in a relationship?” Also, maybe you just don’t want to talk about your love life with him, and that’s perfectly understandable.

Think about what you want to say beforehand. It’s often harder to come up with a good answer on the spot. So, take some time before a date or social gathering to decide how you want to respond if anyone asks you why you are single. Practice how you’ll say it, too. When you go into the situation prepared, you’ll feel more confident, and it will be easier for you to gracefully stick to your boundaries.

Choose a response that feels right to you and that fits your personality. If you like to joke around, you may feel the most comfortable making light of the question of why you are single.

Whatever you choose to say, you can follow up your answer with a different topic of conversation (“I’d rather not talk about my love life. How’s business going?”).

With enough practice dodging this question, you may no longer dread it. Instead, you could enjoy creating some intrigue with your perfectly crafted responses. In fact, a little bit of mystery can be a good thing when you’re starting to get to know someone new. Most relationships evolve over time, so we don’t usually get into more personal topics in the early stages. This exercise is empowerment at its finest. When you cleverly dodge a question that crosses your personal boundaries, dating gets easier, because you learn to set limits with men. The better you get at saying “no” to what you don’t want, the more likely you are to get what you do want.

Here are some suggestions of what to say when you’re asked, “Why are you single?”:

  • Being single is fun.
  • “Did my mother send you?” If he persists, you can say, “Are you sure my mother didn’t send you?”
  • I like being single. It gives me time to enjoy all my hobbies.
  • I just love this Caesar salad. It’s delicious.
  • I’m not ready for commitment.
  • I’m enjoying dating, but no one has impressed me enough to settle down yet.
  • Because I just love hearing this question.
  • Staying single gives my mother something to live for.
  • I’d rather be single than be with the wrong man.
  • I already have enough laundry to do, thank you.
  • (Sigh) Ah, so many men, so little time!
  • Must I do everything that’s trendy?
  • I’ve found that a ring cuts off your circulation.
  • I’m waiting for the stars to be properly aligned.
  • Just smile mysteriously and DON’T SAY A WORD.
  • Change the subject as if you didn’t even hear them.
  • Why do you ask?
  • Unfortunately, {handsome actor} is already taken.
  • I need time to focus on myself.
  • I’m surprised you didn’t ask me how much I weigh.

Bottom Line:

How you handle the dreaded question, “Why are you single” may seem unrelated to your success with dating, but nothing could be further from the truth. Believe it or not, finding comfortable ways to set limits with people when they ask personal questions is an important skill for dating. In the dating world, boundaries are your compass, ensuring you stay on course toward genuine connection and happiness. Setting boundaries keeps you safe, shows your worth, and helps you find the right partner.

How do you handle being asked why you are single? Do you have a favorite response? Share it with us and help another woman find a great way to say “no” to answering someone’s nosy question.

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