In our society, messages that partnership and marriage are required for happiness abound. If you’re single, it’s easy to feel like there’s something wrong with you. It’s even easier when you’re the sole single at a family event, fielding endless questions about your love life. If you’re dreading this line of questioning, here are some helpful tips to put a plan in place before you sit down at the Thanksgiving table.
It may seem silly, but going in with a plan can help you feel prepared and give you something to fall back on in a moment when you might be flustered. Below are some tactics you might want to include:
Much to some people’s surprise, you have a life outside of pining for a partner. Before you get to the table, make a list for yourself of all the interesting things you’ve done this year. Did you take on any new hobbies? Get a promotion? Go on a cool trip? When someone starts asking you about your love life, pivot to talk about all the other things you have going on. That can be as simple as “I’m not seeing anyone right now, but I’m taking this really cool improv class.” Then, keep talking (this is when those improv skills come in handy)!
If someone insists on talking about your relationship status, flip it around on them. “I haven’t met anyone yet. But Uncle Tom, tell me how you met Aunt Susan!” Hopefully this will take the attention off of your love life, while also fulfilling everyone’s desire for romantic stories.
Sometimes people just can’t take a hint. If someone persists in interrogating you, prepare some short phrases that you can use to erect a boundary. Here are some examples:
After that, do not entertain further questions on the topic!
If anyone gets to be too much, it’s good to have a plan in place to get some space. Does someone have a dog? Volunteer to walk it after the meal. You can even set your phone to go off every once in a while. If things are going well, silence it. If you need a moment to yourself, say “Oh, I have to take this,” and step outside.
The suggestions given so far are all for use in non-toxic environments. If, however, you know that the questions about your love life are going to come with a heaping side of criticism, insults, blame, put-downs, and guilt, consider opting out. You are under no obligation to subject yourself to a toxic environment, even if it is Thanksgiving. Join a friend’s Thanksgiving, or consider hosting one of your own instead.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. However, if you are feeling shame, fear, or anxiety around your relationship status, getting professional support can help you learn to enjoy life with or without a partner. If your goal is to find a partner, the best thing you can do is work on yourself; healthy people attract healthy relationships. If you’re content staying single, you can seek support to minimize any shame and self-judgment you might be carrying.
Medens Health offers comprehensive and compassionate mental health support throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona. If you need support around shame or guilt over being single, give Medens Health a call at (833) 624-5400 or reach out online via our contact page. You can also get started here!
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.