Last night, as a 33-year-old single woman living in the ginormous city of Jakarta, I found myself talking about dating and relationships with my girlfriends probably for the 10th time this week. If not via actual face-to-face dinners/lunches/brunches, these conversations are held through messaging, emails, what have you. Even my work colleagues and team talk to me about it constantly. My family. Acquaintances. Old friends. New friends. EVERYONE. People certainly love talking about this subject with me, and (I assume) all other single people. The subject is broached differently according to the source:
Girlfriends: Who are you seeing? What is he like so far? Let's see his face… what's wrong with him?
My employees: You're so amazing, how come you're still single?
Acquaintances (soon to be un-friends) or distant relatives: You must be so picky, perhaps too picky.
New friends: Can I introduce you to my single friend?
Mom, dad, grandmother, aunts: We'll pray that you'll find somebody soon.
Brother: (Non-audible noise) Meh. (Note: my bro doesn't really talk.)
Some conversations are fun, light enough, and haha funny. Other conversations, I can't wait to get out of. Sure, I know some of the answers already; and at some point like to believe that I'll meet someone, fall in love, and go through the saga with this special someone of how to stay together.
Since moving here from San Francisco three years ago, I've been as single as I was back in San Francisco circa 2013 or bumble-eff-nowhere Waterloo circa 2010. And I've learned a thing or two about things that are not really helpful for you to do if you're single like me. And some things that could be helpful, if only we knew to do them.
Not helpful: The complaining, the bitching, the whining
Here are the top-five worst debbie-downer comments that some single people say:
- "Dating is SO hard."
- "It's so difficult to meet/date people in [insert location here]."
- "[Men/women] don't go for [men/women] like me."
- "Maybe they're all intimidated by me. I'm too educated for most people here."
- "I'll be alone forever."
I've been there, I get it. But it's exhausting to hear this when you're out and just trying to have a good time. EVERYBODY says his or her city is the worst place to date (except maybe if you're a man in New York City). Just writing about this made me pissy...
Not helpful: Making dating the center of your life
This includes desperately going out to bars/clubs/networking events solely for the purpose of meeting your next boyfriend. Dropping everything in your life to make it all about finding your soulmate (barf) is a ridiculous concept and makes you undateable, super boring, and somewhat creepy.
I also think I wouldn't want to be with someone who doesn't really have a life of his own. I don't want to be someone's sole raison d'être or the only source of their happiness. That sounds like a difficult-and-guarantee-you'll-fail job for anyone to handle.
Please continue to do fun things on your own or with your friends. Try out new activities. I recently tried belly dancing and signed up for archery -- all while still working and hanging out with people in between. Life should not stop being fun just because you don't have a significant other.
Not helpful: Making assumptions because of someone's age
When you're 33 or really any age older than 30, some people just have certain assumptions. Like in my case, it seems like everyone just assumes I'm ready to walk down the aisle next week. Err, no. Just because I no longer want to date someone for five years before talking about where things are going, doesn't mean I want to marry somebody next month. I don't think I'll automatically want to commit to whomever I date next. Sorry.
This works the other way too, with people in their 30s assuming people in their 20s won't commit. Or assuming people in their 40s are mature. Definitely NOT true!
Stop assuming. It really depends on the individual, not based on age or anything else. I love Taylor Swift, dissect a whole Justin Bieber song in this blog post, and my ringtone is Rihanna's "Work." Does that mean I'm 12? Possibly. But, stop assuming anyway.