I hate when people say this to me. Like, a) I know and b) I don’t feel like I am actively looking, so why do people automatically assume that I am and c) it feels like this empty piece of advice people say as if they’re like, oh girl I’ve been there and here’s what I learned. Like, no. You didn’t learn something. You just happened to find your person before I did. And that’s fine!
I get that it’s an awkward conversation to have – someone flashing their engagement ring or showing you a pic of their new boyfriend, followed by “what about you? Are you seeing anyone?” And you’re not, so you say no, but how do you say no without it sounding sad? So you say no in this light, chipper tone and they smile sympathetically and say “you’re so young! You’re better off this way! YOU’LL FIND HIM WHEN YOU STOP LOOKING!”
Or, you say no, and then feel the need to overcompensate for why your answer is no because you don’t want them to think you’re pathetic: “No, honestly I’ve been sooo busy I barely have time to sleep let alone date! I’m happier when I’m single, man! I’m not ready to settle down!”
They smile encouragingly even though you can tell deep down they think you’re lying. You’re not that busy. But you are that single. But they give their head a shake anyway and say “YOU GO GURL! That’s the way to do it anyway! You’ll find him when you stop looking.”
You make fun of yourself because you feel like that’s the easiest way to make light of what feels like this momentously heavy question. You laugh and say “Deffffff not seeing anyone – hahahaha YEAH RIGHT. I hate every guy I meet! No one stands a chance! I’m such a bitch!”
So you both laugh, mixing real and fake laughter for an extended period of time and then she sums up the moment by saying “whatevs girl, don’t force anything! Your match is out there somewhere! You’ll find him when you stop looking.”
Instead of rolling your eyes and turning this conversation in a horrible direction, you instead ask her more about her proposal – did he get down on one knee? Did she cry? And like that, you’re in the clear.
The thing is, WE KNOW. WE KNOW WE’LL FIND HIM WHEN WE STOP LOOKING. But meeting a guy isn’t the same as shopping for a pair of jeans. I mean yes, you do get a similar feeling when you find your perfect match. It just, you know, fits. And you smile at them and move things around in your heart so there’s space for this new match and you vow to never let them go. But beyond that overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, these two searches are very different. You’re not digging through guy after guy in search of something specific. You’re just living your life and assuming eventually you’ll meet someone you want to share it with. Maybe you’re dating and maybe you’re not. Maybe you are looking and maybe you’re not. Perhaps you’re on Tinder or perhaps you’re on your way to girls’ night or perhaps you’re simply on top of the world.
Regardless, you’re just zippin’ through life the best way you know how. And sometimes we meet guys when we’re 20 and sometimes we meet guys when we’re 30 and sometimes we don’t meet them until one unexpected day at the side of the road when our car breaks down. But regardless of how or when or why it happened, more often than not it had nothing to do with a strategic decision to stop looking. I mean, I just went for a simple dinner the other night. I had no idea my bartender would be insanely cute and I’d fall madly in love for four days. I just lived my life (ayaaa, ayaaa, ayaaa).
So. To sum up, maybe this is simply an awkward situation and conversation we’re all going to find ourselves in at this point in our lives. No one knows if people are happy with being single or bummed with being single. No one knows if they’re happy in their relationship or waiting to pull the plug. So no one ever knows how to respond when you ask about these situations because you just can’t know how the person is actually feeling. So next time, let’s just crack a beer and smile and laugh at life’s absurdity.
MORE IMPORTANTLY. Speaking of shopping for jeans, I have yet to find my perfect pair. Am I supposed to stop looking for these too? This is what I’d really like advice on. Forget the man hunt; jean hunt takes the front seat. Any and all suggestions welcome.