But here's the thing. Sometimes advice doesn't help. Sometimes it's frustrating and condescending and frankly, unwelcome. Especially when it comes to relationships. As a single person, there is no shortage of advice out there for me, dispensed by everyone from my mother, to close friends, to colleagues, to strangers in line for coffee. So here's some advice to everyone: stop it. And for your reference, here are the things you really should stop saying to single people.
1. It will happen when you least expect it.
This is bullshit. Is this what you say to someone looking for a job? Just wait and it will come to you? Stop looking? Well, finding a job is easy compared to finding someone you enjoy so much that you want to see them essentially every day for the rest of your life. You don't make that kind of commitment to a job, and yet we scour ads, write and re-write resumes, hone our interview skills, and are constantly looking to expand and strengthen our network. And this is completely normal. But if a single person did this to find a significant other, people would say "you're obsessed", or "stop trying so hard", or any number of other shitty things that should not be said to someone who is looking to share their life with another person.
2. Just enjoy being single. Have some fun.
Okay, I've been single for the majority of my natural born life. I've had plenty of fun. Plenty. I've dived into the swimming hole in my underwear, I've sung songs and told stories by the campfire, and I've gone on spontaneous road trips. I've also done lots of other things that I don't care to share publicly (but I assure you, they were wild, crazy, and tons of fun). But now I want to have a different kind of fun. The kind of fun that comes from knowing someone is always going to be there for you, that you will be sharing your life with, that will be the yin to your yang. Or whatever couple metaphor you want to employ. Just stop telling me to be happy I'm single.
3. I'm single and I love it./You're better off staying single.
Closely related to #2, and generally said by people who just got out of a long term relationship. You know what? Good for you. It's fantastic that you are happy being single since you split up from your previous significant other. I'm glad you've healed nicely and are enjoying the world again. But here's the thing: I am over it. Not to belabor the point, but I've been single my whole life, so I don't know the joys (or sorrows) of being in a long term relationship, and I'm ready to discover them. So just let me. I'm not going to let you eat cake and tell me how great it was and how it made you sick later. I want to eat it myself.
4. Just work on you. The right person will notice.
If you will excuse my language: fuck off. I have been working on me for many years. I have an education. I have hobbies. I have a good job. I have people and activities that I truly enjoy. I have my shit together. I don't sit at home and pine for the Mr. Right that I haven't met yet. I do stuff. In fact, I have a full time, well-paying job that I love, and I still manage to improve myself. Taking a dog training class, or a writing class, or whatever sounds interesting at the time. And I have years of anecdotal experience that says absolutely no one has noticed. At least not for more than a couple of weeks. So stow it. I'm pretty awesome, and I've worked hard to become so. Don't tell me I need to work harder.
5. How come you don't have a boyfriend?
You know, if I had the answer to this question, I probably wouldn't be single. Shut the hell up with your backhanded pseudo-pity. Telling me that I'm pretty or smart or funny or awesome or whatever other adjectives or combination of adjectives you put together that are designed to make me feel better about myself don't do that. They make me feel worse that there is some actual thing that is preventing me from finding someone special. So just stop. Please.
6. You're just too picky.
This grinds my gears like nobody's business. Why am I not allowed to be picky? I've worked hard to become the person I am (see #4), and I deserve to be with someone that I truly love. It makes me truly sad that women are expected to be all things (beautiful, sweet, smart, successful, etc.), and yet so many women are satisfied with a guy whose best quality is that he doesn't hit them. It often seems like a job isn't even a necessity for a guy. But yes, I do expect to be with someone who has put as much work into themselves as I have into me. I shouldn't have to settle.
I know there are a million other things, but these are the top in my book. Feel free to add on.