You may have some family members or friends who seem to think they know what is best for everyone else’s lives. Perhaps you’ve even seen some of these outspoken people over the holiday season this past month.
Up until this point, you may have been ignoring their advice. You might even have rolled your eyes a few times when you hear them prying into people’s lives. But it can be a little more difficult when their meddlesomeness is directed right at you and your love life.
Tired of dealing with annoying (and unwanted!) relationship advice? Here are three ways you can handle the situation.
1. Find a polite way to end the conversation all together
Hopefully the people who try to pry into your love life are well-intentioned. But when it comes down to it, it’s usually not anyone else’s business why you’re single or how you’re conducting your search for a spouse.
While there are certainly some singles who are very open with their friends and family members about their dating lives, that doesn’t mean these meddlesome friends and family members are entitled to have the knowledge or a say when it comes to your dating life.
Unfortunately, the rules of polite society don’t always give you a clear idea of how to tell someone to keep their nose out of your business. After all, if it’s not a stranger we’re talking to, we probably don’t want to be offensive or hurt our relationship with the person. But there are some tactful ways to navigate through the issue that shouldn’t make a rift or cause offense.
If the person prying into your love life is someone you’re quite close with, you can try a direct approach. Politely tell them that you’d rather not talk about it right now. A close friend or family member who is used to honesty and frankness with you should be able to understand this.
If the person is not one of these close friends or family members, you can try saying merely that you’re working on it. Tell them that you’re waiting on God to help you out. Then change the subject. A subject change can often be effective to help others get the hint that you’re not into talking about what they brought up.
But in the rare occasion that a person is so pushy or obtuse that they continue talking about it, you can also politely thank them for the advice and add something like, “But I’m good for now.”
2. Consider giving an explanation for your singleness
It’s true that it’s really not anyone else’s business but yours why you’re still single. However, there are some instances when it might be easiest to simply give a brief explanation about the current state of your love life.
Sometimes, you might be able to recognize that the person talking to you is coming from a place of genuine concern or worry about you. There are some circumstances when it might not be a bad idea to elaborate to a person who is coming from a place of genuine concern for you.
For example, you may be purposefully waiting to look for a spouse until you start a new job or finish a degree. Or maybe you’re currently discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Perhaps you’re healing from a heartbreak and don’t feel ready to date again yet. Situations like these are good times to give a bit more explanation about your singleness to people who seem to have real worry for you.
These kind of conversations can be a little uncomfortable. But it can be an act of love for someone who clearly has love for you. It can also help make sure they don’t keep asking or giving advice that you have no use for right now.
3. Use the situation to grow in humility
Although it may not be what you want, there will more than likely always be someone who butts in and tries to give you advice when it’s not their place to do so. If it’s not about your love life, then perhaps it will be about your work or living situation. Once you’re engaged to be married, you can count on some people in your life trying to give you their take on what your wedding ceremony and reception should be like.
If you’ve ever doubted that you know anyone who wants to force their opinions about your life onto you, just wait until you have kids. All of the unwanted advice usually comes exploding out of the woodwork.
So as you sit there gritting your teeth while Aunt Greta or Uncle Jerry tells you how to get your love life on the right track, try to treat the situation as an opportunity to grow in humility. No one likes to be told how to live their life, but we all have to endure it at least to some extent at various points in our lives.
If you’re struggling with annoyance (or even rage!) at the situation, ask God to help you grow in the virtue of humility. Ask Our Lady to pray for you, so that you can imitate her profound humility.
Especially in situations where it seems like nothing you say or do will get the person to stop telling you how to find someone to spend your life with, take a deep breath and do your best to give the situation entirely over to God.
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