My friends and family are trying to be helpful ….

Hello,

My question is more focused on "singlehood," I suppose. How do you get your friends and family to understand that your dating style is different than theirs? Or that when they try to "help," they actually ruin any spark you have with someone? What about when they want you to date someone without a spark? Is it easier to just go with whatever/whomever they're pushing on you to see if it takes or if there's something there?

I've been single for the majority of my life. I've dated two guys seriously; both relationships were significant because I'm horrible at flings. I get way too attached, so I tend to wait until there's someone I can pace myself with. I love learning about people, but only when I know it'll last.

But ALL my friends and family (who were married in their 20s) have zoned in on me as someone who needs help to "find someone," and it makes things so much worse! When I feel comfortable and happy with my situation, their help ends up making me feel like I'm doing life wrong, like I'm missing something. But we don't need someone else to complete us, right?

– Single


We do not need a significant other to make us whole. You're right about that.

But sometimes having one is nice, and you sound like someone who likes a long-term, serious relationship. You can be very happy with your life and still want to find someone to join you.

No matter how wrong your friends and family might be about your dating experiences, you shouldn't discourage them from helping along the way. You're close with them, so their involvement is key, no matter what happens. Just let them know that while support is great, judgement gets you nowhere. They can encourage you and share their ideas (some of their suggestions might actually be pretty helpful), but they also have to trust you. If your gut is telling you not to have a second date with someone, they should ask why – as opposed to overruling you.

Also, make sure they know that you like to talk about other things. If the conversation is always about your singleness, they're missing the point.

As you continue to figure this out, find a few new single friends who are sharing your experience in the world. Broadening your community reminds you – and the people around you – that there are many ways to be happy.

– Meredith

Readers? Should she tell the friends and family to stay out of it? Does the LW need help?