I want my single relatives to find happiness

Chat at 1.

Hi Meredith,

I have a couple of young relatives, late 20s/early 30s. Both are single and have never been in relationships. Both are a bit socially awkward. Both are self-conscious, anxious, and quiet.

They've been advised to join a dating service, a sports club, or a gym to meet people, but they don't seem to have done that. Both work, one in an office and one in a retail setting. Both have friends, but their friends often have significant others. It’s possible these two may remain single and never find love or marriage. And that might be fine with them, but I think not. I believe they'd love to find a special someone, but their social awkwardness (particularly around the opposite sex) is a major bar.

I am looking for your opinion as to how they might find a special someone to share life with. I think you'll suggest online dating ... and I agree. How does one encourage it? Any advice is appreciated. I love them and want to see them find happiness with someone.

– A concerned cousin

I don't want to make assumptions about your relatives, but when my own relatives start in on me about my singleness and suggest I get on some apps, I want to lie down on the floor, cover my ears, and tell them to mind their own business.

This doesn't really happen because my relatives know better.

But every now and then, they ask me if I'm happy. Not with dating, but with life. Like, they tell me about their goals and ask about mine. Then I tell them that yeah, maybe someday I might want to share my cotton candy machine with someone. Literally. That is not a euphemism.

The point is, talk to your relatives like they're humans. Be vulnerable so they can feel safe with you. Ask them about other parts of their lives and how you can help them achieve their goals. I'm suspicious of anyone who wants to marry me off because they assume it will make me a finished and happy person.

Let your family members know you see the big picture. Ask general questions before you focus on what you think is missing. Remember that many very extroverted, confident people have trouble finding a partner on apps. There's not one easy answer to this; it’s more about helping those cousins figure out what they want so they can give themselves permission to look for it.

– Meredith

Readers? How can the LW be helpful?