20+ Ways to Respond to the “Why Are You Single” Question

Learn how to empower yourself in those "why are you single" moments with our rapid-fire reactions.

Published April 10, 2024
Funny Woman Feeling Bored

Nothing can make you dread a family reunion more than knowing that you’re one of the last single people in your generation. Every grandparent or great-aunt seems to sense your single status and will hound you about, “Why are you single?” and, “When will you meet someone?”

Thankfully, I’m here to bring you the wisdom I’ve learned from my experiences in the happily single trenches to help you expertly handle these unprompted questions about your love life.

How to Respond When Someone Asks You Why You’re Still Single

If you’re like me, nearing 30 and happily single, you probably get asked about your love life way more often than you should. It can feel like all propriety falls away when the conversation turns to your romantic status. Avoid feeling shamed by people's intrusions and feeling forced to share more than you’re comfortable with by following these helpful steps.

First, Remind Yourself That They Probably Mean Well

People aren’t usually being invasive to cause trouble or make you feel bad. If they’re currently partnered, they probably can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to experience what they have, so they're really invested in you finding that same companionship. Just reminding yourself that they have your happiness in mind can soothe the fire that lights up from a question like this. 

Think About What You Want to Say (if Anything)

As humans, we like to spit out the first things that come to our minds, whether it’s a horribly awkward response to a compliment or a snappy retort to being asked about our personal lives by a stranger. Yet, there are no rules when it comes to how quickly you have to respond to someone’s question.

Give yourself a moment to think about how you want to respond. What exactly do you want to share about your life with the person who asked about your romantic status? Are they deserving of personal details? Should they get a more generic response? Or maybe, they don’t deserve one at all.

Don’t feel pressured to say the first thing that comes to mind just because they’re pushing you for an answer. And if you feel like it’s not a conversation you want to get into, you have every right to walk away.

Give Authentic Reasons Why (if You Want To)

Often, when people ask about your relationship status, they’re not really interested in your answer but in the answer that aligns with their lifestyle. Some people may feel that someone who lives life differently from them stands in opposition to their lifestyle — as if your choices are a commentary on the choices they make.

However, you choosing to be single isn’t a condemnation of their relationship status. So, don’t feel like you have to be inauthentic with your reasons for being single just to reassure their romantic visions.   

Everyone’s experiences with romantic love are different! And yours are just as valid as the person who is asking you about it.

Don’t Feel Guilty if You Lie

Generally, lying isn’t something we like to encourage. But sometimes you’re put in a position where you feel uncomfortable with sharing your truth. Maybe you’re exploring your sexuality or romantic attraction and don’t feel like the person who asked you about your love life is a safe person to share that with.

In certain situations, you may feel like you need to lie about the reasons why. And that’s okay. People aren’t owed anything because they ask you a question, and whatever reason you choose to give is absolutely valid.

Related: How to Respond to a Flirty Compliment in Any Situation

Lastly, Explain Why That’s Not an Appropriate Question

Some people don’t realize they’re overstepping when they mean well or they’re just plain curious. And sure, it shouldn’t be up to you to correct their behavior, but sometimes, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

African and European women in a coffee house talking

After giving a response (if you want to), explain to them how that’s not really an appropriate thing to ask you. Maybe give them an invasive example that relates to them and ask them how it makes them feel to be asked that question. Or share with them how exhausting it is to be on the other side of that query.

And if you explain to them why they shouldn’t ask you that, you can hold them to that standard in the future. Should they ask again, you can say something like, “I’ve already discussed this line of questioning with you before and told you that I didn’t like it, so I’m not going to encourage it with a response.”

20+ Rapid-Fire Answers to “Why Are You Still Single?”

Sometimes, you can’t sidestep every well-meaning but invasive family member’s inquiries about why you’re single. The number one thing that can keep you from panicking is having a quick response queued up in your brain. So, whenever that, “So, why is someone as special as you still single?” gets thrown your way, toss back one of these solid, conversation-ending responses.

  • I’m not ready to devote that much time to someone else.
  • I’m working on my own emotional well-being.
  • I want to focus all my time and energy on my career right now.
  • I enjoy my solitary life.
  • I’m working through past relationship trauma and am not ready to get back out there.
  • My life is so good right now that I don’t see the need for having a partner.
  • At this stage in my life, I operate better on my own.
  • The only partners in crime I need are my pets.
  • I don’t see myself with someone in my future.
  • I’m really content with my life right now, so I’m not looking for anyone. But I’m open if the right person crosses my path.
  • Honestly, I’m too tired to worry about making someone other than myself happy.
  • I don’t have time in my current schedule to make room for the dating game.
  • I value spending time with myself more than I value giving my time to someone else.
  • There are important milestones I’d like to hit before I think about finding a romantic partner.
  • My life doesn’t feel incomplete without a romantic partner.
  • I don’t feel like there’s anything a romantic partner can add to my life that I haven’t already brought to it myself.
  • My kids are my everything right now.
  • I haven’t found the right person to mesh with my needs yet.
  • Long-term relationships aren’t compatible with my lifestyle.
  • I enjoy not having to make decisions with other people in mind.
  • I want to live my life 100% on my terms.

You Don’t Owe Anyone Any Answers

Your love life, or lack thereof, is totally yours to choose. No one has a right to information about your life, especially if they're asking you why you're single. Humans are incredibly perceptive, and you can tell the difference between someone who’s genuinely curious and someone who wants to shame you for not following standard Western relationship milestones. Whether you’re responding to the former or the latter, these tips and answers should help keep you from feeling like a deer in headlights.

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20+ Ways to Respond to the “Why Are You Single” Question