Wednesday, November 26, 2014 Kislev 4, 5775
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Single and Satisfied

Monday, June 2, 2014
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Dear Miriam,

I'm tired of having my friends reassure me that "you're so wonderful and you'll find someone amazing." I'm really happy not being in a relationship now, but it feels so patronizing when they say that. I feel like everyone I know has suddenly gotten married or engaged, and the expectation is that I must be devastated that I'm not also in that position.  How can I make it clear that I am thrilled for my friends and their friends, but that I'm also just fine and their questions feel intrusive and their assurances unwelcome?

Signed, 
Single and Satisfied


Dear Satisfied,

Being comfortable in your circumstances, whatever they may be, is such an unusual trait that even if you were to tell these friends, "I'm fine," they might assume deflection or defensiveness. You have no reason to lie to me in an anonymous question, so I am delighted to hear that you, satisfied person out there, actually exist! We could all learn a lot from you. Instead of assuming you're jealous at weddings, your friends and, well, everyone, would do well to look to you as a model.

Your satisfied-to-be-single status will likely continue to draw comments, though, so you're right to want to arm yourself with some handy responses. You could say, "When the time is right, I'm sure I will find someone amazing," which will give them some acknowledgement that you're open to that path sometime in the future. You could also say, "Thanks for thinking I'm wonderful," and leave it at that. If you're feeling especially bold, you could try, "What's amazing right now is living my life on my own terms, and I'm having a great time doing it."

Whatever you say, especially if it's actually at a wedding, be sure that your comments don't detract from the happiness of the couple getting married.  You don't want to imply that being single is preferable to being coupled, even if you believe that, because the point here is that you want to inspire mutual respect for a variety of relationship or non-relationship circumstances. Gush at every silly wedding detail leading up to the affair and be open and effusive about your excitement for your friends. If you're being true with yourself and everyone else, then your genuine congratulations will hopefully outshine anyone's concern for how you'll feel about showing up at yet another wedding by yourself.

At the end of a Jewish wedding and at meals for a week following a wedding, the seven blessings that are recited under the chuppah are recited again during Birkat Hamazon, the grace after meals. Each blessing is said by a different guest while passing around a glass of wine, which is then mixed with another glass of wine. The bride and groom drink from one and single guests who hope to get married drink from the other. It's mystical, it's traditional and it's usually taken with a lighthearted "it can't hurt" approach, but it can also put single folks in an awkward situation.

If you're offered the glass, feel free to accept or decline as you prefer. Just know that people are offering this tangible blessing, as well as the patronizing comments, from a place of caring about you and wanting you to be happy, just as you want that for them.

Be well,
Miriam

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