My wicked awesome friend Stacie Proctor recently wrote a FB message titled, "Ways You Can Support Someone With A Mental Illness." I really loved her ideas and in that same vein I wanted to write up a little ditty of my own about singles.
Ways You Can Support Someone Who Is Single
When a single person says, "It's been really hard being single this long."
- "Oh, you just haven't met the right person...they're out there."
- "God is using you in different ways than being a mother/father...you are doing things you couldn't do if you were married or had kids."
- "Timing is everything....it's happen
- "That must be hard."
- "What is hard for you?"
- "I really have no idea what that feels like but I'm glad you are talking with me about it."
As singles we know you love and care about us--this is why we are being vulnerable in the first place and letting you in on our pain. As Brene Brown so aptly put it in this little lovely clip called "Empathy", "Rarely, if ever, does an empathic response begin with, "At least..."
When a single person says, "Sometimes it's really hard to be around family or at church where everyone seems to be married and have kids."
- "Yea, but parenting is lot harder than you think."
- "But on the bright side you get to travel all around the world."
- "If you don't get those blessings in this life then God will make them up to you in the next."
- "You are so brave to keep showing up."
- "Oh man, that's got to be hard."
- "How do you deal with that?"
- "Tell me more about that..."
Acknowledging me when I'm in pain–not rescuing or placating me–but just being there or sitting in that moment feels SO much better than anything you might say. I am most likely not tell you aobut my pain for you to fix it but just for you to see me or hear me in that moment. Again Dr. Brene Brown said, "...The truth is rarely can a response make something better."
When a single person says, "Dating is really hard." or "I haven't been on a date for a long time."
- "You're so pretty/handsome you don't need to worry about it.
- "You are just too awesome, you are intimidating, there's no guys/girls out there good enough for you.
- "Well, if you weren't so picky"
- "I hear you, dating really is hard."
- "It's been a long time since I've been in the dating scene–what's it like?"
Good intentions are not the same as truly listening. Making me feel good about myself doesn't take away my loneliness. However, when you find a truth/pain inside of you that feels/felt similar to my pain and share that with me it makes all the difference.
***Bonus: Many times I got to family reunions of activities in my home ward and it seems that the only thing people can ask me about is if I'm dating someone. In essence, it's asking me about something I lack, over and over again. This does not build friendships or create unity. There is a lot you don't know about person that you can't see so just ask. For example, "Tell me about your job", "I heard that did some international traveling", I think I saw something on FB about you writing a book", etc. ***