Perpetual Singleness: A Guest Post by Amanda Bast

i told Amanda i’d run her guest post on friday.  i lied.  i do that.

Amanda is funny.  she’s a girl.  sometimes she holds a giant spoon.  she blogs over here and says stuff about things.  here’s her guest post.

Perpetual Singleness

This past year I did a lot of dating. I went on a bunch of dates but at the end of the month I was always
alone. I had a bad case of the Mondays Perpetual Singleness (PS). I learned a lot during my bout with PS.
I learned that I must be patient. I learned that I’m allowed to be picky. I learned that I shouldn’t let on to
the fact I can out-burp most guys.

I also learned that people love to give advice.

I have a friend who thinks I’m boy crazy. I have another friend who thinks I should hit on anything that
breathes. One thinks I should be friends with someone for a couple of years before I even think about
dating them. Another thinks I should start giving out cards that say “Are you cute? Are you single? Do
you love Jesus? If you answered yes to these questions, call me!” to any guy who looks interesting.
While I appreciate good advice, I kept hearing the same advice from the same people (mainly married,
very not-single people). I know they meant well but it wasn’t always helpful. So for the benefit of those
people who don’t know they’re giving crappy advice, here are some Yay! and Nays for dealing with a
Perpetually Single Friend (PSF).

Nay: Don’t tell your PSF that they have “lots of time” or that they are “still young”. Factor in the
meeting/dating/engagement time period here. That’s usually a couple of years. Guess what? Your PSF
will be older in a couple of years.

Yay!: Listen to your PSF’s stories. Just because he or she isn’t buying a house, getting married or having
babies doesn’t mean life isn’t thrilling, fulfilling and exciting. Their life activities could knock the socks off
of yours and you wouldn’t even know it.

Nay: Never say “if you stop looking, you will find someone”. This is a giant lie. If your PSF stopped
looking, they would be home alone watching Disney movies and picking their nose. You will not find a
mate while singing along with the Genie and digging in the Cave of Wonders. If you do, then I want to
give you a high five. After you wash your hands, of course.

Yay!: Include your PSF in any activities you would include your attached friends. If your PSF is
uncomfortable with third/fifth/seventh-wheeling it, then let them decide whether or not to attend.
Invites never hurt anyone.

Nay: Don’t give advice unless you are asked for advice. If you married the first or second person you
dated, you won’t fully understand your PSF. Even though you have what your PSF wants, it does not
mean you are more knowledgeable about the process.

Yay!: Share the good things in your life with your PSF. Just because they are PS, doesn’t mean they don’t
want to hear about your wonderful mate or your darling offspring. PSFs care about you as much as you
care about your PSF. Plus, free babysitting.

Nay: Don’t brush off your PSF’s latest break up like it’s nothing. There may be many break ups, and the
latest break up may have ended with a high five (true story) but it is still a break up. It is significant. Itstill means something to your PSF.

Yay!: Acknowledge what your PSF is feeling. Yes it is frustrating, yes it is sad, yes it can be lonely. Wallow
with your PSF when wallowing is appropriate, and have a kitchen dance party with your PSF when a
kitchen dance party is appropriate.

When dealing with a PSF, please remember one simple thing: shut up and listen.

you heard the lady.

so married people, time to fess up.  what is some bad advice or dumb things you’ve said to your single friends?

single people…more yays! or nays?


41 comments on “Perpetual Singleness: A Guest Post by Amanda Bast

  1. missinglink says:

    oh my gosh,as i read this, i swear i could feel the train of thought ‘choo choo’-ing its way out through my mouth into your blog..okay,thats probably a disturbing sight.ahem,if i wasn’t PS i’d probably marry you right now!weirdly so,i think we might be soulmates…*tears in my eyes*

  2. My first thought, as a fellow PSF, would be to add a “Yaynay”, because it’s sort of both:

    Be careful about asking *why* your PSF is still single. It’s not completely tabboo, either as a joke or as a serious question. But you’d best judge their mood first.

    Asking a cheery “What’s a great girl/great guy like you doing still single?” as a means of chearing them up with a compliment when they’re depressed? Usually a bad idea. They might know you mean to cheer them up, and work up a smile, but inside it’s reinforcing the question they’re already asking themselves. And the inside version is “What’s WRONG with me, that I’m still single?” If your PSF is in a good mood, and has a sense of self-deprecating humor, then this sort of joke can work. But you have to use it carefully. Also, not the greatest idea for a pickup line, probably.

    Yay – If the PSF is in a mood to *discuss* what went wrong in their last relationship, which is different than wanting a listening ear about things, couch it in terms of “looking at the incompatibilities so he/she knows what to look out for in future.” Refining your approach rather than diagnosing your failure can be a positive spin on the same combination. You’ll have to put it in words appropriate to the two of you, but basically find a way to make it about learning what doesn’t work rather than analysing why the PSF failed. This is a more useful positive spin, in my book at least, than “plenty of time/plenty of fish in the sea.” If you feel like you learned something out of it, it feels more like a step on the path than a setback.

  3. riggs says:

    i’m thinking amanda and g fresh should meet.

  4. G Fresh says:

    Nay: Avoid the I Corinthians 7:7-8 Jesus Juke at ALL costs. I really wish my grandmother would realize this. *eyeroll* We don’t want to hear about the “gift of singleness”. If God wanted us to have that gift, I’m pretty sure, or at least I would really hope that He would take away that desire for companionship because that desire can be really frakking distracting at times. 🙂

    Oh, and Double Dream Hands, Batman! agreement with the “if you stop looking, you’ll find someone” comment. I always thought that saying was kind of a load.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love this!
    Another thing that seems to be done often is telling us PSFs about other people who were PSFs forever…but, now they’ve found someone! They think they are conveying hope, but really it says to the PSF “It may take you another 40 years to find love.” Definitely a nay.

  6. I’m a big fan of bringing out the deal-breakers early. I even wrote a poem titled “Worst. Personal. Ad. Ever.” (the interspersed periods are added to let you know just how bad it is) where I list many of my faults right at the beginning. I left a few out for propriety’s sake, but you get the idea.

    For the married folks, I have to point to my friends Josh & Amanda. They have never once made me feel like I was a third wheel, and I’ve known them since before there was an ampersand. Bottom line: they’re both equally invested in the third person hanging with them that they make him/her no more or less a part of the conversation than the other. I’ve hung around with couples also where the other person in the relationship is the third wheel instead of me, and it’s just as awkward as me being the third wheel. Bottom line: don’t get too super-lovey around your spare wheel, but both of you include him/her in the conversation.

  7. kp says:

    I am actually a huge fan of the “it happens when you aren’t looking” theory. It doesn’t mean you give up, and it doesn’t mean that you sit around your house catching up on 5 years of bad sitcoms…it means you still go out with friends, and you still try to meet new people, but not with the active pursuit of a relationship. When I quit dating people, and went out to have fun with all of my friends, I found that more people approached me.

    But, I mean, hey…what do I know. I was just perpetually single and noticed this happen time and time again (to me). I wasn’t looking for anything and some really attractive guy asked me to go snowboarding. We’ve been married for 5 years. I know I’m not the only one who has this story.

    • Amanda says:

      I half agree with you. I wrote this post approximately four months ago when I was single. Then someone kind of just appeared. I was definitely looking…but I was surprised as to where I actually found this one. Does that make sense? Probably not.

  8. Jenn says:

    Thanks Amanda! Now can you put this in t-shirt or sign form, so my Internet-less Menno family can read what they should and should not be doing/saying. I’m tired of hearing that they’re going to just match me up/sell me off like they used to…

    I would add let your PSF friends, even if you are PSF yourself, laugh/bemoan/etc about their dating life, and share in their successes, even if that is just one good date.

  9. Becki says:

    This was great. I am a 30yo PSF woman and totally loved this. a “nay” i would add: Don’t match up 2 single friends just because they are both single. The fact that I am PS is not my defining charateristic and need more in common with some guy than “he’s single too.”

  10. Burrill says:

    Pretty much anything that happens in a church setting goes under “Nay.” Being a Christian single in church is often like being a guest on an episode of Dr. Phil.

    Okay, I guess I’m kind of cynical. Maybe a little.

  11. Knox McCoy says:

    I just want to say that the disproportionate size of the spoon to the bowl in Amanda’s hands is very disorienting for me.

    That being said, “You will not find a
    mate while singing along with the Genie and digging in the Cave of Wonders,” is like informative poetry. It feels like you channeled Sylvia Plath there and I love it.

  12. Jenn says:

    It makes me all warm and fuzzy to know that there are others out there that are just as frustrated with the trying-to-be-helpful-but-not phrases as I am. PSF. Love it. I’m defined. Outside of the Jalepeno potato chips I just had for dinner, this post and comments may be the highlight of my day.

  13. Hayley says:

    A YAY/NAY depending on my mood:
    “I’m not worried about you finding someone!”

    Good mood: you are sweet and that is comforting to pretend you have forsight into God’s plan

    Bad mood: really though? not even a little? like when will you start being worried?

  14. Jennifer C. says:

    Nay: Don’t give me singleness advice if you were 16 when you got married. Singleness compounds over time.

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