Reasons you might still be single despite your plentiful inner beauty.

17 Feb

I was talking with a coworker recently about the single women we know, and we came to the conclusion that it’s not a lack of “good person”‘-ness that’s an impediment to finding a spouse, but rather that “something is missing” that is a necessary component to being good marriage material.  We all know good people with generous, kind, servant hearts and the best of intentions…who, deep down, we know have an uphill battle to find someone who will commit.  There’s just something missing.

I think this is what I find frustrating with Christian and mainstream advice – the focus on “be an amazing person!  you’re amazing!  own your amazingness!”.  As I said in my previous post, there is a practical, mundane component of marriage, and that is having to actually live day-in and day-out with another person.  Being an amazing person doesn’t mean you’re automatically amazing mate material.  Many people with impressive accomplishments and character traits still get passed by for marriage because they’re not so amazing at the relational component of relationships.

Below I have listed ten things that I think can be hold-ups for otherwise functional, intelligent, accomplished adults (which means I have excluded obvious things like “is fatty fat fat,” “is a slutty slut slut,” and “life is a drama-filled wreckage”).  List also applies to men, though I was thinking of women when I compiled it.

1.  You don’t listen.  In conversation, especially when trying to build rapport, people want to feel that the other person is listening to them, not merely waiting their turn to start talking again.  If you’re not giving signals in conversation that you have heard and understood and empathized with the other person, you’re going to have a hard time convincing that other person that they should keep you around.

2.  You talk AT people, not TO them.  This often correlates with point #1.  Good conversation is largely about empathy.  If the other person doesn’t think you’re relating but rather just waiting so you can unleash your (superior) point of view on them, it’s not going to bode well for a relationship.

3.  You’re always trying to get in the last word/one-up other people.  In college, there was always that annoying person in class who always had his hand in the air, DYING to impress the professor with his vast knowledge and proof of having done the reading.  If you made a good point, that person had a BETTER point to follow up with.  It was annoying then, and it’s annoying now.  Let other people be the ones to shine sometimes, even if you have a legitimate claim to the spotlight.

4.  You don’t pull your own weight in conversation.  Relating to others is a give-and-take.  I get that there are a lot of shy and/or introverted people out there, but if you are depending upon the other person to be the entertainment, that’s going to get really old, really fast for that other person.

5.  You lack a sense of humor.  If everything offends you, or you can’t delight in absurdity, it’s going to be hard for you to find someone who wants to be with you for life, because so much of life is offensive and absurd.

6.  You don’t read social signals well (or at all)/you don’t observe social graces/conventions.  If you can’t tell when it’s time for the conversation to move on, or the other person is trying to bow out gracefully, or you’re constantly hijacking someone else’s project or idea, or you’re always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, it’s going to be harder for you to find a romantic partner.  Most people only have so much graciousness for social awkwardness.

7.  You’re a complainer.  I can’t stand to be around complainers.  My free time is precious; why should I spend it with someone who gets off on griping about everything?  How is that beneficial to me?  The occasional venting session is one thing, but people who always have something to complain about are just not worth the time.

8.  You’re too social.  Being social and having your own life going on is good for singles, but not when you’re so social that other people aren’t sure if you have room for them in your life.  If you’re constantly fielding text messages and coordinating activities with friends and ALWAYS have something going on, a new person might decide you’re not going to be able to prioritize a relationship – that getting on your schedule is going to be too much of a hassle.

9.  You haven’t cut the cord with Mommy and/or Daddy.  It’s good to have a relationship with your parents when you’re an adult.  It’s bad to be so close to them that their presence in your life is a disincentive to find a mate.

10.  You don’t dress the part.  Everyone knows at least one single person who wants a top-drawer caliber mate, but the person dresses frumpy/is overweight/is poorly or boringly groomed/doesn’t dress at the level of their target.  Now, how does this person think he or she is going to attract sexy people of the opposite sex?  What are those sexy people going to notice first, the hardware or the software?  See where I’m going with this?  Your appearance brands you.  If you want a certain kind of person to pick you up and take you home (METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING, THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG AHEM), then you need to look like the kind of product they’ll be attracted to.  Sure, you can pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to your inner beauty, but in most cases it’s a lot easier to just look better.

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28 Responses to “Reasons you might still be single despite your plentiful inner beauty.”

  1. Vicomte February 18, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    I once knew a girl that I thought was cute and interesting until another guy told me about a time she had recently returned from the bathroom and smelled faintly of poop.

    You should add ‘poop-hearsay’ to the list.

  2. Austin February 18, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Good advice and I would add that the listening skills, which makes up most of the list, will help you professionally as well. There are some people who are awesome listeners at work and the second they switch gears into social mode they lay that skill aside and just start babbling like a cicada.

    A girl who listens and can empathize with you really gives off the keeper vibe. Mommy needs to listen to the children to effectively manage a home.

  3. Pirran February 18, 2013 at 5:00 am #

    “is fatty fat fat,” “is a slutty slut slut,” and “life is a drama-filled wreckage”

    I believe those triplets are conjoined.

    But getting back to your points, I’ve noted 2, 5, 7 and 10 in a fair number of women I’ve tried to discretely edge away from. The sense of entitlement that seems to emanate from many of your observations adds to the flight instinct.

    @Vicomte

    There should be an app for that.

  4. anna February 18, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    To go along with the “too social” tip, I would add that if you have a lot of “too close” friendships with the opposite sex then that can come off as a turnoff. For example, I’ve known girls who always had a beta orbiter bestest guy friend of the week to pour their heart out to and get free rides and drinks from. Additionally, I’ve known guys who had a bunch of girl friends left from high school, who would call him at 11:59 PM and talk all about the sex with their latest hookup. They all swore “but we aren’t attracted to each otherzzzz!!!!!!1!1″ but it is still a massive issue and will turn dates away.

  5. y81 February 18, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    This is mostly on-target, except that, for dating purposes, it really isn’t necessary for a woman to “pull her own weight” in conversation. Just listen attentively, laugh at the guy’s jokes, find a question or observation to get him going again if he runs out of steam, and things will be fine.

  6. Rich Cook February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    y81 I disagree. If she cannot hold an intelligent conversation I am outta there. What you are describing sounds like a wind up toy. Even at my age (52) it is damn near impossible to find a woman who has an interest in events, things, people outside of herself. Even harder to find one that can handle a man that disagrees with her viewpoint.

  7. y81 February 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    I agree, it is difficult to find a woman who has an interest in things, events, people outside herself.

    You want to talk of Keats or Milton,
    She only wants to talk of love.
    You go to see a play or ballet
    And spend it searching for her glove!

    So what. That’s the way girls are. If you don’t like it, marry another boy.

  8. imnobody February 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    y81.

    It’s not difficult to find a woman who has interest in things (I know plenty of them). It’s difficult to find an ATTRACTIVE woman who has interest in things.

  9. Megan May 12, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Rant/depressed emotional dump warning. Typed on my iPod at midnight so watch out.

    Sometimes I feel like on top of being a “fatty fat fat” that I’m too complex. I confuse people.
    I love animals and have quite a few pets, so people assume I’m a vegetarian. Little do they know I am far from, am pro-hunting and pro-guns, and have put my own pets to sleep myself (including killing a newly hatched chicken that had been half savaged).

    They don’t realize that although I’m a fatty I still jump at every chance for a hiking trip, I scuba dive as well.

    I’m also extremely artistic (not that I’m necessarily a good artist, but I enjoy making things). I love to paint and draw and sew and crochet and am always trying new things, jumping from one thing to the next. I have loads of houseplants I enjoy caring for.

    I’m also a total nerd, following in my father’s footsteps. I love Star Wars and Star Trek and superhero movies and Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings and the Pricess Bride and Back to the Future and Portal and sometimes I get into playing FPS games.

    And to top it all off, I’m fat. Being fat nullifies anything about me that could be considered desirable.

    I don’t blame guys for it though. There are dozens of single, drop-dead-gorgeous girls at church. I can’t even begin to imagine what would make a guy approach me over them. You can’t blame them.

    Sometimes I wish I wasn’t that person who reads and asks questions and researches the snot out of everything until I’m basically an expert in whatever is interesting to me that season. I talk to the pretty and desirable girls and often wonder what it is that they do in their spare time. I talk about my hobbies, I don’t hear much, if anything, about theirs.

    I just feel like even if someone, for some reason, became attracted to me (hasn’t happened and probably won’t unless I miraculously lose weight) would find me too bizarre. I don’t feel like I’m good enough for anyone, but at the same time have a strong desire not to be taken advantage of.

    Out of this list, yeah, that’s probably the biggest thing. My friends and even my guy friend tell me I’m an “amazing” person, but it doesn’t matter.

    In the end all that matters is that I’m that fat Christian girl still living with her parents, going to community college and cashiering at the local grocery store.

  10. Megan May 12, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    Ah, basically, you as you can see, what I just posted is exactly what “imnobody” is talking about. I’m one of those common unnatractive women with interests. Just another of the massive masses ;)

  11. FuriousFerret May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    @Megan

    Have you tried Atkins/High Fat Low Carb diet?

    It definitely works. At my lowest point I was 213 at 5’11 and simply dieted down through HFLC to 170. It was easy. No hunger pangs that you get with traditional low calorie diets.

    Keto is the truth. Obesity is mainly caused by sugar/carbs in the West. When you have abused your body you need to go the exact opposite by cutting that stuff out completely for about 3 to 4 months and then when you get slim eat sugar only 1 day a week and go to meat/veggie/fruit diet.

    Also lift weights while on your keto diet.

  12. Martin L. May 12, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Megan, if you are truly “fat but fit”, i.e. chunky but healthy and vibrant, my guess is that there are other things keeping you single besides your weight. Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you have never, ever rejected a believing guy for reasons not pertaining to a categorical, objective dealbreaker?

  13. Megan May 13, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Martin, I’ve never been approached by a beleiver. The only guys who ever “pursued” me was a Muslim who barely spoke English and a semi autistic friend six years younger than me that lives states away. One was, of course, part of a religion not my own (and barely spoke english, was an exchange student from Mali) and the other guy has genuine problems and at the time when I had told him I wasn’t interested in that kind of relationship we pretty much lost our friendship and he began acting really creepy (he then pursued my gorgeous younger sister to the same sad end of a ruined friendship.)

    It probably doesn’t help that I was homeschooled, so I know less people my age, but I’ve been going to the same (large) church my entire life and it’s not like I was shut away. I’ve been going to the local community college for years, but, again… Other than the Muslim guy, I’ve never been approached or even given a chance.

    Even in my bowling group there’s just nothing there. The one guy who might have been interested in me (told me a few times I was the “coolest girl he knew”, but what does that mean) is in a pretty serious relationship with a very sweet girl.

    So no, I have never rejected a genuine prospect. I’ve never been on a date. I’ve never even had a chance. But with all the other gorgeous girls running around (and I’m not whining here, honestly, good for them. This isn’t a “life’s not fair because I’m a fattyl rant), so I don’t blame the guys. I just wait.

  14. Martin L. May 13, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Hi Megan,

    I’d be very much open to getting to know you, offline, if you have any interest. I’m very openminded on weight (so long as good health is there, and apparently it is in your case) and I completely agree with your observation that the majority of “pretty” women in churches don’t seem to have any passions or serious pasttimes. (Honestly, I wonder how many of these are even saved, but I digress.)

    I think a lot of your woes come down to this sentence: “but at the same time have a strong desire not to be taken advantage of.” The simple truth is that there is *no way* to find a partner without opening up your heart and life and being vulnerable. It’s just a non-starter. Whenever you apply for a job, admissions to a prestigious college, etc., you must lay everything out there to the powers that be and hope for a favorable outcome for you. You may have to fall on your face sixteen times, or a whole lot more than that, before you get what you want and were called for, but this is a broken, fallen world and that’s the price we must pay, unless the Lord wants to spare you from that pain. If you are putting out there before strangers, in a post that is meant to be a rant about being single, that you are wary of being taken for a ride, my guess is that you are wearing that vibe on your sleeve and it is off-putting to people around you.

    In my young adults’ group at church, no fewer than three young ladies have complained vehemently about being single and alone, one to the point of tears. Two of those three did so publicly. However, the rest of their behavior and actions have demonstrated that they really are not serious about finding somebody–or, rather, somebody who falls outside their preconceived ideal (i.e. 6’2″ blond bodybuilding surfer who drives a Corvette and is the son of a megachurch pastor, being groomed to succeed him someday.). I don’t think you are that person–at least, I hope you aren’t, but almost all of us have done things to exacerbate our single condition. I certainly have (but I’ll save that for another time).

    Last, but not least, I’d like to learn a little bit more about the autistic guy. Were there real holes in this guy’s relationship with God, or did you simply dismiss him because of his disability and/or age? Since you kicked him to the curb, I don’t entirely see what was unreasonable about him then trying with your sister. It may have been tacky, but what did he have to lose? Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. The Lord never says the person for us will be “perfect” in the biological or worldly sense. Depending on how severely he is affected, there can be a lot of upsides to his condition. In my experience, Christians with mild to moderate autism tend to be very simple and straightforward in their relationship with God, have a high level of theological depth and maturity, and are ferociously loyal.

    So, Megan–there’s my offer. Let’s get in touch. I’m not great-looking, tall, suave, or rich, but I am healthy, energetic, passionate, and of above-average intellect. I look forward to getting to know you.

  15. Megan May 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Martin,

    In regards to my friend with Asperger’s, I had never really looked down upon him for it, but he began to get very accusatory and saying I said or did things that I hadn’t. One part of his condition is that he is very awkward socially and doesn’t understand relationships (even those of friends) very well. We also have several Christianity related things that we don’t see eye to eye on and that rather put me off. I was his friend for years (we met gaming online on a family friendly FPS server my dad was helping run). We had many deep and meaningful conversations, but when he started asking about a romantic relationship and I told him I wasn’t quite ready for that, especially because he was barely 16 at the time (and I 21). I told him I might be open to it in the future but he immediately shut me out, started talking quite cruelly to me and just in general being mean spirited. It was very heartbreaking. It was a few months after that that he started talking to my sister (who is more his age), but when she told him that she just wasn’t ready for a relationship at all (much less a long distance one), he did the same thing to her. We rarely talk anymore and when and if we do, it becomes very strange and usually ends with him accusing me of something. He actually unfriended us on Facebook because he saw photos of us hanging out with a male friend here at home (a boy who really likes my sister but was leaving for Navy training at the time) and couldn’t stand to see us having fun with anyone else. (my autistic friend had come up and stayed in our basements two spring breaks in a row).

    Since growing apart every conversation we have has been tending to reveal more and more hot button issues that we strongly agree on. He says he is a Christian, but it doesn’t show very much. :(. All-in-all, a very sad situation.

    In regards to the fear of being taken advantage of; is I’m afraid some guy is going to see me as that fat, insecure girl that they can “get” easily. The Malian exchange student scared me badly. He approached me at the college, saying he needed English speaking friends to help him learn English better (he spoke mainly French). Tentatively I agreed, I didn’t mind being friends with him. Through our interactions at the college he did act a bit strange sometimes and i wasnt sure if it was cultural or not, but insisting on parting hugs and attempting to kiss the side of my face (only knowing eachother a week or so). I had given him my number and he began asking me to go out places. Not really knowing him and wanting to be safe, I told him he could come I church with me on Sunday and I picked him up from his apartment with my brother and sister in the car with me.

    It was at church that he confessed to me that he was Muslim. I had several hours at the college every day where I was just waiting for a ride home so inevitably he would seek me out and we would talk casually but he started doing things like touching my hair and such and when I asked him to stop he confessed that he didn’t really need help in English but that he just liked me (as best he could; his English was not great). I had to very carefully attempt to explain to him why I could not date a Muslim at which he accused me of being a racist (which is unfortunate because color doesn’t bother me). I told him that we would not be seeing each other again but he continued to try so I basically had to hide from him for the rest of the quarter and stop responding to his texts.

    As for your offer, I’m honestly going to have to think that over. I’m not averse to talking to you but… I don’t know, it’s complicated. I keep hoping and praying that I might meet somebody naturally, out in the world. Like my parents did. But it seems more and more like that wont happen. I’ve thought about services such as eHarmony, but I’m afraid of what my parents will think about that. Yes, even though I’m an adult, I still worry about things like that. I guess it comes down to “honor your father and mother” and all that.

    I’m at a point in my life where I feel like the world is caving in on me. I’ve been attending the community college too long without recieving an actual degree. I’ve realized I will never be a veterinarian (math and Chemisty are my downfall no matter what my practical skills may be). I hate my cashier job. My childhood best friend is married and just moved to Arizona because her husband has been asked to help start a church down there (she is going to be shocked by the weather, from cool, rainy Seattle to Arizona!).

    Anyway, I got distracted by family and stuff here and lost where I was going. I’ll let you read this wall of text first anyways.

    -Megan

  16. Megan May 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Sorry, I meant “many hot button issues that we strongly DISSAGREE on”. Don’t mean confuse. I typed this all out on mobile so sometimes autocorrect gets the best of me.

  17. Martin L. May 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    Megan,

    Take your time and think it over. If I am allowed to toot my own horn, I think I’m worth getting to know. I have a very frank, direct personality–people either love me or hate me very quickly, very little in between. You will know very early on if I’m someone you want to keep talking to, or if there’s “anything there”. I am early thirties, saved over half my life, saving myself sexually for marriage, a more or less conventional evangelical (albeit probably more conservative than the average churchgoer), average shape, very outdoorsy and nerdy (albeit more in the scientific/philosophical sense than the entertainment subculture sense).

    Tell you what, Megan, I’ll get back to you, in this thread, in a week. The ball’s in your court.

  18. Hana May 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi Megan, you sound like a great person and I’m sorry to hear about the things you’ve described. I might have ideas for you about school and jobs, though. I did an undergrad degree that I don’t think was very useful, and made it hard for me to find a job, but that meant that I had to be more creative in looking for one. I wouldn’t want to be a cashier forever, either. What subjects were you best at school? If you be anything other than a vet, what would you be?

  19. Martin L. May 20, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Hey there Megan, are you still around? How are you doing?

  20. Megan May 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Sorry guys- it’s been a crazy week between work and finals.

    Hana,

    I don’t know. Everything else I do isn’t really associated with a viable career. I can do art, but I’m not amazing, and I’m not kidding when I say probably 75% of the people at my college are pursuing an art degree. The market is flooded with art majors. Unless you can stand out in an incredible way, there’s truth to the saying “starving artist.” I’m really in to making things, and growing plants (indoors and out) and raising and training animals. Unfortunately animal training is another talent based field and you have to know people or be amazing to make a career of it. I can write, but I really don’t see a career that I could make of that. I’ve already shown myself again and again that I am not the novelist I would aspire to be. I can write about things, but not make original stories very well. Lets put it that way!

    Martin, you have been very sweet in your response and I appreciate your willingness to reach out. Although I think I may end up being just a bit too young for you (mentally even, I don’t know.) as I am only turning 23 next month, I’m willing to try and get to know you. Maybe we could connect through Facebook or email or something and see how things go?

  21. Hana May 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Megan, thanks for the reply. I think arts degrees, and humanities degrees, are not at all useful and many people who get them will struggle to figure out what to do after graduation. A lot of girls tend to do them, as well…I did one and some of my friends did. And in a lot of cases, depending on what people wanted to do afterwards, they graduated not knowing what to do next. I have been thinking a lot about this…humanities grads and/or girls in general going into the workforce without knowing where they should end up working…and I have some ideas/thoughts about this. One is that I think people should be better prepared before graduation. Could I talk to you a little more? My email address is asmanywaters@gmail.com (I used to have a blog by that name).

  22. Martin L. May 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Hi Megan,

    Sorry it took a long time for me to respond. I was on a very long road trip. Age does not matter to me as a general rule and as a matter of fact I tend to prefer someone who is younger because usually they are less corrupted and jaded. You can reach me at martinleanan@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you/getting to know you.

  23. Martin L. May 31, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    Hey there Megan… how are you doing?

  24. Megan June 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Hey Martin! Sorry to leave you hanging so long-/ I’ll try and get back to you soon. I’m dealing with finals week/some huge projects right now and haven’t had time for much else!

  25. Martin L. June 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Alright, I’ll look for your email when you’re able to do it. Best of luck with finals week, sister!

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