There's a lot to love about being single. Continually explaining why you are single, isn't one of those things. But when you regularly rock up to parties alone, you are apparently inviting your peers to pick at this particular scar, in public. Of course, we know the questions come from a caring place. But the truth is, we don't have any answers.
It is a fascinating topic though, judging by the frequency I get asked. So to shed some light on the situation, here are three women that have summed up better than I ever could some of the thoughts and feelings that consume the single girl's psyche in 2016.
Nicole Arbour: What's wrong with feelings?
If there is one thing there is absolutely no room for in modern dating - it's feelings. Thanks to the arrival of Tinder, boys already at a statistical advantage seem eternally poised to move on to the next girl one swipe away that might be prettier / wilder / lower-maintenance. So if you're brave enough to enter this minefield, where the odds are stacked so spectacularly against you, you'd better have your guard WAY up.
Nicole Arbour's commentary of how dating has been destroyed is fist-pumping perfect. She explains how it's now just a game where you can have no emotions, we don't go on dates we just "hang out", and under no circumstances can you tell a guy you like him or ask where the hanging out is going, lest he run. Or ghost you. (I'm still deciding which is worse).
"I'm sick of guys calling girls crazy, or clingy, because they text you when they like you," she groans. "Isn't that the point of dating? You want them to like you!" Yeah I'm just as confused as you, Nicole. Here's the video - be prepared for a lot of truth/F-bombs.
Ellie Austin: Our biological clocks AREN'T ticking
I hate telling dates I'm turning 30. Not because I feel insecure about my age - I'm actually more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been. But because most boys assume girls my age want a ring on it, stat.
In "Young, attractive, educated, female - and single" Ellie Austin debunks this most infuriating myth. "If twentysomething men broached the subject of marriage and children with their female counterparts - rather than jumping to panicked conclusions based on GCSE science and Bridget Jones - they might be pleasantly surprised," she says.
Spoiler alert! We're not in a rush. We literally just got our sh-t together. We are nailing our careers; we can afford exotic holidays and we love sleeping until 1pm on rainy weekends before binge watching box sets. We have no intention of sacrificing all that just yet. Yes, we might want an awesome boyfriend to share these adventures and indulgences, but marriage and babies? Not so much.
"I always think I want a baby," my super successful and hilarious pal from school said to me last week. "Then I remember I wouldn't be able to spontaneously go to the pub. Or on holiday. Or anywhere really." So yeah, our biological clocks aren't ticking as loudly as you think.
Sheena Sharma: We don't want to feel like a liability
This is the tricky one. The one we realllllly don't want to talk about. The fact that some days, when life gets really hard, no one can fill the void of a significant other that can give you a "there, there, I got you" hug.
"Family and friends can only be there for you so much when you're feeling lost," explains Sheena Sharma* in her most recent article for Elite Daily. "At the end of the day, they have girlfriends, boyfriends, pets and families of their own to tend to. As a single girl, you don't want to feel like a liability by pouring all of your sh-t onto them, so you kind of just step back and let your sh-t consume you instead."
We compulsively feel the need to bury this emotional vulnerability. Probably because the last thing we want is to come across as crazy and clingy (see above). It would be nice if society's discourse could be a little kinder to us, reminding us we are human beings and social animals that aren't meant to be alone. It's OK to crave partnership.
So the next time you want to dust off the "it'll happen when you least expect it" chat for your single gal pal - don't. Ask her where she's travelling next, or how her blog is going, or if she aced that part-time course she's been doing. It will make for a much more interesting conversation.