People have told me many times that I have a unique view of the world. Sometimes this means I’m the only one laughing at my own jokes. Other times it leads to misunderstanding, when I don’t notice or I don’t understand commonly held expectations or viewpoints.
For that reason, something that’s pretty important to me is viewing people as individuals.
I seek, as much as I can, to let people be who they are. I do not always do this well. Sometimes I fail miserably.
Lately I’ve had several encounters which cause me to notice one of my categories with the eyes of our culture.
That category is, The Single Woman.
I’m going to share a list of ways that I do not fit what is commonly believed concerning this category. I know other women who do fit these expectations. There are also ways that I fit into the category that other women do not.
In no particular order…
We all love to babysit.
Today someone I don’t know very well came to my door and, with courage I admire, asked me for a favor. I love that I live in a community where people reach out this way. Here is how they phrased their request, “Are you, by chance, the type of person who likes to babysit on short notice?”
It was actually the best way to ask because it gave me the freedom to be honest. I found it painful to answer, knowing how it could sound to the person asking. If I am not honest about this, I will only be giving myself more opportunity to feel sick about the the fact that I do not enjoy babysitting.
I swallowed, laughed and said (with as much apology in my face as possible), “I’m not the kind of person that enjoys babysitting at all.”
The encounter did, in fact, leave me feeling heavy with guilt, but the truth is that everyone has different skills, gifts and interests. I feel the same way about babysitting kids I don’t know as I feel about going on a blind date. Do I know the person I’m going to pass time with? No. Will I feel at ease navigating the get-to-know-you process while under the pressure to perform? No. Do I like kids? YES, as much as I like adult people when I get to know them. There is some strange role a babysitter plays, and playing that role gives me hives.
If you are a single man, you are seen as prey.
This is less something I’ve heard talked about and more something I just feel when I’m around single men. They are often quite guarded. Many times I want to say out loud, “Hey! You seem great! Although I am single, I am not sizing you up to decide how best to chase you!”
This is actually quite similar to the thing with babysitting. I like single men just as much as any other human I get to know and grow to appreciate. Do I get crushes? Yes, but I deal with them like a big girl and not a desperate stalker.
While I am really enjoying my singleness, and will enjoy it until I die if that is how my life goes, I would also like to marry. This, however, does not mean that I’m husband hunting.
So. Relax. Feel free to be my friend.
Also? Married people: Relax with the matchmaker mindset. If two single people like each other, they’ll figure it out.
We have limitless free time, i.e. we don’t have a life.
I have a dear friend who is single and is (as she calls herself) “middle-aged.” I have heard her say on several occasions that she can do a particular favor for someone because she has no life- because she has no family. The first time I heard her say this, I felt like Luke Skywalker when he finds out about his evil dad. Hopefully I didn’t actually yell a long, loud, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!” My dear friend is the most giving and sacrificial person that I know, but she is constantly available because of her godliness, not because of her lack of a life.
When it comes to busyness or how a person spends their time, it’s always better to not compare. I want to be available and engaged in as much of life as I am able. I am learning. If you are married and your single life looked like a constant party, just know that everyone is different.
We’re uncomfortable hanging out with our friends while their kids are around.
This may seem to contradict the thing I said about babysitting but hear me, hanging out as friends is not the same as babysitting. If you have kids and we are friends (or you want to be friends) having your kids around will not be annoying!! Also, talking on the phone with friends that have kids is not a problem. I would love to dive into your life with you.
Having said that, I should confess that sometimes I forget about the “little ears” thing. This has been cause for me to apologize on many occasion for the things my friend’s kids have picked up around me. So. Don’t be afraid to give me The Eye. I’m a semi-compulsive over sharer.
Okay. That’s my list. You probably have a different list and I would love to hear it!! What wrong assumptions do people make about you that you want to call out?