real life

It’s time to stop telling single people to "get out there".

Lately when I catch up with friends, whether they’re my closest girlfriends or old work colleagues, it doesn’t take long before they all chant the same thing: ‘You should get out there,’ they say.

They say this because I’m single and it’s been over a year. The year was hard going, a young baby on my own and managing an ex that had deceived me, but now the message from those around me is clear, GET BACK OUT THERE!’

“Single” is a relationship status in its own right. Not a waiting period.

It makes me wonder, where is this place they’re all telling me to go? When I’ve inquired, it’s actually the internet, for internet dating.

So really it’s not out anywhere, it’s at home on my computer.

Even though the majority of my friends, and most people in their 30s met their partners through friends, at work or school, they all seem to confidently espouse the virtues of internet dating (although for many they wouldn’t dream of doing it themselves). With an example or two of success stories that make me and the others on the receiving end of the ‘Out there’ directive feel like if we’re not doing it then we’re really not helping ourselves.

The thing is though: internet dating is not for everyone. Yes there are success stories but there are also horror stories. There’s the rollercoaster ride of mismatched likes and rejections and the most feared of all – that some people aren’t honest about who they are, and for those of us who’ve already been deceived, internet dating is quite literally the last place we want to be. And of course some people are just not into it, for a variety of reasons – and that should be ok.

But it’s not just internet dating, ‘out there’ is also bars and nightclubs. Friends say, ‘You should go out, I’ll mind the baby.’ They don’t want to go out because they’re too tired. Well guess what? So am I!

The offer might be well meaning but for many of us, we were just like you until things changed. We were over going out, don’t really enjoy loud bars any more, can’t deal with hangovers and are really tired by 9pm – we’re just the same but we lost our other half that made it ok to stay at home. So if the new half is ‘out there’ then we might just have to leave it for now and low and behold consider oneself a whole.

12 mistakes people make on Tinder.

I once shared a desk with an Indian colleague and each weekend he had a date. His many Aunties were furiously matchmaking so that he could find love. His family even paid for him to attend a ‘dating’ conference where all the men and women had been screened and deemed suitable, I laughed at the time but now I’m kind of envious.

If only more friends and family could bring the ‘out there’ in, then maybe more of us would find the much-coveted love again.

Mavis King is a Sydney-based writer that unexpectedly found herself raising her daughter as a solo parent. She has a professional career and is living proof that it takes a village to raise a child.