Have you heard any of this advice before?
"If you don't talk to the guy you like how will he ever get to know you?"
"Be mysterious. Guys like a challenge."
"Guys won't pursue you if they don't know you're at least a little bit interested in them. You gotta flirt a little!"
"Be sure to always let the man initiate."
Sometimes it feels like I am a puppet on a string being passed from person to person, each with their own idea of what I should do to change my single status. From well meaning friends to secular and Christian articles online, I feel bombarded with things I should be doing and things I should never do.
I always know what I want to say when people give me advice. I want to express my annoyance. I want to tell them to mind their own business. I feel like starting a rant where just because a girl has a boyfriend doesn't mean she is the queen of relationship advice, nor is she entitled to give me all of that advice.
And then there's the awkward situation when your friend wants to set you up with someone. I always have competing emotions within myself when that happens. In a way I am genuinely happy that this friend or acquaintance would be willing to help me in that way, and also excited at the possibility of meeting a cute guy. But at the same time I feel offended. I feel like they are telling me that I am not enough, that I am missing something, that clearly because I am still single I am doing something wrong and need help finding a guy.
So how do we respond?
First, no matter what advice your friend is trying to give you or what guy the older lady at your church wants you to meet, we must respond in love. Though it's hard, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I need to assume that my friends are trying to help me because they love me and not so they can fix me or because they think they are superior. Often, I'll just smile, then try to go on with my life.
Secondly, when people tell me something that I should be doing or something that I should change, I try to graciously thank them, but then I need to honestly and prayerfully consider their advice. Am I being too quiet? Should I be talking more to this guy, or is this just the way God made me? Sometimes they are right and I have gained new wisdom. Sometimes they are wrong and I need to forget what they said. If prayer and an inward search of my heart does not bring clarity, I should talk to my parents or an older believer that I respect and trust and ask their advice.
Third, I think it wise to simply forget what was said to me. Even if I decide to take their advice, I often start to think too much about why they gave me that advice, leading me to conclusions like, they must think of me as such a loser because I am single, leading to more discontent, worry, and fear. By not dwelling on their advice, I am more likely to be content with the single status God gave me as well as not assume they are thinking the worst of me.