Dear No One,
Let’s set the stage. You’re at a birthday party of an old friend from high school. Well, friend? Perhaps acquaintance is a better word. Your actual friend was invited to this reunion party and dragged you along with them. As you try to avoid people you weren’t planning on seeing ever again, you make it to the table with snacks and drinks. However, before you can even take a sip, they come around. Now depending on who you are they can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be nosy parents or family members, they can be those standoffish people who used to be popular in high school, they can even be that one girl who you used to hang out with but who has changed dramatically after you last spoke. That’s right, they are the people who are overly invested in the idea of love.
If you are in a new relationship, they’ll question you like they’re a detective on the case. Where did you meet? What is your partner like? How long have you been together? The rush of new love from someone in their circle almost gives them an orgasmic kind of contact high.
If you are dating, but haven’t found anything serious yet, they’ll ask you even more invasive questions. What was your last date like? Is that app actually worth it? Did he make you… You know? Although their intentions may be pure, their questions are not!
If you are freshly broken up, having to answer their questions is the worst. Who broke up with who? Did you make them cry? Was it an amicable split? I cannot stress enough how painful it can be for a person to have to relive all those moments and how grotesque it is to interrogate someone you haven’t spoken to in years about such personal topics.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you’re close friends with someone and if you both feel comfortable around each other discussing romantic liaisons (or the lack thereof), keep having those conversations! It can be insightful, meaningful, and even a little funny to reminisce about our adventures in love. But the events I am referring to are not of such a kind-hearted nature. You see, there is a difference between having a trip down memory lane with friends, and being forced to discuss your love life at a party with people who won’t even remember your name the day after.
Our generation (those who are currently in our 20s-30s) seem to be obsessed with the idea of love and they are desperately trying to push some romance novel narrative onto those around them. For example: Oh they broke up again? Don’t worry, they’ll get back together like Ross and Rachel. I can give you several instances in which this expression came up in conversation, but for the sake of privacy, I’ll digress. We’ve normalised these conversations to the point that it messes with our minds. It makes us question who is actually involved in our love lives. How often have you heard your friends say I was just afraid of what people would think of me if I suddenly broke up with him/ her, or, I’m just afraid of how people will react when they find out I’m dating someone right now. It irks me to see how many people begin to care more about how a relationship status will impact their image, rather than caring about the relationship itself. Not to mention that we are still in the middle of figuring out what we want from love and that having an interesting experience or two are part of our self-exploration, rather than some party trick.
If you’re at a party surrounded by strangers, please keep in mind that not everybody feels comfortable sharing intimate details or life experiences. It will undoubtedly take some unlearning to not refer to love in every conversation and to not feel obligated to disclose such information.
Your love life is your business, so if someone calls you a prude for not disclosing how many people you shared your bed with; if someone judges you for not talking about your romantic partner as much as you should; if someone tries to shame you for being single and NOT looking; kindly tell them to get a love life of their own, instead of prying into yours. Better yet, tell them to read this article ;).
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