Dealing with Well-Meaning People

Best end result

Just recently I received an email asking me to address a certain topic here on Purposeful Singleness. I’m happy to do that in today’s post. If you would like to see a topic addressed let me know either in the comments below or by using the contact form. I won’t promise to answer them all, but I’ll gladly consider each one.

Here was the recent request:

“Hi, thanks so much for this website it has been a huge help for me. This type of stuff is rarely talked about in the church and because if that it can be isolating sometimes. I myself am decidedly single. Anyway, I was wondering if you can write a post about how to deal with well-meaning people who assume you want to be ‘introduced’ to people. It is something that has frustrated me recently. I can understand why someone would assume that a single person is looking for a relationship since so many singles hate their status but not everyone is the same. Not all singles are looking to be un-single. Personally, I would appreciate it if people would ask me first before taking it upon themselves to match me up. Thank you!”

First of all, thanks so much for your kinds words about the website! It’s always encouraging to hear that the content here is a help and encouragement to those reading it.

Dealing with Well-Meaning People

I’m not sure there is any one right technique for dealing with those dear people in our lives who mean well, but sometimes create problems rather than solving any. Responding and relating to them depends on the personality of the person, your own personality, the relationship between the two of you, and what was actually said or done. Most of all, it depends on what God is leading you to do or not do. I’m always amazed how the Holy Spirit can give us words and responses in the moment that we would never have thought of on our own, even if we’d had plenty of time to think it over!

Our Inward Response

Well-meaning matchmaker

It’s easy to let our default feelings take over and react negatively to people who say or do things we don’t like. It always helps me to consider what their motives might be, though I admit to frequently reacting – inwardly, at least, if not outwardly. If I can view things from their perspective, though, it always helps.

In this case, the well-meaning person likely enjoys being married, and wants the same for you. Or, they assume getting married would be your dream come true, and wants to help move things along to that assumed goal. Bottom line is, this person likely cares a lot about you, so they want to help you find what they assume will make you happy. If you think this is likely the case, be grateful to have a friend that cares about you, even if it is a bit misguided.

Our Outward Response

If you find yourself being unwillingly introduced to someone for a potential relationship – even with the best of intentions – things can get awkward quickly, depending on what is said by the well-meaning matchmaker. Treating others as we’d like to be treated, though, is always a good policy. We can be pleasant and polite without committing to something we don’t want. Who knows what new thing God might be orchestrating through this introduction – a great friend, a ministry or business opportunity, or a link to someone or something else God wants to bring into your life for whatever cool reason He has up His sleeve!

There’s nothing wrong, though, after the dust has settled a bit, with talking things over with the wannabe matchmaker. Depending  on what your relationship is with them, their personality, and the likelihood of their pulling such a stunt again, it might not hurt to let them know you’re not interested in being introduced to potential spouses and why. Unless you tell them otherwise, they’ll continue to assume marriage is your intention, just like it was likely theirs. After all, they can’t read your mind! Sometimes people who are happily (or even unhappily) married can’t comprehend someone being happy and content unmarried. You may not convince them, but at least you’ll have given them something to think about.

God has given us so many different people in our lives – some easy to get along with, others not so easy. Often when encountering unpleasant people or situations, I remember His promise to work everything together for good for those who love Him.[1] I realize that, after all, the One who created me and the purpose for my life truly does know what will bring about the best end result. We can trust Him for grace to deal with the unpleasant parts of that plan – even well-meaning matchmakers!

[1] Romans 8:28

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Comments

  1. Otho says

    Well said, Fern. Each person need to know and hear from God what He has for them and what He want them to do. God has a purpose and plan for each one of His children. Do all for the glory of God.

  2. Karen says

    Great question and great answer. What I have discovered over the years is that sadly, most people try to steer others to their way of thinking because it makes them feel better about themselves. So If you are single, they want you to be married like they are to avoid feeling uncomfortable or whatever. Most people seem to want to be around those that are as much like them in every way possible, and dealing with “unlike” is difficult and perplexing to them. When one is widowed like I was, the feeling among some seems to be that a new spouse must be the answer. Thankfully no one has tried to set me up with anyone as I have made it very clear that I do not want to remarry. If people respect you, they will honor your wishes and not vex you with trying questions or unwanted manipulations.

  3. Rala says

    I have a very full life and yet have a hard time meeting someone I would want to date. For this reason, I would actually welcome friends who know me well and share my Christian faith and values introducing me to someone they think I might be interested in and that might be interested in me. I wouldn’t want to feel obligated to date this person, but it would be nice to have some help meeting potential dating partners. Given that marriage and family are so important to most of us, I wish the Church as a whole would help singles who do want to be married to meet other like-minded individuals to not only marry, but to marry well. In particular, very little acknowledgment is being provided for Adult Singles (35+ yoa) in the church and I find this extremely frustrating. This is just my opinion, based on my feelings and experience. Some of you may agree or disagree. Blessings!

  4. Linda says

    Fern,
    Thank you for this article. It’s just what I needed. I’m in a situation where someone is trying to set me up and I’m just not interested. God has other plans for my life. The examples you give on how to talk to the matchmaker will be very helpful.

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