6. Do you think maybe you’re being too picky?
Ah yes, that’ll be it. When I looked out at that queue of 17 men beating each other off with sticks to get to me first, and then rejected each of them in turn, it was my pickiness that was the problem.
7. Have you thought about speed dating/internet dating/blind dating?
Dating? You mean I could be looking for men to date? Wow – I had no idea, thank goodness you told me. It’s not like I’ve been wrestling for months over whether or not this is a road to go down, and how and why and when and where it might all happen, and what I’ll do if it doesn’t work out. I’ll get onto that straight away.
8. You’re so lucky to be footloose and fancy free.
Yes, you’re right, I am. I’m really lucky to have freedom in where I go and what I do and how I spend my time and my money. It’s great to be able to be independent and to make my own decisions. But you’re really lucky to have someone to hug when you get home at night and someone to share the household chores with and someone to talk through your day with and someone to go to parties with. And if in the context of our friendship we can talk about the things that are great for me and the things that are great for you, and share them together, along with the things that are hard for us both, then that’s brilliant. But if you throw the above sentence at me when I’m feeling lonely and alone then I will find it hard to be gracious.
9. My husband/wife/children are driving me mad. It’s so hard being married/having children – if I were you I wouldn’t bother.
So would you like to swap places? No, I thought not. Please don’t insult me and your family with this one. You’re allowed to have a bad day, week or month, we all are, and if there’s one thing I don’t envy parents it’s sleepless nights. But please, don’t say things you don’t mean.
10. I think God has given me a word for you – you’ll be married by the age of X/be pregnant by next Christmas/have 6 children...
I really hardly know what to say about this one. I wholeheartedly believe in prayer and prophecy and I love to give and be given words from God – it’s a joy and a privilege. But please, please, please – DON’T give people words about marriage and children, no matter how positively sure you are that God has spoken. If need be, write the word down and seal it in an envelope and hide it away and if it comes true, take it out and give it to the person and it will be a wonderful confirmation from God. But refrain from saying it to them. I guarantee that it will not be helpful. Ever.
So there you have it - my Top 10! Said in love, and with good grace and humour, but with seriousness to. Wouldn't it be great if we could all make a bit more effort with what we say, and how we say it, so that we communicate love and acceptance and understanding rather than judgement and criticism...? I promise I'll try...