If you’re a single pastor, there’s a good chance you’ll experience an endless stream of well-meaning (mostly) people who want to be instrumental in finding your “special someone” for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are divorced, happily single, open to a relationship, or a confirmed party of one your whole life—you’ll encounter at least a few uncomfortable situations. Better to be prepared for them.
Here are three common, yet awkward situations, and a few suggestions as to how to diffuse the situation.
- You’ve just been hired. Upon hearing that you’re single, several of the older church members begin plotting to set you up with every single church member, niece, bank teller, and neighbor they know. Every week they suggest another prospect for you to meet. What do you do?
- Quit your job.
- Run or hide from them every time you see them walking your way.
- Agree to meet or talk with some/all of the people selected for you.
- Tell them while you appreciate the kind gesture, you’re sure God has a plan for your future. (You’ve probably heard this or similar phrases a few times from people in response to your singleness. Might as well use it to your advantage!)
- You’re cornered in the restroom where someone tells you about someone you “absolutely should meet.” What do you do?
- Ignore them completely. You’re in the restroom, after all!
- Ask them a few questions about this person to see if they might possess some qualities you’re hoping to find in someone.
- Ask to see a picture on their phone. (After you’ve both washed your hands, of course.)
- Ask them to give that person’s information to your assistant. Ask your assistant to either create a file to review later, or to delete all information as soon as the person leaves your office.
- You’re out in public when a church member sees you and introduces you to their very single niece/cousin/neighbor/hairstylist. What do you do?
- If you are interested, ask for her number and follow up later.
- If you are not interested, you can take the number anyway to be polite but you may have to explain why you didn’t reach out.
- If you are not interested, quickly excuse yourself from the conversation, saying you have an appointment soon. (Note: this is not a lie. You can have an appointment with yourself any time of day, even if you’re taking time to pray, reflect, or put up groceries.)
- Excuse yourself to the nearest restroom and climb out the window or back door of the building, escaping to your car.
Bottom line, while some people might come across as nosy, believe that they really do want you to be happy (many people believe happy=married), and they want to be a part of that in some way. In the meantime, be gracious when asked about your singleness and celebrate it!