We have all been there. Maybe your last relationship had a really rocky breakup and you are just too raw to leap into another potentially painful situation. Other aspects of your life may be taking too much time and effort right now and you simply cannot come with the energy to go looking for a new love. Your solo status may or may not be a problem for you, but everyone has “those” friends who are driven to stick their noses into this very private area of your life. Even if they mean well you might be at your wits end trying to deal with their persistence.

So, how do you deal with these pushy friends who will not accept that you are not ready for a relationship? Try one of the following tips:

Direct Approach

confrontSit down with the offending friend, or one by one if more than one matchmaker is on your back, and lay it out to him or her. Explain your reasoning and tell him or her that, although you love them and their concern for you, this issue is absolutely off the table. If they bring it up again change the subject or just ignore them. When I have found myself in this situation I give my errant buddy a “death stare,” refusing to respond to their blather until they had run out of words. One friend was so intransigent that I made her sign a contract not to bug me or our friendship was over.

Sideways Approach

Remind Ms. or Mr. Knows Better Than You of the epic fails they have had in their own love lives when they made do with insignificant others because they felt everyone has to be coupled. This can seem brutal so stash this in your back pocket for when they are at their most relentless. Let them know you appreciate their concern but you are taking their unfortunate experiences to heart, and they should as well. Reassure them that you have them on speed dial when you finally feel ready to take the plunge, but until them you are paddling your own canoe.

Gentle Approach

For those friends and relative who are not so much pushy as worried chat with them about how comfortable you are being single right now. Acknowledge that they want only the best for you but that all wonderful things come in their own good time. Agree to table the discussion for a set period, but give them a date certain a month or two in the future when you can again discuss your relationship status. Knowing that you are not forbidding any relationship talk but asking for a brief reprieve may help these folks move on to more constructive discussions.

Forever Approach

ignoreAfter a night or weekend of enduing the ultimate in pushy “friends” you might want to take the penultimate step of shutting them completely out of your life. I finally felt I had to do this with a couple of high school friends who could not support my career goals mainly because I was not making love and marriage a priority. After that ugly weekend, I stopped answering calls, emails and texts. No explanations. Over the years since I have felt lighter as these two never really had my back or my best interests in mind. Not all old friends are keepers, and maintaining your self-esteem may require a few be thrown back into the ocean of “musts” and “shoulds” from whence they came.