How To Deal With Single Shaming And Be Proud Of Your Solo Status

If you’ve ever been the victim of single shaming, you’re not alone. Research from Match (via Cosmopolitan) has found that since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 52% of people have been shamed for being single. It’s mad, isn’t it? But, as much as you might feel like it’s ridiculous, you could find yourself confronted with a single shaming comment from someone, such as a co-worker, friend, or family member. Single shaming can be described as a way to make you feel that being single is “less than” being in a relationship, and therefore less valuable. There are effective ways to deal with it – read on to find out how.

  1. Take a few deep breaths. Yes, you’re angry at the person who made you feel bad for being single, especially if they were so damn rude to you, but you don’t have to stoop to their level. It’s good to stay calm and think rationally. If the person wasn’t meaning to offend you, like your elderly grandmother who wouldn’t even think she’s single-shaming you, then staying calm prevents you from losing your cool and later feeling guilty for it. On the other hand, if the person was rude, they’re probably looking for a reaction – don’t give them the satisfaction by getting emotional.
  2. Figure out why you’re upset. While any rude comment directed at you will obviously get under your skin and burn like hell, it’s useful to figure out why the person’s single-shaming comment has hurt you. Do you feel embarrassed about being single? Do you feel insecure about not having a plus-one? Do you not feel the above, but you’re just feeling judged by this person? It helps to clarify why you’re feeling angry or hurt.
  3. Be casual about your response. Again, this is about not giving the person a reaction. If you respond to the single-shaming comment with anger or frustration, this makes it seem like being single is something to be ashamed of. If you casually shrug or say, “I haven’t met the right person to date” then you don’t make it a big deal. If you behave like it’s not a big deal, they’ll likely jump on board with that.
  4. Avoid defending yourself. While you might really want to tell the person where to shove it, this will just make you seem defensive about being single. Instead, focus on describing why you love being single. And hey, maybe this idiot needs a bit of educating, after all! This tip isn’t just useful for dealing with strangers who single shame you. It’s also good when dealing with single-shaming comments from relatives. If your loved ones can see what you’re about and what’s important to you, maybe they’ll finally get the message that you’re happy and leave you alone.
  5. Don’t apologize! Here’s where it becomes really important to figure out why you’re affected by the person’s comments. If you feel down or embarrassed about being single as it is, their comments could cause you to end up feeling apologetic for being single or making self-deprecatory comments, like, “I can’t seem to keep a man interested in me.” Don’t do it! Being single is a choice – own it and be proud of it.
  6. Flip the conversation around. Instead of getting stuck in those awkward situations where you feel put on the spot, try to change the subject. Ask the other person about their relationship or career, and then politely excuse yourself from the conversation if you don’t want to continue chatting to them for the whole night. If you do want to have a chat with the person, it might even be a good idea to tell them you’d rather talk about other things instead of boring relationships, like your recent career success.
  7. Make a joke. Sometimes the best way to deal with a single-shaming comment is by laughing it off. This not only shows the person making the comment that you’re above their criticism and are unaffected by it, but remember that sometimes people in relationships are actually secretly jealous of single people, which is why they could be making mean comments. Rise above it and laugh it off – laugh at them too.
  8. Call it out. If you’re being single shamed by someone in your family or social circle who appears to be lightly teasing you but it’s hurtful and it keeps coming up, you don’t have to put up with it. In these situations, sometimes it’s not enough to make a joke or change the subject. You have to nip their bad behavior in the bud. Tell them that it’s cool if they’re concerned about your happiness, but it’s not cool if they’re single-shaming you. Sometimes just calling it out is enough to make them stop.
  9. Don’t explain your life choices. While it can help you to describe why you’ve chosen to be single, you don’t have to go into details about your life choices and how you feel, especially if the person who’s single shaming you is a stranger. It might be helpful to focus on short, meaningful words to get your point across, such as “I don’t need a relationship to be worthy.” Make sure the comments you choose are empowering, so you feel you can walk away with your head held high, even if the comments have gotten to you.
  10. Make sure you’re not shaming yourself. If you compare yourself and where you’re at in your life’s journey to other people and their stories and feel like you’re not checking off relationship milestones, it’s easy to feel bad about yourself or like you’re not worthy. Don’t fall into this trap of shaming yourself for being single. Remind yourself of your value and why a relationship is just icing on a cake, but you’re the whole cake on your own. In other words, you’re complete just as you are.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.