The holiday season is in full swing. The holidays are a lovely time of cheer and family gatherings for most people. If you are single, there can often be another layer of discontent, sadness, and loneliness. With these competing feelings, often times we find ourselves defenseless and hurt by single shaming from people that love us.
What is single shaming?
Single shaming is when people ask questions or make comments that imply that they are sad for you or that you should be sad that you are single.
Examples of single shaming:
“Wow! You’re almost *insert age* and you not married YET?! What you waiting on girl?!”
“Better you than me! Girl I could never!”
“You must not want it bad enough yet.”
“You’re too picky then. There are plenty of guys out there.”
“Okayyyy. Don’t end up out here alone trying to be so independent!”
The first thing I try to remind myself of when I feel like I’ve been “single shamed” is to assume good intentions. 95% of the time people do not say these things to be hurtful. They say these things because they want what they think is best for you. They think that these comments are harmless reminders. THEY are uncomfortable with your singleness even if you aren’t. That is just the truth. But they don’t say it to hurt you. Once you really accept that it makes it easier to have conversations without throwing shade right back at them.
Secondly, get comfortable with your own singleness. As mentioned before, other people are often so convinced that every single person is miserable that they become uncomfortable for us. They’re so selfless (read that with all sarcasm please). I encourage you to become comfortable with this season in your life. If you’re comfortable with it, you can ease the discomfort and worry of those that care about you. If a friend or family member went missing (nobody is able to reach them) for a week, you are going to be worried until you know they are okay. This is no different. Your loved ones are going to worry until they see that you are okay. The same concept applies. Because society tells us that single = miserable, your loved ones are going to worry until you show them that you are okay.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. When people start single shaming you, it’s okay to remind yourself and them how amazing you are. This can be done in a very nice way.
“I’m still single right now but I’m using this time to work on me. I actually published a book and launched a blog earlier this year! You should check it out if you have a chance! I just finished up my Masters degree as well! I’ve been really getting to know myself and enjoying my own company. It’s quite nice.”
This serves as a gentle reminder to people that you are a whole person with dreams and aspirations with or without a significant other. This season has so much purpose and so many benefits and people often just forget that. We even forget that. Don’t let people make you feel bad about something that you can’t control. As much as we all like to have control over as much of our lives as we can, we cannot control another person. We cannot control divine timing. This is both a hard pill to swallow and a relief. It’s a hard pill to swallow because we can’t plan for marriage or a man like we can for a degree or a big international trip. However this is a relief because we can stop putting pressure on ourselves by trying to control it once we realize that we just can’t. *shrug*
Remember: You are single but you are not alone.