Are You Being Shamed for Being Single? Here's What to Do

How can we address the stigma and stop people from single shaming?

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #374

Some people believe it’s “wrong,” even odd, to be single. Apparently if you’re single and OK with it, people will look at you like you have two heads—both of which you should hang in shame.  Well, according to many of you, there is a stigma surrounding being single, and I for one think we need to address it.

For the life of me, I don’t understand how shaming someone about being single (of all things), let alone around Valentine’s Day, is a thing. If anything, people in crappy relationships who act as if everything is hunky dory should be shamed … but I digress. So, before you let the haters, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, shake it off and follow my top three quick and dirty tips for handling single shaming:

Tip #1: Shaming at Work

Alexa from Philadelphia reached out to me via Facebook about how her coworkers are having a hard time wrapping their brains around the fact she has been single for six months and doesn’t come to work crying every day about it. You know, because six months is so long to be on the dating shelf—clearly you’re missing out on life. Here’s the deal: why you are single is no one’s business. Also, it’s not a bad thing to be single! Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc., just because you’re not always dining at a table for two, even on romantic holidays like Valentine’s Day, doesn't mean you need to personally explain yourself. So here's my advice for Alexa, who was picked apart by her coworkers: never feel embarrassed for not finding love at this very moment. That’s the first thing to note. But also, you have to remember when others pry into your romantic life, they’re simply violating Unmannerly Rule #1: Thou Shall Mind Their Own Business.

Now, I understand that it’s easy to say, “Oh, just ignore them,” so don’t think I’ll just stop there. Come on, Mannerly Nation, you know me better. To handle the people who constantly shame you for being single at work, it’s good to remember you don’t have to discuss your personal life in the office. There is no rule that says that. So if it comes up at work, try the “professional approach.” I recommended Alexa say something like this: “That’s very sweet of you to care, but right now, I’m really focused on work. Not that I’m not looking but for now, work is my top priority. It will happen when it happens.” Here, you aren’t being rude in your response, you’re just telling them your main focus right now is work and not romance. Whether it’s the the case or not, how can a coworker knock you for being dedicated to the job? That’s a hard concept to argue with and is the best way to stop the argument before it gets more frustrating or upsetting.

Tip #2: Friend Shaming

Everyone has that one friend who constantly gloats about their relationship. You know, the friend who can’t fathom how their single friends wake up every day without someone next to them. This friend is so filled with arrogance that they can’t see how others aren’t basking in the romantic glow of love. Now, I say filled with arrogance and not filled with joy, because usually this friend is more focused on just having someone—anyone—in their life rather than the true value of that person. I mean, I love my wife more than anything in the world but I’m not going to wave that flag in front my single friends’ faces like they’re doing something wrong. Sadly, not all friends always have your best interest at heart when it comes to issues of the heart. With that, friend shaming towards single friends is always the most frustrating to handle since you'd expect more from them.