Single shaming is when someone makes a person feel less than or unimportant simply because they are not in a relationship. These comments or sideways glances of disapproval may come as a well-meaning comment from a relative who longs to see you married. Or, the comments may be downright rude or an outright insult. Why do people do this? More importantly, if someone does it to you, you will need to know how to deal with single shaming.
At the heart of it is either the idea that a woman’s value is based upon whether or not she has a husband, or it’s a subtle to blatant form of bullying. If you are single, how do you respond to this subtle bullying? Some of us might even be single shaming friends without meaning to or even realizing that it’s happening.
First of all, breathe. Before you jump to conclusions and assume someone meant harm by their comment or actions about your single-hood, assume they really didn’t mean to hurt you. Step back, take a deep breath, and don’t get angry as a knee-jerk reaction.
Instead, shrug and reply that you haven’t met the right person, or disregard the comment entirely and change the subject by asking them a question about their life. Try your best to remember that when someone makes a single-shaming comment to you, it is never an indication of who you are or what you are worth. It is quite often more of a difference in perspectives. However, if they continue to press the issue, it is appropriate for you to let them know how hurtful their comments are.
Learning to respond to and cope with single shaming is a wonderful skill to develop. How you handle it will mean the difference between feel happy or despondent. Even if you long for a relationship, look at all of the nice things about being single. Remind yourself of all of these benefits and highlights such as freedom to pursue personal interests. You are free to make educational or business decisions without worrying about how it will impact the lives of a spouse or children.
Also, take a good look at yourself to make sure you haven’t fallen into the habit of single shaming your friends unaware. Sometimes those who are in a relationship want their friends to share in their joy and tend to come off as though they are looking down on others who are not attached. Take extra care to make sure you don’t do this to others.
Hold your head up high with confidence. Whether or not you have a partner has nothing to do with your worth. Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of single shaming yourself.