As someone who was single for a long time before she wasn’t, I know firsthand how coupled people often Other the unattached.
In the spirit of using more inclusive language, I’ve compiled a list of five common sayings that can be insulting to the unpartnered. Please consider eliminating these phrases from your vocabulary. Doing so could make you a better ally to the singles in your orbit!
1. There’s Someone For Everyone
This platitude is problematic because it assumes everyone wants “a someone” in the first place. Science shows plenty of singles are happy. In fact, they’re often happier than their partnered peers. So, stop suggesting people in your life are going solo because they’ve been unlucky in love. Who knows? Maybe their lives are better for having the additional freedom a single lifestyle affords. Maybe they got lucky by not settling down. Maybe they even secretly feel sorry for you. See, the pity’s not so much fun when it’s on the other foot!
2. You’re Being Too Picky
This one is a pretty serious example of single-shaming. At best, you’re encouraging a friend to settle for someone they’re not comfortable with. At worst, you’re slyly suggesting the sort of person they’re seeking is out of their league. The truth is, single folks can be as picky or as open-minded as they like. It’s entirely their prerogative! Please do not presume to tell another human which sort of partner they do or do not deserve. If they’d rather be single until they meet their own personal Timothie Chalamet, please support them in that quest!
3. Aren’t You Lonely?
First of all, everyone gets lonely! This includes partnered people, and likely explains why the divorce rate is so damn high. In fact, research suggests that in some respects, single people are far less lonely! Case in point: The average single person has 1.9 more friends than their married counterparts. There’s a variety of valid ways to form meaningful attachments, many of which do not involve romance. For reference, please watch Steel Magnolias. It’s a very good film.
4. Tick tock! It’s Time to Worry About That Biological Clock!
First of all, assuming someone wants kids in 2019 is about as retrograde as dial-up internet. Plenty of people are content being child-free, so don’t assume your uncoupled friends are desperate to have babies. Plus, unless you’re their doctor (which ethical guidelines suggest you probably shouldn’t be), you don’t know your friend’s individual fertility situation. Invoking the passage of time is in no way productive!
5. You’ll Find Them When You Stop Looking
Admittedly, most people who use this aphorism are well-meaning. They’re trying to get you to stop fretting about finding the right person and just enjoy life. However, it’s still a condescending (and unrealistic) piece of advice. Research shows approximately 40% of American couples now meet online. So while it’s not healthy to live a life that revolves around ating, the stats show looking for a partner is often the best way to find one. Like anything in life, dating typically takes effort. Let’s stop circulating the fairytale notion that laziness breeds love. If you were lucky enough to find someone without looking, that’s awesome! But please recognize not all people are so privileged.