Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles

Don’t let ‘why are you single’ lists get you down

There are a lot of “why are you single” lists popping up these days. I have mostly stopped clicking on the links. Maybe some of them are fine. Back when I used to look at them, though, far too often they came with an attitude that was insulting to single people—that all single people are single because there is something wrong with them and they need to be fixed. That’s an example of singlism and like all instances of that prejudice, it is unfair to single people. Only rarely did the authors ever concede that some people are single because that’s exactly what they want. Maybe they are even single-at-heart—not only do they like living single, but that’s how they lead their best, most meaningful, and most authentic lives.

My concern about these lists is that some single people might internalize the blame that is inherent in some of them. So as a countermeasure, here are some of my own writings on the topic. Included are some examples of how to critically assess these kinds of claims about single people and how to use the same standards for thinking about married people that are used to judge single people.

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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