By Michele Keegan, Founder of You’re Single, We Get It
There are now more single adults than married adults in the United States. Yet, the singles community, which is inclusive of intentionally single, circumstantially single, newly single, single parents, etc, has not found our collective voice and power.
You’re Single, We Get It is a podcast and new platform designed to transcend the conversation on being single and to build community among singles. Finding comfort as singles allows us to contribute more to society, be agents of change, confidently share our talents, and push boundaries on cultural and societal norms.
Here are 10 things You’re Single, We Get It is talking about beyond the question of how to find a partner and get married:
- What does day-to-day life look like and how can it be easier? We are looking at alternative housing situations, building your network of single friends, asking for assistance, figuring out how to cope with not being anyone’s “number 1,” traveling as a singlesomething, how to have celebrations for events in your life, and dealing with workplace discrimination.
- Why there is nothing “wrong” with you because you are single. Whether you desire a partner or not, being single does not signify that anything is wrong with you. Spending time asking yourself “why you are single” is a distraction. Maybe you will meet the right person, maybe you won’t. Instead, ask yourself how amazing can I make the parts of my life that I can control. That change in focus can be transformative.
- Asking for what we need and want from Corporate America and our policymakers. Often Corporate America gives “discounts” to everyone else but singles – kids, students, seniors, and families. In reality, we are being levied a surcharge, which is unfair and unnecessary. And in many municipalities, landlords can still refuse to rent to single tenants, thanks to a federal housing policy that doesn’t prohibit marital-status discrimination. By banding our voices together, we can change policies and corporate practices.
- How to dispel the shame around being single – both feeling shame and being shamed. The cultural narrative that there is something “wrong” with adults who are not coupled up leads to a lot of shame. That shame often holds us back in other aspects of our lives. In order to maximize our lives and our single experience, we need to kick out shame and let society know that their pity and shame are not wanted or needed.
- Challenging the perception that singles are “less than” or “overgrown kids” and that our lives are somehow less complicated, challenging, or demanding than the lives of our partnered friends, family, and colleagues. Being single can be complicated, hard, and overwhelming. Our lives are not necessarily “charmed” or “easy” or “lacking responsibility,” as many married folks assume. In reality we have to do everything ourselves, without any day-to-day support or backup. And we often have to do it on a single income. Society needs to stop dismissing the challenges in our lives.
- Responding to outdated societal assumptions and perspectives about the single experience. Single women are not “spinsters” or “old hags” or “crazy cat ladies.” We are not at home every night weeping and wishing for a partner. Alternatively, just because we are single doesn’t mean we are out partying every night and being sexually promiscuous either. We are so much like everyone else with responsibilities, friends, professional and social obligations, challenges, and successes. Married people: please stop projecting your desires and fears on us.
- Strategies for responding to those questions and comments – Why are you still single? Have you thought about [insert unsolicited dating advice]? Don’t worry, I’m sure you will find the right person. Okay, non-single folks, here’s the deal – think about something that is sensitive to you (perhaps being overweight) and consider how it would feel to have other people unsolicitedly comment on or ask you for updates about it (Try any new diets recently?), share ideas on how you could deal with it better (Try drinking an entire glass of water before eating!), or tell you about the silver linings. Coupled up people do that to single folks all too often. Please stop, unless you have permission.
- How to navigate challenging or charged social situations like weddings, professional events where spouses are invited, and enjoying your own company in public. The stigma associated with being single can translate into uncomfortable social experiences, especially when you are the or one of the lone single people in attendance. There are ways to navigate those situations – get plugged in and learn how!
- Exploring ways to experience intimacy as a single person. Intimacy is about connection, closeness, and vulnerability. We, as single people, can have that; it just takes a little ingenuity in figuring out how to obtain that outside a romantic partnership. Luckily, it is easier to achieve than you might think!
- Identifying the benefits of being single and capitalizing on them. Without having to worry about other people’s schedules, we often have the freedom to figure out who we want to be and design our lives accordingly. We have the luxury of deciding how we want to spend our free time or where we want to travel. And, one of my greatest pleasures, I have the opportunity to be a Super Aunt! Being single has it’s own challenges, but it is important that we embrace the gifts and benefits of being single as well.
Women, like Bella DePaulo, Rebecca Traister, and Mandy Hale, are leading the conversation on redefining the single experience. Dispelling the shame we feel and others cast upon us for being single is key to unleashing the gifts we have to provide to ourselves and society. I know that’s been true for me.
Join the conversation and get involved!
Get Plugged In:
Stay tuned for workshops on how to maximize your single experience (and no, it isn’t focused on dating or marriage, even though it’s cool if you want those experiences).