We Need To Stop Single Shaming: Here’s How You Can Support Women In Your Life Searching For Love

By Keelia Clarkson··  8 min read
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We’ve been doing our single friends a disservice, and it’s time we change that.

We talk quite a bit about how incredible marriage can be (because it is incredible) around here. We offer insight and advice for ladies in long term relationships and try to provide ladies looking for “the one” with encouragement and guidance. We care about helping women cultivate healthy, meaningful, authentic romantic relationships in a culture that so often gives destructive advice. But it’s time we talk about single shaming. 

A single woman in a group of married or taken ladies is often met with a few phrases: “Don’t worry, you’ll find the right one soon.” “Aw, I just wish I could make it happen for you – you deserve happiness!” “I can’t imagine doing so much of life alone!”

how on earth are you still single fuller house

While these comments are often well-meaning, they typically leave the woman on the receiving end feeling like she’s considered as less of a person because she’s not in a relationship, as if her life won’t have really started until she meets “the one” – and this is what’s now being referred to as single shaming.

But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do or say anything at all in reference to relationship status or romance in our single friend’s presence. We still need to support them as we would any other friend in any other circumstance. So how can married and taken ladies offer their single friends support that will actually be helpful?

First, Be Clear on Her Desires

We love being married, right? We’re happy we have a friend, companion, and partner all wrapped into one guy who we also think is cute, so we tend to make the assumption that everyone else out there must want what we have.

But a single woman might not necessarily want a relationship right now. So before we start asking her questions about her love life and trying to encourage her or set her up, find out if being in a relationship is even something she desires at this stage in her life.

honey-boo-boo-boyfriend too much drama

Don’t Pressure Her To Date Just Anyone 

We just want our friend to be happy. We want her to find a guy and fall in love. So we might start encouraging her to go out more, to just put herself out there, to say yes to the first guy who shows interest so at least she’ll have a date. We assume that’s better than her being alone on Friday night. 

And sometimes, it’s actually beneficial to give someone a chance that we initially didn’t consider “our type,” but convincing her that she has to date the first guy who rolls along just puts pressure on her to force a relationship that she might be uninterested in or uncomfortable with. Being in the wrong relationship is never better than being on our own.

Treat Her Like a Whole Person (and Remind Her If She Forgets)

Many of us fall into the trap of talking about our fiancé or husband like they’re the sole reason we’re a complete person. We treat our life before knowing them as our “season of waiting,” painting the picture of a woman just waiting around for a guy to come along so she can finally mean something, finally no longer be lacking.

It’s important that we treat our single friend like the whole person she already is; that we don’t view her as less whole or valuable than married and taken women are. And if we see her forgetting that, labeling her current life as “a season of waiting,” remind her that whether or not she’s called someone’s girlfriend or wife has no bearing whatsoever on the fullness of her life and her worthiness as a person.

im single and im sufficient new girl

Hype Her Up before a Date

If she has been on enough dates that haven't worked out, she’s probably starting to feel disheartened, drained, and weary. She might be questioning what it is she’s doing so wrong that guys keep ghosting her or treating her as an option rather than a priority, while all her friends are finding men that are ready to get down on one knee and pledge his life to them.

If this is where our friend is, it’s crucial that we hype her up before a date, not in the sense of telling her that this guy is definitely the one – we can’t predict that, and if it doesn’t end up going well, she’ll just feel frustrated. So we shouldn’t make our “hype” about him, but about her.

We can hype her up by reminding her of how incredible, talented, beautiful, and lovable she is, or helping her pick out an outfit that makes her feel pretty. This will instill confidence in her as she walks into her date, as well as a spring in her step.

leslie knope beautiful talented musk ox

Be Her Companion in Bettering Herself

It’s safe to assume that every single woman alive has heard, “Use this time to focus on bettering yourself!” and probably rolled her eyes. Sure, it sounds helpful to say, but it can also feel a bit hollow, like a bandaid statement that doesn’t actually help her. It may even cause her to feel even lonelier or like too much of a work in progress, while her taken friends aren’t.

Here’s the thing: focusing on ourselves when we’re single is a good idea, but if we’re going to suggest this to our friend, we should be prepared to come alongside her in this pursuit. Take yoga classes with her, send her affordable therapy options, or set aside time every week for a lengthy catch-up with her. Show her that bettering herself isn’t being sentenced to loneliness until she’s worthy of love.

ladies tracksuits walking

Be Thoughtful When Setting Her Up

If there’s one thing singles hate, it’s hearing, “I have this guy friend/cousin/colleague I think you’ll like. I’m gonna set you guys up!” only to go on the date and wonder what they have in common besides both being single.

Of course, we’re just trying to help, but it has got to be discouraging to constantly have people volunteering to set us up with a random guy who probably doesn’t really even want to be there, and it may make her feel like a charity case.

So it’s best that if we decide to set our single friend up, it’s because we genuinely believe she’ll like the guy – if they have enough in common, share similar values, and we know he’s interested too.

Be Her Wingwoman If She Wants That

Maybe our single friend is tired of dating apps or setups and just wants to go out, hoping to find someone in the wild, whether at a bar or the gym or a class – but she also doesn’t want to go about it all alone. If she’s open to it, we can volunteer to be her wingwoman.

Offering to be her wingwoman, to go out with her and encourage her before she introduces herself to the guy across the room, or talk her up to a guy that’s looking her way and disappearing when we see things are going well, will be especially helpful if she struggles with anxiety and putting herself out there.

ultimate wingwoman cupid

Talk To Her without Bringing Up Guys

Single ladies spend enough of their time talking about how no, they’re not dating anyone yet, and yes, they’ve been on four dates this month and none have been a match. They’re probably exhausted from analyzing their conversations with guys and being questioned about their love life.

Sometimes, it’s best to just not talk about guys at all, to ask her about literally anything else, like how her family is, what she has been reading, how the job interview went, what projects she has been working on, or what she thinks about whatever cultural occurrence is relevant. 

By making a point of staying away from talking about her love life sometimes, we’re letting her know that we think of her as our friend, not just our single friend. She’ll be more likely to feel loved and supported by us, and be glad that she can talk to us without having to revisit a subject that she’d rather not focus on sometimes.

Closing Thoughts

We might not realize it when we’re single shaming, but it’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t fall into that trap. If we want to build our friends looking for love up, we have to be intentional, sensitive, and loving in our approach.

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