What to do if you're single-shamed


Being single is often seen a failure to many who have no qualms about voicing out their often uninvited opinions. Photo: Freepk

Despite the obvious advantages of being single – independence, enjoying solo activities or trips that you love, focusing on your personal development, etc – people who aren't coupled (married or in a relationship) are often seen failures to many in a world of couples. And, worse still, are those who have no qualms about voicing out their often uninvited opinions about your status.So, what do you do when you are “single shamed” or made to feel incomplete or flawed just because you don’t have a partner?

StarLifestyle asks Malaysians from all walks of life to share some of their personal methods to respond to being shamed or questioned about their relationship status.

1. Change the subject

"If someone harps on your single status, stay positive and don’t become defensive or add more negativity to the conversation. Instead, change the subject to something that makes your life great, such as your recent promotion or your recent overseas holiday," says Latifah L, 39, a public relations manager.

2. Explain your viewpoint

"While you don’t need to defend or make excuses for your choices, you can calmly explain your viewpoint. Don’t overgrind the subject and go into the nitty-gritty details, but a simple and direct statement of how you feel and what you think will suffice. A good example is a post contributed by Jennifer Aniston in Huffington Post (2016) where she says: “We are complete with or without a mate... we get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves”," says Nur Myra M, 27, a post-graduate student.

3. Tell them the truth

"People may not understand what you’ve gone through, and sometimes, it’s necessary to explain, without going into too many details, how your past relationships have hurt you and you need time to heal because it’s important for your mental and emotional health," says Sam Lee, 31 who is an IT manager.

4. Return the favour

Retiree Margaret Tan, 60, has her own way of dealing with those who are being "too busybody" about the business of others.

"If they make a thoughtless remark or ask you nosy questions about your single status, return the favour by making them feel embarassed with an awkward statement or an intrusive question. For example, if they gush about why you must find someone and settle down, ask them if marriage is so good, then why did they get divorced. I know it seems harsh, but people often don't realise how thoughtless their comments or questions can be until you treat them the same way. Sad but true," she says.

5. Curb envy and jealousy

"It’s not only singles who are envious of their happily married friends. Some coupled individuals may be envious of singles and all the things they get to enjoy and the freedom they have. Call them out and confront them directly if you suspect so," says Aminah Hamzah, 50, a cafe owner.

6. Turn it into a joke

J Tan, 38, feels that it is alright to be to be snarky if people are being mean or trying to put someone else in a spot.

"Instead of getting angry, a sarcastic comeback to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart usually works. For example, if people ask you if something is wrong with you because you’re still single at your age, tell them it’s because you’re so good that no one can catch you," says Tan, who works as a consultant.

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