How to not be a dick to your single friends & family this holiday

Dear Married People…

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Dear Married People,

It’s almost the holidays, and I’d like to prepare you. I read article after article helping to prepare singles for “surviving” the holidays, but this year I think I’d like to work on the source of the problem. Yes, gasp, you perfectly paired argyle socks, you are the problem. One need not survive what has been prevented, and this year I’d like to prevent you from making us feel like there’s something wrong with us. There is nothing wrong with us. (There’s a lot wrong with the collective “us” as human beings, but for the purposes of these writings, we’re fine.)

Single people often describe attending holiday functions as being held under a microscope. I myself think it’s more like being an unmarked tupperware container in the back of the fridge that is opened and smelled with extreme caution. We are not specimens, we are not conversation pieces, and we are not under your observation. Us single folk are looking forward to spending time with people we love, to being thankful for what we have, and your curiosities and concerns really put a damper on that shit.

I realize the notion is odd, and that you approach your single loved ones from a good place. So I’ll go into detail and offer examples of how your interactions with the single community, though well intended, feel like you’re kicking our puppy.

Dear Married People,

“Oh my god! It’s so good to see you! How is the marriage going?” Is that weird? Do you not like that question? Then don’t ask me how dating is going. They’re the same question. It’s no more okay to ask one than the other. I’m not more of an open book than you are just because I’m single.

I also needn’t satisfy you with a response. Because here’s the real answer: It’s going terribly. I’m not going to lie to your face and regale you with tales of some exciting single dating life you saw on TV in the early ’00s. It’s not like that, it’s a nightmare. It’s degrading, unsuccessful, and lonely. But I can’t tell you any of that, because if I do…

Dear Married People,

“I’ve heard that marriage counseling is a really great way to stay happy in your relationship.” Don’t like that unsolicited advice? Then don’t give me any about dating, where to date, how to date, etc. I didn’t ask for it, I’ve most likely already tried it, and the real kicker? It doesn’t fucking work. I’ve long held a theory that no two couples have met, connected, and partnered up in exactly the same way, so your advice is unique to you or to your coworker who met her husband on a flight to Denver and eloped a month later. I’m really happy for Stacey.

Dear Married People,

“So you’re married, life must be really boring, huh?” Don’t like that assumption? Then don’t assume my life is wild and crazy and story-worthy just because I’m single. My life is just as boring as yours, only I’m better at hiding it. There’s no one here to know about how little I moved during my viewing of Stranger Things 2. Nobody knows how likely I am to eat the same thing for dinner four nights in a row, and nobody knows how early I like to go to bed. I’m the human embodiment of 1993 Macy’s department store beige paint drying so stop expecting me to put on a show for you. I have to create my own entertainment, so do you.

Dear Married People,

“Oh, we all brought our dogs, you wouldn’t have had fun.” Feel left out that a bunch of people you like hung out without you? Then stop assuming a gathering of people and their children is a single person’s 7th layer of hell. We like you. We like your kids. We miss you. We kinda miss your kids. We want to play, too.

Dear Married People,

“Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll have a baby soon.” Yeah…this one’s a doozy, amiright? If the first thought in your head is, “hey, fuck you!” correct response! It’s none of my goddamn business if or when you ever conceive a tiny human. Just as it’s none of your goddamn business if I ever get to stop living my life alone. Also, condescending much? Thank you for reassuring me that I’m worthy of love, I’d all but forgotten. I don’t need you to tell me that I’m just as valuable as you are. I know I am, but your reminder makes me think you think I’m not.

In conclusion, it’s not your fault. Society groomed us for this. You’re good people. You mean well. But society lied, and single people are the only ones who know it. Hanukkah is pretty much a wash at this point, but there’s still hope for Christmas and New Year’s. Before we catch up, catch on–single people are more than just daters. Want to know more? Just ask.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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