Single People Aren’t Bad At Dating

Shani Silver
6 min readMay 4

Stop assuming, and profiting from, an imaginary deficiency.

Photo by Shani Silver

The world likes to assume single people are dumb as a bag of jellybeans. You’ve felt it. The pervasive looking-down-upon that gets its power from the narrative that single people are lacking a partner. The story is we’re incomplete, and should thus exist in a perpetual state of search until we find a partner. Those of us who haven’t found a partner (fast enough, and wouldn’t you know that timespan varies based on who you’re receiving unsolicited advice from) are assumed to be “doing it wrong.” We’re failing at a required life task. This assumption lets the world assign all sorts of negatives to single people that have to do with us not knowing our asses from our elbows despite both body parts being of distinct shapes that are located in entirely different regions of our bodies.

If you’re single, you don’t know how to date, you don’t know how to choose partners, you don’t know how to carry on relationships, the world will even take it as far as suggesting that you don’t even know what you want, in life or in love. If you’re single, the world assumes you’re lacking information, and that’s what’s keeping you single you stupid, stupid person.

It’s a simple, convenient narrative: Singles don’t know what’s best for them. We are removed from the equation as beings capable of correct and productive autonomous thought. The narrative is demeaning, dismissive, and as rooted in reality as the Tooth Fairy. Just because someone else met their partner at work when they were 28, that doesn’t diminish my intelligence level at 36, Deborah.

How many insulting comments, rude suggestions, dismissive glances, and dollars have passed through single people who were convinced by societal shame that we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing? How much emotional and financial harm have we incurred because the primary thing people think about us is that we’re failing? You see it any time a person, most often if not exclusively a woman, is praised for her accomplishments and in the same breath demeaned for being single. “She’s so talented, she’s so successful, but she just can’t seem to tie a man down.” It doesn’t matter what we do — if we do it single, we’ve done it less.