Single People: Boundaries Are Not Bad Manners

Shani Silver
6 min readOct 27, 2023

You’re not being “no fun” by requiring respect.

Photo by Shani Silver

Here’s the thing about questions: We were raised to think we have to answer. A certain amount of pressure and obligation is implied when someone wants to know something. They ask, we feel we have to answer, because if we don’t, that’s rude — right? We were also raised not to be rude. This social norm has countless applications that have zero consequences at all, such as “How’s it going,” “How’s your day,” and other situations that are nothing more than casual pleasantries. The difference for single people, is that what our society has come to believe is casual chat about our lives can actually hurt to discuss. It is also no one’s fucking business.

“How’s dating going?”

“Go on any good dates lately?”

“How are you still single?”

“Sooooo….any new booooys?”

Etc. etc. We’d never sit down in a manicurist’s chair next to a married friend and ask them, “Sooo… happy is your maaaariaggggeee?” But it’s the same damn thing. It’s an open question into a private area, but for some reason we’ve been taught that single people’s privacy doesn’t matter. We’ve been taught that someone’s dating life, their actual search for companionship, carries no more emotional weight than asking how they take their coffee. But if you’re the one doing the dating, you know how questions like these can feel.

It’s sometimes not even the question that hurts! It’s the effort involved in either of the following that really stings:

A) Mentally crafting an answer that will satisfy the person who asked, one that won’t make you sound upset, sad, angry, or bitter, lest they think you’re causing your own singlehood with negative emotions (that you came by extremely honestly, fyi). These mental gymnastics are also known as lying.

B) Telling the truth and opening up the wounds our modern dating space has cut into you. Which often leads to the same outcome, or for extra fun: unsolicited, uninformed, and infective advice. Often from someone who met their partner by chance and never had to endure the dating space for even a moment, much less years on end.