You’re blissfully in love with your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, and that’s great. What isn’t great is letting your coupled-up status lead to singlist behavior. “Singlism” is a term coined by a Harvard-trained social psychologist, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., who told Psychology Today that it’s “the stigmatizing of adults who are single. It includes negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles.” It’s often subtle and unintentional. To make sure you’re not accidentally singling out (sorry) your friends who are flying solo, try to avoid these common phrases.
“Let me set you up with my [coworker/husband’s cousin/mailman]!”
You have the best intentions, you really do, but if your single pal wants help finding a partner, she’ll ask. If not, it puts her in the awkward position of turning down your well-meaning offer—or having to go on a date with your mailman that she 100 percent didn’t ask for. (No offense to your mailman. We’re sure he’s great.)
“Don’t worry, you’ll find your soulmate soon.”
Eek. This implies that being single should be cause for concern. While your friend might be worried about finding a partner, it’s important to realize—and respect—that she might be totally happy sans boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
“How are you still single?”
Yes, this is usually meant as a compliment (as in, “You’re so amazing. Why hasn’t anyone scooped you up yet!”), but it’s kind of unanswerable. What is your friend supposed to say...Umm, good question. I’m not sure? On top of that, it makes your friend feel like they have to justify being single.
“I never liked your ex anyway.”
We’ll admit that this one is hard to avoid—especially if your pal is in the throes of a breakup. While it’s tempting to trash their ex to make them feel better, there’s always the possibility that they’ll get back together, which could make for some awkward tension in the future.
*Anything* about her biological clock.
This goes for any woman ever, regardless of her relationship status. K?