What Is ‘Singlism’ and Are You Guilty of Doing It to Your Friends?

a group of friends hanging out at a cafe

Ugh, another made-up word Millennials are using? Not quite. “Singlism” is a term coined by a Harvard-trained social psychologist, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., and anyone who is single or has single friends should be aware of it. Here’s why.

What it means:

According to DePaulo, “Singlism is the stigmatizing of adults who are single. It includes negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles.” But the truth is, according to multiple studies referenced in her book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, almost everything we think we know about the benefits of marriage or the *dangers* of staying single are completely exaggerated and often, just plain wrong. Case in point: Married people are not necessarily happier than single people. 

But I love my single friends!

Well, that’s why you should be aware of the subtle, but damaging ways you could be hurting and marginalizing single people in your life.

What are those ways?

DePaulo breaks down multiple myths about single life including married people always know best, single people are solely fixated on getting coupled up, kids of single parents are doomed, single people die alone only to be discovered weeks later—you get it. Your ceaseless insistence that your pal, “Will meet her dream guy soon enough!” might actually be really upsetting or straight up just not a priority for her.

So what can I do?

You can be aware of the social stigma and even real-deal difficulties your single buds might face. Remember: A person’s singleness doesn’t define them, just like a person’s marriage doesn’t.

5 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult, According to Science


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...