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09th Dec 2022

How to cope with ‘single-shaming’ over Christmas, and why it shouldn’t be a thing

Sarah McKenna Barry

We’ve got you.

Christmas dinner should be a joyous experience but when families come together after months apart, uncomfortable topics and invasive questions have a tendency to emerge.

One topic that some find particularly awkward to discuss with the family over turkey is relationships. A recent study hfrom Bumble suggests that questions about dating makes 24% of Gen Z and millennials feel unvalued or unworthy, while 38% say that their friends and family make them feel bad for not bringing a significant other to festive celebrations and events.

What’s more, 30% of respondents have said that they feel more self-conscious about being single during Christmas time.

As the data suggests, many singletons may feel worried about invasive questions, and fear being shamed about being single, but thankfully sex and relationships expert Dr Caroline West has advice on how to handle uncomfortable topics with confidence.

If your family ask you why you’re single, Dr West advises you to tell them that you are “taking your time to find someone that aligns with your values rather than rushing into a relationship”.

Singletons may receive the unsolicited advice that they “need to be less fussy”, and to this Dr West says that it can helpful to remind your family that you’re not willing to settle.

“You’re looking to find someone who has the same interests, values and ambitions as you, rather than simply accepting someone who shows superficial attention of affection,” she says. “Remind them it’s better to be happy alone than unhappy with someone.”

Dr West also advises singletons to shut down the conversation if they’re feeling uncomfortable, or if it’s getting too personal. For instance, if family members ask you if you plan on having children, she notes that you’re “well within your rights to change the subject and shut down the conversation.”

She also reminds singletons that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being single, nor should it be a source of shame, however, it’s totally normal if invasive questions or assumptions knock your confidence.