How to deal with ‘Single Shaming’ during the holidays

Being quizzed about your relationship status, or ‘single shaming’, is uncomfortable at any time of year, but it is particularly acute come December. This pressure becomes more pronounced with all the Christmas rom-coms, gift guides for your significant other, and endless questions from your family relatives about your dating life.

This year with no restrictions this December and social gatherings filling up the calendar, there’s more opportunities for you to be asked about your dating life. Fun.

According to research from Bumble, the popular women-first dating app, one in four (24%) Gen Z and millennials (18-31 year olds) say that dating and relationship questions over the festive period make them feel unvalued or unworthy.

During the festive season, more than 1 in 3 (38%) Gen Z and millennials say that friends and family have made them feel bad for not bringing a significant other to events. This, among other things, makes 30% of Gen Z and millennials say that they feel more self-conscious about being single during the festive season.

According to Bumble’s recently launched 2023 Dating Trends, many could face ‘single shaming’ for the first time in a while this December, with 1 in 3 (39%) people on Bumble having a ‘Dating Renaissance’ after ending a marriage or serious relationship in the last two years.

Please see below for expert commentary from Bumble’s Sex and Relationship Expert, Dr Caroline West as well as further data from Bumble on ‘single shaming’ during the festive period. If you’d like anything additional for a piece, then please let us know.

Tips from Bumble’s Sex and Relationships expert, Dr Caroline West, on how to respond to awkward questions over the festive period:

“Are you still single?”

The majority of singletons (54%) are practising being consciously single and waiting for the right person. Simply letting your family or friends know that you are intentionally dating, taking your time to find someone that aligns with your values rather than rushing into a relationship, can address this question perfectly.

What is wrong with you?

Nothing! Is the answer. However, we appreciate this can be a trickier one to handle. Whilst often said in jest, it can still knock your confidence. First, let us reiterate that there is nothing wrong with you, nor being single.

Do you not want children?

Having children is something that happens in your own time and quite simply isn’t something that everyone wants. This is a very personal matter so you are well within your rights to change the subject and shut down the conversation. On Bumble, you can specify whether you’re interested in having kids or not on your profile which can be a good way to make your intentions on the subject clear to potential matches

You need to be less fussy…

Friends and family often think they know best when it comes to relationships, sometimes suggesting that you need to lower your standards. Let it be known 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 or affection. Remind them it’s better to be happy alone than unhappy with someone.

Are you on any dating apps?

If you are asked about being on dating apps, don’t be shy – own it! Using dating apps means that you are taking your relationship into your own hands and exploring who is out there.

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