Surviving The Single State
Surviving The Single State
Bella DePaulo (Author, "Singled Out") gives expert video advice on: How do I handle family get-togethers as a single person?; As a single person, should I avoid setting deadlines for marriage and kids?; How can a single person avoid loneliness? and more...
What are some things a single person can do on New Years?
What I really like as a single person, not just on New Years but everyday, are the kinds of events where there are lots of people around but you don't have to be with someone to feel like you belong. A lot of places have “First Night”. I love in my everyday life, not specific to holidays, things like the “Farmer's Market” or places where you don't stand out as a person on your own. On holidays, you can also invite your friends over and create your own gathering or again do what you never quite find the time to do.
Can singles and married people be friends?
I think they can and part of what would make that easier is if we all got rid of our stereotypes of each other and related to each other on the basis of who we actually like to be with. And, what's interesting to me about couples is often they hang out with other people that they don't really like and they feel like they're obligated to be with the person because they're attached to the other person. But the married people that I like best are the ones who, even if I like both people in a couple, they're interested in socializing individually, so I might be able to plan an outing with one or the other and the other person who's not there doesn't feel threatened by it and doesn't feel possessive of the person who's there. So I think a lot of the socializing between people who are single and people who are coupled turns on whether people are open-minded and not threatened by the other person's coupled or single status and instead open to what we really should be looking for when we spend discretionary time, when we spend our leisure time, and that's "is this a person I like? Is this a person I want to spend time with?"
How do married people treat single people differently?
Well, one of the myths that I debunk in "Singled Out" is that married people know best. Often married and coupled people think that they know better than single people. They know what's best for single people, even though the single person is a full, grown-up adult. So, if married people socialize with single people, which sometimes they just don't bother, they will often choose what night they're going to go out, or what afternoon, and what they're going to do, when they're going to do it. If they go to a movie, then they choose the movie, and they say to the single person, "Oh, do you want to come?" And it's like the single person is a child and doesn't get a full say. And you see that in so many different examples. Sometimes you even see it, say, at holidays where if not everyone will fit at one table, there will be a grown-up table and a kid's table, and sometimes single adults are put at the kid's table. I mean, what's a more obvious indication of people thinking, "Oh, we know what's best for you, and you're just a kid." So, there are just so many examples of that.
How does the travel industry treat singles differently?
Travel industry is so coupled-oriented, and sometimes family-oriented. You have things like Sandals where they specifically want you to be coupled, and won't even let you in if you're single, and not coupled. Or, all the hotels that offer cheaper rates for a couple, or all the vacation packages where there's a singles supplement. From a business point of view, you might understand that, if they can put two people in there and get twice the money. However, sometimes the singles supplement is three times, it's not twice. Also, what is going to start to happen, is that those businesses that start recognizing the power and the numbers of singles will start to cater to them, and they're the ones that are really going to make out great.
Can a single person start a family?
There are more and more single parents now. About a third of all children are children of single parents now. You can be a single parent, it's possible reproducibility, because there are so many medical procedures that enable you to have kids without having a partner, and it's more possible socially. This is another really interesting thing I discovered in doing this research about single parents. People think that if you're a single parent, that you're raising your child alone. Much more often, single parents have a whole network of people who care about their children. They might be friends, they might be family, and so rather than the child having just their parent or in a two parent family just their two parents, they have this whole series of people who care about them. There have been some very rigorous systematic studies that have been done of this, and they have found, for example, that children of single parents are more likely to have spent time with extended families. They actually get to know more adults and they have layers of protection of people who care about them. They have people to run to if they're sick of their parents or their parent, so it really can work out fine.