Why Singleness Should Be Celebrated, Not Tolerated

CelebratedAs most of you know, I’ve spent the greater part of the past six years examining what it means to be single. And writing three books about it. And pointing out all the many positive aspects of single life. And leading the “Single & Fabulous” parade down the Main Street of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, the Internet, and basically any media outlet that would listen. And generally being the poster child for shiny, happy singleness. And you know what? That’s awesome, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done to help flip the script on single life so that women (and men) learn to embrace their relationship status as just another part of who they are rather than viewing it as this great, big, scary thing.

But you know what else? I’m kind of growing weary of spending countless hours writing about all the reasons why us singletons should “accept” our singleness…and posting daily reminders about why singleness isn’t “that bad”…and feeling like I’m having to constantly put a positive spin on a negative situation. Why is our singleness viewed as a negative thing to begin with? Who gets to determine that for us? Society? Pop culture? Married people? Did WE label it as negative? Why are we made to feel “less than” or “lacking” or “incomplete” just because we happen to check the box marked “Single” on tax forms and job applications?

And then it occurred to me the other day…almost like a lightbulb going off above my head as I sat and pondered my singleness, and the answer became crystal clear.

Why does singleness have this overwhelmingly negative connotation? Because we don’t celebrate our singles.

We just don’t. At all. I mean, yeah…we have birthdays, of course…but who over the age of about 25 really makes a big deal out of their birthday?

We don’t celebrate our singles. We celebrate our couples for making the decision to get married…we celebrate them again once they actually GET married…we celebrate their choice to start a family (and then celebrate them again and again and sometimes again and again and again when they decide to expand that family)…we celebrate the anniversary of their marriages and the christening and baptisms of their babies and their kids’ birthdays and them buying a new home or choosing to adopt or heck, sometimes we even celebrate when they decide to END their marriage…but we simply don’t celebrate our singles.

Us singles buy gifts we can’t afford and make trips we have to take off work for and get fitted for endless numbers of (mostly unflattering) bridesmaids’ dresses and budget for housewarming presents and birthday presents and engagement presents and anniversary presents and graduation presents and shower presents and on and on and on…all in the name of being supportive of our married friends’ life choices. And that’s a beautiful thing. But why aren’t OUR choices getting celebrated?

Where was the party when I finally ended my eight-year, on-again/off-again, mostly toxic and unhealthy relationship? Or when I hit the New York Times bestseller list? Or when my friend Caroline got baptized? Or when my friend Jeff learned to cope with his sudden deafness, that he woke up with one morning six years ago and that he didn’t let break him? Where was the party when my friend Anetra won an Emmy or my friend William got a job promotion or my friend Alli picked up her entire life to move across the country and pursue her biggest dream?

Or when you bought your first condo or lost 20 pounds or went back to school or walked away from that dead-end job or told that loser ex to take a hike or overcame depression? Where was the big party or shower or celebration to commemorate those beautiful, brave, bold life choices?

We have to stop spending our lives waiting to be set free from this “prison” called singleness so that we can finally join the ranks of celebrated coupledom. If society won’t celebrate us, then we have to start celebrating ourselves. Now. In THIS moment. Our unfinished, unwritten, imperfect lives deserve to be honored. Our life choices DESERVE to be recognized. And our singleness shouldn’t be merely tolerated. It should be celebrated. Because we’re doing this life thing alone and if that isn’t brave and admirable and confetti-worthy, then I don’t know what is.

As always, comment below with any thoughts of feedback you have. Or even if you just want to share your frustrations about single life or your favorite way to celebrate yourself!

37 Responses to “ Why Singleness Should Be Celebrated, Not Tolerated ”

  1. Caitlin
    May 19, 2016

    Oh my! I have been struggling with this for some time. I feel sometimes like I give and give to my married friends and kids. Yet, when I reach some significant milestone people are busy or can’t make it. It gets a bit frustrating. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like that. I’ve read all your books and I love them. Thank you for knowing exactly how many of us feel and not being afraid to put it out there. You’ve inspired me to start writing my book and travel more because we only get one shot. I started celebrating myself when I turned 30. Whether it was a weight loss goal, or my new apartment or my new job. I’m my own biggest fan and when I lose sight of that, I pull out one of your books. Thank you for being you!!

  2. May 19, 2016

    Thank you for this!! I’ve been thinking about the same thing. Why does society seem to treat every other type of relationship status part of life as a great thing to celebrate, but then when someone mentiones being single it’s treated as a funeral just happened or a curse you need to be rid of as soon as possible. I don’t see any other blogs besides your celebrating singleness so that’s part of why I blog. Thank you for being so encouraging to us single’s and inspiring us to not waste this time of singleness but to learn from it and celebrate it!! You are loved Mandy

  3. Jenny
    May 19, 2016

    AMEN! I have been to so many bridal showers, weddings, and baby showers for friends and coworkers. I’ve bought the registry gifts (and there’s never a clearance section…no, I’m not buying you a $40 candle holder) and made the diaper cakes and worn the bridesmaid dresses. But when I graduated with my masters degree, nothing. When I got a great promotion, nothing. When I finally came to realize that God has been looking out for me by keeping me single for nearly 30 years, nothing. Oh wait–except for the friend who offered to pay for a subscription to an online dating site for me. Not exactly what I had in mind.
    You are the voice that singles need–thank you for being you!

  4. Kara
    May 20, 2016

    This has me in tears! Exactly what I needed to hear. Been there with the wedding gifts and showers and dresses…done that with babies and graduations and birthdays. I drop everything to babysit last minute but when I need help…nothing.
    I am currently following God’s calling and preparing to move from Indiana to Oklahoma. As I’m gearing up for this move and telling friends and family about it, their response (after the shock and a few questions are asked) is “Maybe you’ll find your husband out there”. THAT’S NOT THE POINT! That’s not why I feel like God is calling me to this new place in my life. If it happens – GREAT! It would definitely be a perk, but that’s not my focus right now. I don’t see this move as an effort to end my singleness. I feel like they only see this as a single woman moving to a different place with more male prospects. It’s a little heart breaking that they can’t focus on the calling with me and the excitement of seeing what God has in store for ME!
    Thank you for putting this in perspective! We need to celebrate us! We’re worth being celebrated and we shouldn’t have to have a spouse for us to be worthy of that.
    Many blessings, Mandy!

  5. May 20, 2016

    I imagine a world where single individuals get the same attention as a married couple’s anniversary. We could receive FB posts, cards, and well wishes like, “Congratulations on another year of making it through life on your own! It’s not easy paying for a home, car, bills, and food on one income! Wow, how impressive that you’re raising a well adjusted kid without a spouse! And good job on making those difficult life decisions on your own without anyone to sit down with in the evenings and have long, heartfelt discussions about what might be best!”

    What a concept!

    • Stacy
      October 10, 2016

      I look forward to that world as well.

  6. May 20, 2016

    I have lived with deafness as a single woman most of my life. I am still single. You NAILED it by saying we don’t celebrate our singles. Beautifully Said!


    • Carina Ibañez
      May 20, 2016

      Hi people… I am proud to say that I have already celebrated my fabulous choices as a single gal: when I traveled to Europe I organized a shower and all my married and single friends were happy to celebrate me. Now I am celebrating a new job and I invited them for dinner. … I also threw a party when I got my first condo… on my own.. that means I am confident and I do not need to validate my life with a man. So…. don’t hesitate and start celebrating little achievements… you deserve it

  7. Tammy Nguyen
    May 21, 2016

    I am single and my friends keep asking me to throw parties at my place, just weekend get together, we don’t even need a special occasion. I like to think of myself as a happy woman: with or without a romantic relationship. I turned 30 this year and have been single for almost a year now. There are moments that I really want a boyfriend but I see people that are in a relationship, they have happy moments but they also have problems. I don’t think its all roses for them either. So for now, I am just enjoying life with family and friends, try to take care of myself, and trusting God. If I am meant to be with someone, God will lead the way. If not, I will learn to accept it fully (kinda have to).

  8. Mayra Mendoza
    May 21, 2016

    I loved it Mandy … thanks for sharing

  9. May 21, 2016

    After a long process of application I got accepted to a PhD program yesterday. I was so happy that I wanted to skip all the way to my car after work. I wanted to shout from the roofs to share my happiness with the whole world. My life will change this coming fall as I commence into a new journey of PhD studies. It will be hard and rewarding at the same time.
    The weirdest thing happened yesterday, though. Being single, I did not have a boyfriend to celebrate this milestone in my life. I send several texts as I wanted to share my happiness and connect to those I love. I called up a friend on my way from work and chatted. Once home, I crawled in bed and read over ad over that lovely acceptance letter just savoring it all by myself. Then, I took a nap. I woke up rested, went shopping, bought healthy food, and relaxed back home by listening to a sermon broadcast. I think being single helps me celebrate my victories for me. Being single helps me connect with broader circle of people who mean to me a lot. Being single is a blessing for me. I have so much love in my life even though I have no boyfriend. I choose to extend love to others, and what I give away I get to keep. Being in a relationship whether it is dating or marriage can be very demanding. Being single is quite simple. It does not get messy. I was in countless romantic special relationships and being single tops it. My goal is peace and build peaceful meaningful relationships with amazing people all around me. I choose to see how connected and loving I am to others, and it fills me up. Boyfriend not needed to fill me up. I am full of love as it is.

    • August 14, 2016

      I totally agree eith you. Feel the same way!

    • August 14, 2016

      I agree

    • Sharon
      September 18, 2016

      You are awesome. Congratulations!

  10. Sandra
    May 23, 2016

    What a wonderful idea that monthly “gift to self” is!!! What a pity they don’t deliver to South Africa as I would LOVE to treat myself and celebrate myself 🙁

  11. Carrie
    May 23, 2016

    I celebrate my birthday for a week, since my divorce 5 years ago. I believe that since my birthday wasn’t celebrated during that marriage, I will make up for it and celebrate it now for a week. I will celebrate my 21 years in the United States Air Force in December. I will celebrate my graduation for my bachelors in Nutrition and Business. I have traveled to many places over the last 5 years, and raised/raising 2 boys. I am worthy of celebration! Thank you for getting the word out… We need to tell our married friends that we are worthy of celebration too!

    • May 23, 2016

      Thanks for this post, so very true! And I love the idea of a single swag box!

  12. Alli
    May 23, 2016

    Wow. Mandy, what a great word. This is such an encouraging and well-timed this post is for so many people, including myself. I have been particularly struggling through wedding “season” this year, not to boot the seemingly endless baby and wedding showers you are expected to buy gifts for. Very recently (this past weekend), on two occasions, people’s well-intended responses to my singleness were more like a dagger. I had a relative respond with “awwwwww” and give me a sad, pity face when the answer was no to the question of whether there was “someone special” in my life. I was then told to “just keep praying.” Before that, another person gleefully instructed me that “God just has someone special out there for you.”

    It would great for once, to hear a response something to the effect of “Good for you. I am proud of you for being independent and not willing to settle with just anyone…for being focused on seeking and accomplishing the will of God” What a difference it would make to encounter folks that celebrate singleness (a la truly encourages, builds you up) rather than treating you like you are somehow disadvantaged, to be pitied, and offering cheap spiritual cliches out of a place that most neither understand nor have walked.

    It is great to know that while I may be single, I am not alone.

  13. Susan
    May 23, 2016

    This is interesting. I can see all of the points in the blog and your responders but I think the married people would say that “singleness” is celebrated in every bachelor movie or Hangover 1, 2 and 3. Being single and dating is what most romantic comedies are about. Being single and dating is very much envied. Yes, there may not be a beginning or anniversary to celebrate but being single is fun and you can go out any night of the week…unlike your married counterparts who have kids and have to be home doing homework with them. I am single and I don’t know why all of you are not happy. Be happy. Someday you may not be single and I bet you will look back on this time and remember fondly how you could do what you wanted when you wanted. Don’t look over the fence and envy what they have or you will always be doing that. Enjoy what you have now. Live in this moment. It will be done before you know it…and you may just look back over the fence and wonder what all the fuss was about.

    • Mandy Hale
      May 23, 2016

      I definitely don’t think movies or TV shows are a celebration of singleness AT ALL. More often than not, they’re a misrepresentation of singleness. True celebrating is when friends and family gather around someone to honor a major or momentous or brave life choice, which simply doesn’t happen very often for single people, sadly. This blog isn’t about NOT enjoying your singleness. Certainly, YES! Enjoy your singleness. But I also think it would be awesome if our married counterparts and society as a whole could be a little more supportive and enthusiastic and yes, even celebratory, about our life choices. You can’t boil down every discussion about singleness to “The grass is greener!” or “Enjoy what you have now!” or “Live it up!” because that’s not the point of this particular blog or every discussion about singleness. You can be happy and secure and still want the people in your life, married or otherwise, to celebrate your choices and big life moments with you. It doesn’t make you unhappy or jealous or ungrateful to want that. And in my opinion, it isn’t too much to ask of the people we love.

    • Jenny
      June 1, 2016

      Hollywood glorifies a secular image of singleness. Partying every night, dating multiple people, one night stands…that’s NOT the singleness that I want to celebrate. (it’s also about a million miles away from the reality of my singleness!) I want the world to celebrate the strength and resilience and, yes, happiness, that it takes to do life without a partner by my side. I haven’t seen that romantic comedy yet.

    • Wondering
      June 1, 2016

      Oh my. That is one of the problems of the conception of singlehood: that we as singles have all of this free time to babysit, volunteer, “go out every night,” watch movie after movie (one of the few radio programs I have heard on Christian radio opened last time with a single woman stating that she had so much time on her hands and was having such a hard time selecting what movie/tv show to watch — oh gee…), “free as a bird”. Ummmm, that’s not usually the case. In THEORY we could go out every night; but in REALITY, I know when I get home from working all day, I have to take care of chores, etc. that unless I do it, no one does it, and it usually has to get done after work and/or on the weekends. (And I do have to remember not to complain but to thank God for the grace and strength!). Add to that that after a long day of work (and having had to take care of everything else), I personally am too exhausted at times to even catch up with wonderful friends on the phone let along go out. No, I don’t have a husband or children to “tie me down” (I’m putting that in quotes; sometimes I get the sense it would be nice to be “tied”), but I also don’t have a partner to help do some of those things that would reduce the single load I carry right now (or as Mandy has implied, to celebrate things with). Go out every night, have to struggle to choose a movie, “party” —- in THEORY maybe, but in REALITY…. God bless.

  14. Tiffany
    May 23, 2016

    Oh Mandy! This totally hit home with me! It reminds me of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie’s shoes got stolen because she was forced to remove them at the baby shower. I agree that we have so many reasons to celebrate. I’ve totally rocked at life more than ever since I escaped my toxic relationship, then I ever did in it! I’ve had their new jobs, gone on three Medical Missions, and ran a half marathon… just to name a few. I’m brave enough to chase my heart, and do it mostly on my own. Here’s to all the single women… cheers (I wish I had a glass of champagne)!

  15. May 24, 2016

    This is amazing! Pure genius behind this idea. Sadly, it’s only for US.

  16. Rachel
    May 28, 2016

    I agree we don’t celebrate singles. For many years, it seemed like all I did was buy presents and go to events for my coupled friends and family and their kids and meanwhile they had no interest in my life. My married siblings and their spouses attacked me if I did anything besides sit in the corner and smile. What I finally realized is we single people have to celebrate ourselves! I choose to celebrate and honor myself by working out and eating healthy food, taking baths, buying myself cute clothes, shoes and makeup, reading, and playing the piano. I sponsor a child living in poverty and I have fur children. Being single isn’t the focus of my life. I have a great job and a condo and am able to provide for myself. Most days I am happy. I’ve had to let go and not worry about other people’s opinions about me. And I no longer knock myself out buying presents for everyone in the world – it’s just not necessary, especially when they don’t treat me well or respect me. Also I’ve realized what you put into the world comes back to you…. a lot of the obnoxious married people who look down on singles end up getting divorced. Anyways I really get what you’re saying about being tired about everything being about your single status…. there is so much more to people.

    • Katrina Rucker
      June 7, 2016

      You took the words right out my mouth.

  17. […] the struggles and joys of being single. And so, last week, after I read her latest blog post, Why Singleness Should be Celebrated, Not Tolerated, I couldn’t get the idea of being celebrated rather than ostracized out of my head. Why do I […]

  18. Wondering
    June 1, 2016

    Thank you Mandy. This does hit the proverbial nail on the head. I have been suggesting this for a while now (primarily through my observations of what even Christian radio does…and does not…highlight/talk about). I have even made comments about the Body of Christ (Church) not understanding/knowing how to “deal with” their single folks except to suggest/create singles groups (where you can go out and “meet someone,” or at least volunteer, or do whatever it is you single folks do…babysit for married couples…I’m sorry; that was a bit sarcastic!), try to muster up a message or two that involves singles, I even think my church has graciously started to try to instead of always referring in a message to “your spouse” or “your children” to say things like “your siblings” or “your nieces and nephews” just to make us feel included for a change! So much more needs to be said on this matter…but you have said a mouthful and said it SO well! Thank you SO much. God bless you and all of the care and love you are offering to us; it’s obvious! ( :

  19. Taryn
    June 5, 2016

    Today I read this. I so needed it. It has been frustrating dating for some time. I too have arrived to almost 6 years of singledom. Short term dating scenarios. Not one guy that can seem to put on his big boy pants and multitask life relationships or understand an independent woman. Recently its been one baby shower, bridal shower, wedding, proposal after another. Often not invited to be in the weddings even if I introduce them to their now significant other. I feel like the black plague often. Im always the girl so loyal to others and to celebrate their events. Often those people dont show up to birthday gatherings or small events I put together or even my house warming party. Ive bought my own home on my own. I am approaching finishing my Masters degree. I got the job in a dept I have been aiming at for 5 years finally. Not once did someone take the time to celebrate with me. It has become frustrating that society has only allowed those in relationships to celebrate life. Love the message that you are spreading!! Keep spreading that love. 🙂

  20. Katrina Rucker
    June 7, 2016

    I’ll you this. As soon as Steve Harvey do an episode on Singles that doesn’t involve dating, then people will see singles are living their best lives right now. I am happy to be single, but I get annoyed at people who thinks setting people up on dates with people who might have a criminal record. The dating websites are the worst and don’t get me started on Christian dating sites. But I thank God Almighty that my parents weren’t going in the “when are you going to get married, and when will I have grandchildren” mode. But knowing that my life is fulfilled because of who God created me today, I know I am doing what is right for me.

  21. Helen pinne
    June 9, 2016

    Am so greatful for this piece am a single living in Nigeria…. Where your family members are the first to treat you like a plague bcoz you are 30 n still single. It hurts u have given strength this morning with this piece am greatful

  22. June 14, 2016

    I’ve been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will
    be much more useful than ever before.

  23. Katherine
    July 5, 2016

    This is a really interesting series of posts_ the entire blog really_ there is one big thing that is incongruent however _ it’s that we are inherently social creatures_ of course we want others to celebrate our milestones _ but they are not focused on ours they are focused on theirs and those within their tribe _ I should say I am 48 yr old never married and have ALWAYS felt ambivalence about this subject- yes I feel perfectly comfortable not settling and recognizing that any man that steps into our life (i adopted a baby – now 7 yrs old) has to be value add. However anyone raising a child knows how crucial community and friends are_ not the “yeah let’s get together friends” but the you are part of my tribe friends. I guess what I am saying is that I remember being in my 30s holding strong to my ideals and saying I won’t settle – but I think in doing that too strongly there is an isolation that can kick in that can actually be self perpetuating . If I could speak now to my younger self I would say to spend some real energy on building that tribe _ then regardless of if the right man comes along ( cause less face it – there is a shortage of good ones) then there will be people to support your achievements as your single status will make no difference.

  24. Katie
    September 18, 2016

    I’ve pondered this very topic on many occasions. I wondered why there isn’t a “I’m happily single and 45” celebration of some sort. It all started with the realization that showers and weddings and babies garner lots of free stuff! So wheres my free stuff? But…I don’t need free stuff anymore. And that’s a perfectly wonderful thing to celebrate! I’m solidly and securly single thanks to my own perseverance and despite some bad choices. I like the idea of honoring my own good life. I’m taking my second single vacation in a few weeks and I’m excited about every little bit of it. Including and especially knowing that I can do it and enjoy it on my own. I deserve it!

  25. Stacy
    October 10, 2016

    I totally agree with you that we should celebrate ourselves. I also take every possible opportunity to light heartedly enlighten folks to the fact that being single is just as normal as bring a part of a couple.

  26. January 13, 2017

    It would be great if there was a national/international holiday that honored singles as much as Valentine’s Day celebrates couples, or even a Singles’ Day at some local businesses.

  27. A Single Man
    March 28, 2017

    Then what about many of us good men that Aren’t single by choice?

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