A collage of a white board with 'single people 101' written in thick black pen. The background is yellow and there are many 1s floating around.
Collage: Cath Virginia

22 Rules For How to Treat Single People

"Just nod along knowing they're one of God’s strongest soldiers."

There are so many great things about being single. You can wipe your takeaway grease on your duvet and leave the cap back on the toothpaste – without any moans. You don’t get any judgemental looks when you order your second Deliveroo of the day, even though you said you couldn’t afford Paris. There’s no one to “accidentally” take the good charger to work with them, leaving you to spend half the day holding the crap one with the masking tape around it at the very specific 45 degree angle it works at. 


But somehow, somehow people manage to make you feel as though there’s something wrong with being single – like it’s a character flaw you’re on your way to fixing. In the spirit of having had absolutely enough of it, I consulted with a harem of stunning singles to create the ultimate set of rules that’ll stop you from putting your foot in it.

1. Don’t ask about ‘the apps’

Dating apps are boring and we all know it. No, I don’t want to relive the yawn-infused trauma of it all in my spare time. Yes you can have a go, but stop pretending you don’t understand how they work. I hate this grandparent act you’ve got going on, weren’t you single like six months ago? 

2. Definitely don’t say, ‘How are you still single?’

I know this is meant to be nice, but it still puts the emphasis on us – as opposed to the dire dating economy we’re living through. Also, it kinda feels like you’re trying to dig up dirt on me, so… 

3. Refrain from showing any pity whatsoever 

Don’t look at us like we’re puppies no one’s adopting. Being single is often a choice and if it isn’t, then it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. All the coolest, sexist people are single – like Tracee Ellis Ross is single and who is more chic than Tracee Ellis Ross?

4. Don’t bang on about how amazing your partner is

Unless they’ve done some Kardashian-level display of rose petal fuckery I’m not interested in anything cute they do. I want to hear about how the way they eat mayo out of the bottle makes you feel sick, the hatred you have for how long their second toe is – all that stuff. 

5. Don’t tell your partner our secrets 

I know you think your partner is essentially an extension of you, so therefore telling them anything doesn’t really count. But please, I don’t want Ben knowing that I threw up on myself while giving head at the weekend – if that were to happen, which it did not.

6. Set us up with your mates

We might act like it’s annoying, but we just don’t want to seem desperate, OK? Make yourself useful by doing the embarrassing part for us, that way we can be all eye-rolling and nonchalant.

7. Please stop saying we can do better than whatever bum we’re sleeping with

It’s mostly not an issue of self-respect – we know we deserve better than that. The problem is, better doesn’t come around that much. In this economy, the guy with no sheets on his bed and a penchant for orange wine is actually a catch. 


8. Make the effort to get excited with us over every tiny little sad thing we become overly excited about

Let your single friends lose their shit when their fling leaves a toothbrush at theirs by “mistake”. They have to like all the pics on that shared Insta account you have for your cat.

9. Don’t bring your partner to everything (anything) 

Especially if it’s meant to be just the two of you hanging out, and even more especially if it’s a girls / boys night. If you ask and your friend replies “sure”, then they definitely didn’t want your partner to come. 

10. Never treat us like a stand-in when your partner’s busy

Single people are not a fallback option for when your partner is away or wants their own space. We should be just as much of a priority, if not more, because we’ll definitely be there till death do us part.

11. Listen to the dumb boring facts of our days

When you have a partner you end up telling them about every little insignificant part of your day – the rude email you received, the sandwich you had for lunch – and sometimes, single people need someone to share these tiny moments with.

12. Don’t tell us we’re ‘picky’

If we want to ignore someone because they sent the “100” emoji over WhatsApp then that’s our decision. 

13. Stop telling us where we should meet people

There’s nothing that says tragic than someone telling you to join a running club,  pottery class or cooking class because they’ve heard there’s hot people there. Single people need time to do their laundry too, you know.


14. In fact, if you’re in a relationship, don’t provide any advice about navigating the dating world

Just nod along knowing they are one of God’s strongest soldiers. 

15. Don’t ask what happened to [insert someone’s name here]

Unless they raise it themselves – chances are they ended up being a massive bellend. 

16. Give over telling us you’re jealous

Being single now is essentially firming it through the twentieth “I’m not ready for a relationship right now” text from a Hinge match you just slept with. You would not be able to hack it.

17. Don’t use us for research 

When you ask about “breadcrumming” or “benching” or “pocketing” you sound 1000 years old. Stop acting like some sort of anthropologist observing an ancient civilisation.

18. Never, under any context, refer to ‘time running out’

Maybe this seems obvious, but trust me – I’ve been there. We don’t need you asking when we’ll be ready to settle down, or even worse, saying we’ve missed the boat entirely and will now have to wait for the next round of divorces. Rest assured that our mother’s bring this up enough.

19. Make lowkey plans with us

Let’s be honest, single people are just more fun. But don’t just relegate time with them for big nights out. Go for walks together, link arms in flower markets, cook them nice meals – the laidback stuff that people often end up doing with partners. 

20. Don’t ask them to move so that so you and your partner can sit together

Being single means you often feel like an assemblage, an add on, an annoying logistical difficulty. Please don’t do anything that might aggravate this. 

21. Don’t be annoyed if we don’t want to hang out with a bunch of couples

Invite them to the dinner party because it’s polite, but if they have some sort of stomach bug that evening, just go with it. 

22. Use the noble “we” 

Sometimes problems feel heavier when you don’t have a partner to lean on. That’s why a simple, “We’ll get this sorted” can be so comforting when we run into an issue – being single doesn’t have to mean being alone. And absolutely do not use “we” to refer to you and your partner when discussing your likes, dislikes and general thoughts. Unless you want us to barf up our lunch.