Tag Archives: Social Obligations

Single is not a Bad Word

“All the podcasts for singles out there are about dating, how to find love, how to meet people, etc. Why are there so little voices from and about people who are single and don’t feel the need to date?”

This was my gripe to a friend recently. I’m not sure where it is coming from, exactly. To be fair, it’s not that I haven’t come across content by people who are single and who extoll the benefits of singlehood. But, all of them seem to be based on the premise that they are single AT THE MOMENT. They are happy, yes. They are fulfilled, yes. They have meaningful friendships and relationships, yes. But their content seems to be generally based on the caveat that this is not a permanent thing. Their true destiny, eventually, is to be partnered.

And while that in itself is not wrong or something I judge, I cannot help but feel a stab of disappointment every time I come across a page or podcast about a single person, get excited that I have found my tribe, and then somewhere along the way I read or hear a line that goes: “When I eventually settle down with someone…” or “Being single prepares me for being in a relationship because…”

What I’m looking for, I think, is the reassurance that this is a legit way of life. Being single and happy on your own is NOT just a stepping stone to being partnered. Enjoying your own company is not sad. There is nothing wrong with you for not feeling the desire to be in an intimate relationship. There are other ways to get your emotional needs met outside of an intimate romantic relationship. I want to be reassured of these things. Yet, the messages I constantly get from society tell me that this is meant to be a passing phase, that I just haven’t met the right person, that I’m just afraid of intimacy, that there is a Yet To Come.

Who knows, perhaps one day I will look back on this post, turn to my partner and laugh about it.

But for now, I am an angsty single person who is tired of all the implied societal messages about what happiness should look like. I want to rebel by taking up my space as a self-partnered individual and not feel smaller or less entitled for it. I want to claim my identity as a single person and not worry that people might feel sorry for me. I want to say “I’m single” and not feel that I’ve just said a bad word.

Social Obligations

“Who’s going to the MRT?” The lady stood up and surveyed the table.

I could have continued looking at my bag and pretend to be arranging stuff, but by some involuntary muscle movement, her eyes met mine. I am a terrible liar. If I were to not acknowledge her question, or said something untrue, I was sure she would have seen through me straightaway.

“Me.” I heard my dreaded voice say.

She looked happy enough while I started silently stabbing myself.

Darn it! Now I’d have to make small talk with her all the way home! And the worst thing was, she lived in SK too!! That’s 14 – FOURTEEN STOPS of pure agony.

Never mind that we’d probably have plenty to share, having just attended the same course and teaching the same subject. Never mind that I might have learned a thing or two from her, with her being more experienced in the field. Never mind that having someone to talk to on the way home isn’t all that bad.

Wait, it is.

I love long train journeys because I can use the time to think. Stone. Read. Sleep. Listen to music. BE ALONE.

As we walked out of the building, she suddenly remarked: “We could actually take the circle line. There’s a station nearby. Can walk there.”

And I immediately said, “I’ll still need to go Vivo to get something. Ok, see you!”

The amount of relief which flooded my heart and soul at that moment is indescribable.

I went home happy, reading, thinking, sleeping, and prolonged the solitary journey by walking home from CP, with a celebratory cup of bubble tea.


2 more days of course to go…