Your Fawning Over Families Is Alienating Single People

Bella DePaulo
11 min readSep 18, 2020

The language of “working families” is costly — and not just to the millions of people who are marginalized by it

Do you think that people in the U.S. are impossibly polarized? Not when it comes to the focus of their fawning and their concern. On the political left and right, at all levels of government, in the media, the marketplace, the workplace, the medical establishment, in places of worship, in popular culture, and in every other nook and cranny of our everyday lives, everyone is so very concerned about couples and families. Especially “working families.”

That’s just wrong. Family talk is misguided, inaccurate, exclusionary, and insulting. Wittingly or not, people who express their concern only about couples and families are alienating solo single people. When political candidates behave in such foolishly self-defeating ways, huge numbers of their single constituents may be tempted to ignore them in return when it comes time to vote.

I will have a lot to say about all of this, but in case you don’t have time right now to read all the way to the end, I’m going to put my call to action right here at the top.

Let’s Do Something. Here’s Something Simple that Could Be Effective If It Catches On

Heather Steil, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer currently serving as Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor at CENTCOM, is fed up and she is not taking it anymore. Tweeting from her personal twitter account, she announced:

Every time I see a politician talk about “families,” I’m going to restate their comment so they can see how it excludes singles. #happilysingle #singlism @belladepaulo

She started with this:

“I’m really worried about all the families that have been impacted.” — Florida @SenRickScott is visiting Pensacola as Sally strikes the region hard.

Here’s how she restated Senator Rick Scott’s comment:

“I’m really worried about all the singles that (sic) have been impacted.”

She has been continuing. No one is exempt from her educational efforts — political affiliation is irrelevant. She’s right about that — political candidates and…



Bella DePaulo

“America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience,” according to the Atlantic. SINGLE AT HEART book coming on Dec 5, 2023.