How can I be happy if I am single? Research has found that single adults on average experience worse well being compared to coupled adults, but this does not have to be the case for everyone (2). Girme et al. suggests that this may be a result of lower perceptions of social support availability and greater experiences of negative treatment and discrimination compared to coupled adults (2). While these are possible feelings for people who are not in a committed relationship, they also indicate the power of socialization and finding support in different types of relationships. These findings emphasize the importance of social connections and support networks that allow individuals to feel like they belong to a larger community and have people they can lean on during times of trouble. 

Other research has found that single individuals are more likely to frequently stay in touch with, provide help to, and receive help from parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends compared to individuals who are married (3). Sarkisian & Gerstel studied how single individuals developed more social connections than married individuals and this has several implications for the benefits of being single (3). Because singlehood increases social involvement, this could allow single individuals to have many sources of support rather than just relying on a partner and this could be a benefit when one person of support is not available. In alignment with this idea, Fisher et al. found that singles invested more in their friendships than partnered people, and greater friendship investment predicted greater friendship quality and self-esteem later on (1). These studies conclude that single individuals are not always worse off than those in relationships and support networks can be just as effective when composed of friends and family. 

Sex and the City, an HBO television show, follows the lives of four women – Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha – as they juggle work, dating, and friendship in New York City. Carrie Bradshaw, a journalist in thirties, has a column dedicated to relationship advice and anecdotes from her own dating experiences as well as advice for being single. She explores different types of relationships and advises women on their way to find love, whether that be with a partner, a friend, or even oneself. Later in the show, when many of her friends begin to get married and settle into serious relationships, she still finds herself single. Even though Carrie dates plenty of men throughout the show, some more seriously than others, she struggles to find a man she can settle down with as she doesn’t know if marriage is right for her. 

A quote from Carrie in the show reads: “being single used to mean that nobody wanted you – now it means you are … taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with”. This idea sums up Carrie’s beliefs that singlehood does not have to mean unhappiness and with a solid social network, being single can allow other types of relationships to become stronger. Her strongest relationships lie in her friendships with the other women and allow her to live a satisfied and fulfilled life despite being single. Ultimately, it is OK to be single and can be a time of growth across different non-romantic relationships, including that with oneself! 

1. Fisher, A. N., Stinson, D. A., Wood, J. V., Holmes, J. G., & Cameron, J. J. (2021). Singlehood and Attunement of Self-Esteem to Friendships. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(7), 1326-1334. 

2. Girme, Y. U., Sibley, C. G., Hadden, B. W., Schmitt, M. T., & Hunger, J. M. (2022). Unsupported and stigmatized? The association between relationship status and wellbeing is mediated by social support and social discrimination. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 13(2), 425–435.  

3. Sarkisian, N., & Gerstel, N. (2016). Does singlehood isolate or integrate? Examining the link between marital status and ties to kin, friends, and neighbors. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33(3), 361-384.

3 Replies to “Fall in Love With Being Single Through the Eyes of Carrie Bradshaw

  1. I love how this blog post counters the often-held belief that being single lacks fulfillment. It makes a lot of sense how single people who cultivate strong networks find satisfaction through their network of friends and family who provide love and support. The variety of relationships offered to single people aligns with the opportunities for extensive social engagement beyond a committed relationship. Great job!

  2. This was such an interesting post to read! I find it fascinating how representations of relationships and ideas about other norms are displayed in media and pop culture, and this was a great example of that phenomenon. I wonder what societal factors have contributed to Carrie’s observation that the perceptions of singlehood have changed in recent years and how, in turn, that perception has affected other aspects of our lives and relationships.

  3. Clare — this was such an interesting post! It really navigates the nuanced experiences of single life, effectively debunking common misconceptions about single hood and well-being. By integrating research findings with relatable examples from popular culture, such as Carrie Bradshaw’s journey in “Sex and the City,” the post highlights the importance of a strong social network and the varied forms of fulfillment available outside romantic relationships. It emphasizes how personal growth and happiness can flourish from the freedom and self-exploration that often come with being single. This balanced approach offers a refreshing perspective that empowers singles to redefine their own happiness and value their diverse relationships.

Leave a Reply