Around this time last year, I wrote a post about my favorite fictional couples (which you should definitely go back and read if you missed it the first time around). I thought it would make a nice parallel to do a similar post this year, but focusing on characters who aren’t in relationships.
And then I ran into a slight problem: I couldn’t think of any.
I know, I was pretty surprised too, but let me explain. The single characters I could think of usually didn’t work for one of two reasons. One, they were not main characters, so the audience isn’t expecting to hear much about their relationships unless it’s directly related to the plot. Two, the character is the “token” single person in a cast of characters who had romantic relationships, so there’s a heavy focus on how they’re different from the other characters. There were still a handful remaining after I completed that criteria, but certainly not enough to write a whole list like last year.
That got me thinking – where are all of the single people in our stories, specifically in YA fiction?
I don’t really talk about relationships much. There are a couple reasons for this, the biggest of which being that it’s not something I really care to discuss at length. Sure, I’m happy to offer some common-sense advice when asked, but most of the time I’d rather let the matter drop. Today, however, I have something to say.
Over the past couple of years, it’s become more common for people my age to be single. It wasn’t strange to see people in my parents’ generation get married in their early 20s, but lately, it seems to me that people aren’t getting married until later on in life. I’m not here to discuss the pros/cons of that or even why it happens, but I have noticed one result: people have become more single-person-friendly.
Generally, this isn’t a bad thing. However, there are other times when this conversation comes off as demeaning or insensitive, even though that isn’t the intention. I don’t mean to say that all people in relationships have malicious intentions towards single people, but sometimes, we can get pretty frustrated. If you’re wondering how to stop inadvertently frustrating us, here are a few things you can keep in mind (as illustrated by pipe cleaner stick figures).