6 Comments About Your Relationship Status That Are Actually Concern Trolling
Even if you've never come across the term "concern trolling" before, chances are you've had to deal with it. Although it's often used in terms of fat shaming, most of us are no strangers to concern trolling comments about relationships. Whether you're single, happily married, or fending off your casual hookup's attempts to commit, it seems like there's always someone who's just so concerned about your relationship status — but oddly enough, that concern is usually accompanied by some form of backhanded compliment or well-disguised censure.
That, my friends, is concern trolling at its finest (or worst, really). For those of you who haven't heard of it before, it's a pretty simple concept: The term refers to people who use "concerns" to disguise or justify criticisms. For real-time examples, just check out the comment section of any Instagram post featuring a plus size woman in a bikini; it's guaranteed to feature at least a few comments from users who "totally think she's beautiful, but they're worried about her health." Needless to say, this is usually a thinly-veiled excuse to point out how "unhealthy" and "unattractive" the woman's body is — but only to "other users," of course. The person who made the comment certainly wouldn't say such a thing; they're just looking out for her.
Do you see how insidious concern trolling can be? Fat shaming may be the most common example, but it's used to put down people in all kinds of ways. Keep an eye out for the following comments that are really concern trolling about relationships — or the lack thereof.
1. "Don't you worry about your biological clock?"
Ah, the oft-invoked (and probably mythological) biological clock. Once a single woman turns 26, she's bombarded with "concerns" about her ovaries from all sides: Friends, family, and even strangers who all clamor for her to get married and reproduce before it's Too Late. Forget whether she wants to get married and/or have children; the biological clock takes precedence over all else. Can we please stop doing this? Please?
2. "I hope you're being safe, sleeping with so many people."
It's a great sentiment — be safe, kids — but in practice, people usually have ulterior motives for questioning your sexual habits. Your sex life is nobody's business but your own and your partner's, and bringing up "concerns" about your number of partners is slut shaming, pure and simple.
3. "Other people might think there's something wrong with being single for so long."
Really? These "other people" are almost definitely theoretical. The person implying that you should be worried about being single, however, is all too real, even if they aren't owning their opinion.
4. "If I were you, I'd be worrying about getting your partner to commit."
Admittedly, this kind of comment isn't particularly subtle; it's a transparent way to encourage you to worry about why your partner isn't committing. But if you're happy with your relationship the way it is, it's nobody else's business whether you plan on getting married or not. (Good luck explaining this to your parents.)
5. "Doesn't your partner think your sexual history is kind of slutty?"
Pointing to other people as the source of an opinion is classic concern trolling; presumably, your partner is totally fine with your sexual history. (And if they're not, they're probably not worth sticking around.) Bringing up the possibility of a "slutty" past speaks more about what the person making the comment thinks, rather than what anyone else does.
6. "I just worry you'll end up alone."
It's the ultimate form of concern trolling faced by single people during the holidays. If you're not worried about ending up alone, nobody else has the right to be worried — and even if you are terrified of perpetual singledom, bringing it up just makes you feel worse. Come on, people.