Shani Silver is not an advocate for singlehood, she’s an advocate for single women feeling good while single and there’s a difference. A Single Revolution is one book for single women that won’t approach you like you’re unfinished. It’s for those who are exhausted, frustrated, confused, or angry, who want relationships but don’t deserve to be miserable in the meantime. You can choose how you feel about being single, you can choose to feel wrong or you can choose to feel free. A Single Revolution isn’t about changing yourself, it’s about changing your mind.
Welcome into The Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host Benji Block and today, I am thrilled to be joined by Shani Silver. She has just authored a new book titled A Single Revolution: Don’t Look For a Match, Light One. Shani, we’re so glad to have you here on Author Hour today.
Shani Silver: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Benji Block: Absolutely. Shani, I’d love to hear just a bit of your background. Could you provide some context for our listeners as to you and the work that you do?
Shani Silver: Sure, I wish that I had a very quick elevator pitch as to my career and after years of doing this, I still don’t have one but I think, by and large, I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since I was six years old. It’s who I’ve always been and it’s my most favorite kind of work that I do. But there are a lot of other components to the way that I create, and I would say that at this point, I’m calling myself a writer, a podcaster. I’ve gone by the term, singlehood advocate before but I don’t even know if that’s quite a fit.
Basically, I want to put content out into the world for single women that is not about dating. That validates other aspects of life beyond just dating because I found a really shallow pool of content available to us when I was looking for resources and support as a single person myself. I wasn’t finding what I wanted and I wasn’t finding what I thought we deserved.
That sort of started me down the path to writing and podcasting within the singlehood space specifically, and then that sort of developed over time to not just write about it, not just create content about it but try to improve it and that’s largely what inspired the book.
Benji Block: Well, I can say, having taken a look and read your book, that there is so much great content that you’re putting out and that goal of being part of the solution in creating content there is a great one. Now, you wrote a book and that is an accomplishment and you’re already podcasting so content can come in many mediums. Why a book and why right now?
Shani Silver: Well, writing a book has been my lifelong dream and then the deeper and deeper I got into my career, it became even more important to me to write a book. I went through the traditional route with an agent and sending book proposals to publishers and what have you, and that wasn’t working.
There came a point at which it was almost laughable— getting my rejections was almost laughable— because in my head, I was thinking, “So you’re telling me I’m actually never going to be an author? That’s ridiculous. I know who and what I am. I’m going to be an author.” I was tired of letting publishers dictate whether or not that was true.
I decided to make it true for myself and that’s the number one reason why I worked with Scribe. I’ve come to realize there were countless benefits to working with Scribe instead of with a publisher. But “why now” is that, I think things just kind of clicked into place. I think I’m at a place in my development of this content where it was ready to be in a book.
I was getting so many requests from podcast listeners who don’t want to be taking furious notes while they were listening to a podcast. That’s not how we enjoy podcasts. We just want to listen to them. But they were finding resources in there that they wanted to be able to refer back to and share with others and they couldn’t do that.
I wanted to deliver what my audience wanted to them. But more than anything, I know that this kind of content specifically needs to be in a book. It needs to be a guidebook, a reference, a text that you— I mean, certainly, I want everyone to read through it all the way through and enjoy it but I also want it to be there as a resource for single women in need of support whenever they need that support.
If you’re having a rough moment, maybe there’s a chapter, I hope there’s a chapter that’s dedicated to that specific difficulty you’re having on that day and you can reference it again when you need to. It’s designed to be with my audience in a way that I cannot physically be, so that they always have a sort of support that I had never found online or in any sort of medium before. Because everything that I had ever seen that pertained to single women was just one variation of dating advice or another.
I knew that we deserve more than that so it needed to be in a book that could be held and referenced and depended on in a way, that I think our personal libraries become very personal to us. And I wanted to become a part of the personal library of single women.
Redefining the “Single” Narrative
Benji Block: Podcasting is such a good medium for understanding someone’s voice and their tone. A book is such a lasting impact piece and so I love that you took that and were intentional about putting this content into a book form. When you’re working on this project, clearly you’re talking to single women but who is in your mind, who is the ideal reader? Who is kind of pushing you to the process going down, “This person needs this book”?
Shani Silver: I mean, there’s a really identifiable human being that I wrote this book for. She’s exhausted and frustrated and she’s staring down a lot of unfairness, a lot of helplessness, a lot of anger, a lot of sadness, maybe some loneliness in there as well. I wrote this for single women who are stuck in between a society that shames single women, because single is a terrible thing to be in our society. It’s so embarrassing and it’s so shameful, particularly if you’re female, not so much if you’re male.
There’s that on one side; there’s societal shame on one side of her and on the other side of her is, seemingly, the only resource she’s ever been given to end this shame and that is dating. The way that you end singlehood shame is dating, that’s all we’ve ever been given before. The modern dating landscape is not only not a solution to all of those feelings but it contributes to them.
You’ve essentially got single women stuck in between society’s shame and a punishing dating culture. That’s just isn’t fair. I’m hoping that what my book becomes, is a way out of that middle, a way out of that stuck place that does not involve finding a partner first. Because like it or not, in the current modern dating age, it is actually very hard to do. It’s not impossible. The book is very clear to state that you don’t have to stop wanting a relationship at any point in time and I certainly believe that all of us who want relationships will find them.
In the meantime, we don’t deserve to be miserable and I hope that this book offers some solace and support and I really hope that single women who are unhappy, walk away from this book feeling so much better.
Benji Block: Yeah, I think they will. I’m clearly not your target demographic but I really enjoyed it. It was so insightful and so I’m excited to dive into the content here over the next few minutes. When we talk about the topic you’re tackling here, around singleness and how to approach it, I would say, what you’re advocating for is honestly simple, but that simple doesn’t mean easy, right?
What you’re saying, I feel was like in some ways, refreshing because it was common sense but it’s not easy because there is— I don’t know, this is just not the message that’s loud in the public square. Start here for me, when did this feeling, this idea, this message become clear and kind of crystalized inside of you?
Shani Silver: It started really taking shape about three years ago, maybe four years ago now. There was this notion that every narrative that we know about singlehood, particularly as single women, they’re so ingrained in us and so baked into us, they’re just accepted as truth. Constant narratives about the sad single spinster, the crazy cat lady, every disfavored variation of a woman who doesn’t have a partner.
All of that is very commonplace, all of that is very, “Oh, you don’t want to end up like her.” It’s so common and it’s so casual that we just accept it as truth and as fact. If you really dig into the narratives of singlehood, in my opinion, pretty much all of them are lying because singlehood is actually amazing. It is the most free and possibility-filled time that we will ever have in our lives and I worry that unless we change those narratives for ourselves—
First of all, they’ll never change in society and society will never start treating single women better. But what’s scarier to me is that if we don’t change the narratives of singlehood for ourselves, in our own minds, we’re going to miss out on our own singlehood, because we’re going to be so head down and swiping our adulthood away that we will miss how good this time in our lives can genuinely be, for however long it lasts.
I have a fear that single women are missing something amazing, and so I want to help all of us reframe the way we think about singlehood by challenging those narratives that are lying. And I’d like to think that the book has done that.
Focusing On the Joys of Singleness
Benji Block: Yeah, absolutely. Talk to me about the narratives of singlehood. Where do you feel like they come from, that idea— I mean, the cat lady, those types of things, they’re so prevalent in our culture and society as a whole. Where do you feel like that originates and why are they so perpetuated?
Shani Silver: I think the easiest answer is they’re perpetuated because love is amazing, you know what I mean? Companionship is amazing, love is amazing, sex is amazing, having somebody to go to the movies with is amazing. All of those things are really easy to love. It isn’t a hard sell, it really isn’t. A happy singlehood is seemingly competing with being in a couple of any kind. It isn’t in reality but from a societal standpoint, I think it is.
I think it’s really easy for us to lean into the narrative that being in a couple is good and being single is bad, because of the wonderful perks of being in a couple that we celebrate so much and we talk about them so much. We so rarely talk about the positives of singlehood. Of course, we’re going to hate it. If we’ve never known any reason to love it. Of course, we’re going to hate singlehood and try to end our singlehood as fast as possible through any means possible.
The narratives of singlehood are really easy to believe because we are being baited into couplehood which sounds way better. Sorry about the plane, hold on a second.
You know something? I don’t even know where the airfield is. I have no idea where these planes are coming from, I just moved to New Orleans, this is a very new problem for me.
The narratives are easy to believe because we’re comparing them with couplehood, which sounds amazing. In my mind and in the book, certainly for me, being single and being in a couple are on par with each other. I don’t see one as being better than the other.
I hope that I have effectively communicated the reasons for that in the book because seeing the positives of singlehood allows for more balance in that space. To answer your question about where they came from in the first place, I mean, we can take it all the way back as far into the patriarchy as you would like to go but I tend not to dig too deeply into that because the book would rival the encyclopedia if we went down that path. But for me, the easiest thing is that, in our society, we celebrate couples, we reward couples, we accept couples socially.
We don’t do any of that for singles and so those negative and false narratives, they stick really easily. Because, of course, we want to be in love. Of course, we want partnership and companionship and someone to go places with. Of course, we do. I like to present more of a positive around singlehood so I’m hoping that it becomes easier to challenge those narratives for yourself when you have the support of all the benefits of singlehood as well.
Benji Block: The helpful insightful question that you pose is, have you ever taken the time to ask yourself what’s good and right about being single and so, I would love to just give you the chance to answer that for yourself. What are your favorite parts about being single?
Shani Silver: My goodness. The complete and total lack of compromise; that is my favorite aspect of singlehood for sure. There are a thousand little idiosyncrasies like, “I get the whole bed” and I thoroughly enjoy that.
Benji Block: Yeah, I’m jealous.
Shani Silver: Yeah, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to dinner with a married friend who is so thrilled that their spouse is out of town for a night so that they can get the whole bed. I mean, that’s terrifying to me. I want the whole bed whenever I want the whole bed, and my future relationships will probably involve us having separate bedrooms and working out some sort of an arrangement there because I mean, I’m a starfish. I am just a starfish.
Also, there are other ways, there is a lightness and a freedom in never having to factor in someone else’s preferences, needs, desires, and being led entirely by your own. You could see that as selfish if you want to, but we don’t have to because there’s no one else here. It isn’t actually selfish, it’s just us, living our lives and when all we can do is swipe through a dating app, we’re ignoring that.
I would say, the freedom, the lack of compromise— I haven’t waited to watch the next episode of anything in 13 years and I have to tell you, I really like that. Taking a moment to pause and just looking around at all of the truths of your single life, not just the “There’s no one here” or “I don’t have any company” or “I don’t split rent” stuff like that. If all you can focus on are the downsides, you are doing a disservice to the positives and I want us to challenge the way that we think about our own singlehood because there’s so much good waiting there.
Singleness Isn’t a Punishment, but an Opportunity
Benji Block: Yeah, the independence was a big takeaway for me. It really— I would say this. I learned a lot from your book. As a married man, I have takeaways and I can tell you this. You have this consistent theme where you have like old thought/new thought. I love that flow throughout the book so you have this old thought, “I don’t have someone so I have to keep searching.” New thought, “Being single isn’t a sentence. I am not required to spend my actual life in pursuit of someone else.”
Okay, for me, the feeling of not being whole or of codependency or whatever, that just continues right into marriage. We lose ourselves in this search and when I was reading that, I was just like, “Man, preach.” Like we need to actively become content and stop the search.
That goes for all of our listeners whether they fall right into your demographic or not. So I just want to say preach to that because I think that agency is something you’re really teaching here. And that independence is something that throughout our whole lives having that level of, Okay, I am responsible for me and that is a good thing and I can do things for myself that is so important.
Shani Silver: Thank you. I agree. And listen, I have so many podcast listeners who are in couples. I hope that anyone who is partnered can read this book and take something away from it because just because you’re partnered, it doesn’t mean that you can’t claim that agency over how you feel and your independence. I’m hoping that there are lessons taken from singlehood that actually serve us well in partnership too.
Benji Block: Absolutely. So a common fear you worked to address is this fear of coming across as too independent, and it is so interesting to me to think about being in a place like that where you’re like having to analyze, “Am I too happy? Do I look like I’m thriving too much? I want to communicate that I am still interested in a relationship but maybe I look too independent.” Talk to me about that mind game and that narrative.
You say that you’ve since forgiven yourself for doing that but what does that look like to have to overcome that sort of internal stigma?
Shani Silver: Well, the number of internal stigmas that any women is working with on any given day is absolutely legion, and a lot of them are really unfair but shedding them can be very difficult because we have been so socialized into them. You know, it is one thing to hear that you don’t have to worry about something anymore but that doesn’t discount the fact that you were literally raised and socialized to believe it.
It can take some time to shed old narratives and that’s why I talk about forgiving yourself because one of the things that happens when you start reframing singlehood is that you do start to feel very, very guilty and very ashamed of how you used to think about it. In my opinion, feeling guilty for how you used to think about singlehood is a waste of your time. I think instead, inserting gratitude into your life that you were able to change your mindset at all because many people won’t ever do that, that’s the way to move forward.
Instead of feeling guilty, I find moments of gratitude and I am very grateful that I was able to reframe singlehood for myself. I am even more grateful that I’m able to help other people do it. There is a very big thing throughout the book and it is very important to understand it, as you move through the book, is that there is a false narrative that I can’t like being single because that will somehow communicate to the universe that I don’t want a boyfriend.
The single women listening to this now will understand what I mean in their heads because that’s something that we’ve come to understand is very, very true. You can’t like this because then you’ll be punished with more of this and it is not true and that is one of those negative false narratives that I am very hard to rewrite because, in my opinion, I believe just the opposite. I believe that someone who is happy and calm and content in her singlehood is somebody who is very magnetic and attractive to other people. About all kinds not just romantic relationships but friendships too.
I just can’t see the correlation between hating your singlehood and striving as hard as possible constantly to end it. Just find somebody, find somebody, find somebody; that mindset is one of very low self-worth. It is a very painful mindset to exist within but we think it’s the one we have to adapt or we’ll never be rewarded with a partner.
These are very, very common narratives. These are things that are not talked about often because it’s really embarrassing to say it. But I have no shame around this stuff and I am not embarrassed around the thoughts I used to have. So I am happy to say them for single women and put them in a book and hopefully challenge them in a way that is really productive and helps other people change the way they think. Because, in truth, you can never be punished for liking your own singlehood.
That is just not a thing that’s true. So, the notion that we can’t ever become happily single or else we’ll never find somebody is just is simple nonsense and I want us to shed that for a lot of reasons that I’ve already mentioned. I think it’s really important to understand how to break out of that narrative that isn’t serving you. It is a narrative. It is not doing you any favors. It is a narrative that’s not true. It’s keeping you miserable. Allowing yourself to be happy has absolutely no correlation with how long you’re going to be single in the future.
Benji Block: A big contributing factor to that narrative and something you’ve mentioned a couple of times, is this idea of just swiping until you find something. This idea of dating apps— you have a lot of good content, you talk about quitting dating apps in the book. Talk to me about your relationship with technology and dating apps and how that’s messed up our idea of being single.
Shani Silver: Oh my goodness. Well, I don’t pull my punches in the book when it comes to the dating industry at all. I am very, very direct and hopefully very clear about how the dating industry has essentially began. It’s been doing this for years but it is a relatively new industry in the grand scheme of things and it is making literal billions of dollars by selling maybes to single women.
To single men as well but I think that single women in particular because of the shame associated with what we are. We are more susceptible to spending piles and piles of money with no guaranteed return in exchange. The ROI on dating apps is such a gamble and it is so low. And we like to cling to these success stories, right? Because we all know somebody who’s married because they met somebody on the dating app. We all know somebody.
But when you think about everyone you know, everyone you’re related to, everyone you work with, the millions of people using dating apps, the percentage of them that are actually finding long term partnership, that are finding success on dating apps, whatever you deem success to be, is far too low for the amount of money that these players in the dating industry are taking in.
I just don’t like single women paying for maybes. I don’t like single women paying money to dating apps so that they can, what, see more attractive people? Does that feel good to you? It doesn’t feel good to me. I don’t like that if you spend a boatload of money with the dating app and you are on it for what? A year, two years, five years— for me it was 10— you never get any of that money back even if you never have one relationship result from all of that effort and for all of that money.
I never once had even one relationship result from 10 years of effort or money, and instead of allowing myself to adopt all of these internal narratives about how undesirable I am, which I know is absolute nonsense, I am a lovely person but it can convince you otherwise. That industry can convince you otherwise and it can rob you of so much self-worth, not to mention your paycheck.
I wanted to be really clear with single women that you don’t have to pay for these maybes. You are allowed to not just rely on the success stories that come from dating apps. You are allowed to remind yourself that people meet and fall in love and get married in an infinite number of ways. An infinite number. It is actually really hard to replicate someone else’s how we met story to the T. It is really hard.
There is an endless amount of how we met stories and I know that we are trained to hear them through an ear of jealousy, but I would like us to start listening to them with an ear toward possibility, because if that story happened, any story can happen. There’s really no reason, there is no logical reason why a story like that can’t happen to you. This narrow focus on paying for maybes with dating apps and dating coaches, matchmakers even— just in my opinion— it’s taking advantage of single women’s shame.
I don’t want it to get away with that anymore, so instead of directly approaching the dating industry who is never incentivized to just make less money I’m instead going at the source of their money, which is single women, and maybe then I might actually have an impact.
Being Single Doesn’t Require Validation
Benji Block: Yeah, of course, capitalism is going to figure out its way to try to capitalize on our shame, right? I love that you’re just focused on these women and reframing. One of the questions that I think comes up a lot because of dating apps and all of these is, “Why am I single?” and that can have two sides to it. You could have the external side, where someone could ask why are you single, which I think is a horrible question but people do ask it. I’ve been in rooms where it is definitely asked.
And then you have the internal side of that, where you could question yourself, why am I single? How do you respond when that question is asked externally— like you hear someone say it— and then what have you done to rebuttal the internal question?
Shani Silver: So the thing you have to understand about why are you single is it doesn’t deserve an answer. It is, in my opinion, an invalid question, and therefore, it does not deserve an answer at all. Anyone external asking you this question is not entitled to an answer. In my opinion instead what we should respond to this question with is an examination of the question itself. “Why are you asking it? Why do you think you deserve my answer?” Just a very simple like, “Why do you mean by that? Why are you asking this? Why is this a question that’s in your mind? What is motivating this question to come from you?” So much incoming and so many shameful spotlights are put on single women. I honestly think we are entitled to bounce a few back. So I like to turn this question around, why are you asking it?
Benji Block: I love that part in your book, “You know what? Why are you married?”
Shani Silver: Seriously, it’s the exact same question like when somebody asks you, “How’s dating going?” answer back with, “How happy is your marriage?” because that’s exactly the same question. We’re not entertainment for people and couples. We’re not and we’re treated like we are. Challenging some of the social norms that are unfortunately really casual and really common but also really painful, we’re allowed to do that.
We are allowed to challenge, “Why are you single?” We’re allowed to challenge, “I can’t believe you’re still single.” That sort of moment, we’re allowed to challenge it and that doesn’t make us socially unsavory. That doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us people who are tired of the false narratives, people who have self-worth, and people who know they deserve to be treated the exact same way that people and couples are treated.
Then in our own heads, the question, “Why are you single?” the way that I approach that question is by remembering that single isn’t something that’s bad and therefore can’t have fault behind it. You can’t really blame yourself for something that isn’t bad. You know, you never think, “Why are you so intelligent?” You never approach that from a negative standpoint if being single is something that’s good and valuable and precious.
Because by the way, it’s going to end. You’re single, it is going to end, so this is actually a precious time in our lives. When you can view it through that lens, the question why am I single dissolves. It stops being a question that needs an answer because the question is simply invalid and unnecessary.
Benji Block: That’s so good. Well, as we’re starting to wrap up here, I’d love to conclude our conversation today with just some best practices, and just having talked directly to your audience, women, and give just some practical advice, some wisdom as to ways that you can thrive in your singleness.
Shani Silver: Sure. So, I don’t think that singlehood is the miserable thing. I think that dating is the miserable thing and I think it’s been letting singlehood take the blame for its crimes for a really long time. I think that dating is not your obligation. If you are a single woman, it is not your obligation to date until you find someone. You are allowed to either stop dating or simply decenter dating from your single life.
You don’t have to completely give it up if you don’t want to, but just decentering it and taking away some of its importance and some of its centering in your life, that’s allowed. When you do those things, when you stop dating or decenter dating, you’re still allowed to meet someone. There is a false association between endless effort put into dating and finding partnership. And anyone listening to this who has been dating and hasn’t found partnership has all the proof they need already.
If putting all of these efforts and striving and money and time into dating isn’t netting you out what you want, you are allowed to stop. Because dating is not the only way that people come together in this life. It really isn’t, so it is not your obligation. It is not your job. We are allowed to simply live. We are allowed to relax, we are allowed to breathe and we are allowed to enjoy. And when we do that, we’re not cutting ourselves off from partnership.
We’re simply ushering in a new time of enjoying our singlehood. And in my opinion, that is not something that cuts us off from connecting with people. In my opinion, it does just the opposite.
Benji Block: Fantastic. It is so good, Shani. For those that are wanting to connect further, maybe they want to give you a follow or they want to reach out, what’s the best way for people to connect with you?
Shani Silver: Well, there is a benefit to having a Google-able name, so shanisilver.com is sort of the hub for everything. You can find information about the book, you can find my social media, my podcast, my Patreon, everything is there. And then you can find the book on Amazon.com.
Benji Block: Such an honor to discuss the book, great work. Thanks for taking time today to speak with us on Author Hour. Everyone go grab, A Single Revolution: Don’t Look For a Match, Light One. It is a great resource and I know it is going to impact so many. Thanks, Shani, for being on the show today.
Shani Silver: Thank you so much for having me.