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Singles can refer to musical releases that contain only one song. A record single is typically released separate from an album, and usually for promotional purposes, but may later be featured on an album as well.

The term singles also refers to individual contestants that compete against each other in one-on-one sports encounters, such as in tennis, badminton, table tennis or pool.

Singles are, from a legal and social point of view, individuals who are neither married nor currently involved in any romantic relationship, which includes both dating and engagement. However, in some social contexts, single individuals may engage in various dating rituals, in an attempt to find a suitable date that could later become a long-term romantic partner or spouse.

While there are single individuals who, for various personal reasons, do not wish to involve themselves in committed relationships, singles dating will sometimes use a matchmaking system called “speed dating” as a means to encounter a wide range of new potential partners in a short period of time. Speed dates will usually last only for a few minutes, in which the dates are encouraged to talk about their personalities, achievements, expectations, and so on. Men and women are rotated to meet each other, so that by the end of the event, each participant has “dated” all of the others.

Numerous individuals who have long sought a partner, but have been unable to find a suitable one, report feelings of loneliness and unhappiness. Certain professions or careers, however, demand that a person remains celibate and even chaste. This usually occurs for religious reasons and only in certain faiths, affecting priests, nuns and monks. In the Latin Catholic Church, clerical celibacy is mandatory for bishops and priests, as well as for deacons who wish to become priests. Nevertheless, in Eastern Christianity, while celibacy is mandatory for bishops, priests may be ordained while already married, but are not allowed to remarry upon divorcing their first wife.

Furthermore, specific situations may require that individuals are legally married. In the United States, for example, Social Security counts on spouses, children and other family members, under the assumption that an individual’s close family will inherit the insurance upon the holder’s passing. For this reason, single individuals who are neither legally elder (65 years of age or older) nor disabled cannot benefit from social security.

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