I could write a whole book on this. It makes me so mad when people are sad to be single. It can be one of the best times of your life! It’s not a curse, or a stigma, or something to be ashamed of (unless you want it to be).
I’ve had a range of relationships over the years (okay, that sounds weird). What I mean is, I was in two long-term relationships for about ten years until my mid-twenties, along with a few shorter relationships. (What can I say; I started young… Maybe I’ll write about that another time 😉 )
I split up with my (then) boyfriend at the age of 25, expecting fun, excitement and wild parties. I was ready to be single and make up for lost time! There were guys to meet, bars to hit up, and adventures to be had… Let me at it!
A lesson for me
Unfortunately, this did not happen. Why? I hadn’t counted on one thing. My friends were also all in couples. In fact, I think I had only one single friend out of all my friends at this time – and she met her future husband the first time we went out to meet guys together! 🙂
So. I went from being – if I’m honest – slightly arrogant about how quickly I would meet guys and how much fun it would be to be single… to feeling really quite crap about it, and not doing any of the things I thought I would.
Don’t get me wrong. My friends were great. They gave me support. They had me round for dinners. Some of them even suggested potential guy friends for me. But what I really wanted was to go out, get shitfaced, and meet a ton of guys. (I’m being 100% honest with you here. I was also 25 years old. I hadn’t been single since I was 15!)
But my friends in couples didn’t want to go out, get shitfaced and wait with me while I talked to a bunch of guys (some of them complete losers). Funny, that 🙂
It was a good wake-up call for me. (I just didn’t realize it at the time, ha.)
So there I was, single and ready to mingle, looking to party, but no one to party with. Feeling crap, but not knowing what to do about it, or where to start. Feeling sorry for myself (and I hate being like that).
Fast-forward to the good bit…
It took me a long time, but I finally made it from single and sad, to single and happy. Enjoying being single. Appreciating it. Not really wanting to meet someone, because I might have to change the life that I loved! And that is a pretty good skill to have – to know that you’ll be okay, whether you’re with someone or not. It sounds soppy, but I’m incredibly grateful that I had the experience of being single for the six/seven years that I did. I see friends or acquaintances who are in relationships only because they are too scared not to be in a relationship. And that doesn’t do either person any favours. I want to be with someone because I want to be with them, not because I am too scared to be on my own. Being on your own is fine, fine, fine! 🙂
The practical tips…
So here’s my advice for how to really, truly enjoy being single. If you are single, please let me know if any of this is helpful 🙂
- Make a TON of single friends. I really, really mean this. As many as you can. I know your friends in couples are great. But you will not meet anyone hanging at their house with a bunch of other couples. Okay, you might meet someone. But the chances are slim. You don’t have to ditch your friends in couples. Just add a few extra friends to your phonebook – single friends! The more, the better.
You might have to push yourself a bit to do this… Happen to meet a cool girl who is also single? Ask for their number, and hang out with them sometime. Hear about a girls’ night out at your friend’s workplace? Ask if you can go with them. Single people are usually quite happy to have another member in the group 🙂 (And this is great practise for meeting guys, too – putting yourself out there and getting out of your comfort zone!)
It will take time, but start putting yourself out there and increasing the number of single people you know. I’m going to make a bold statement now that might annoy people: Single people are more up for doing things (as they know they might meet people there as well), they can meet up on the spur of the moment when you get those free tickets to a new show tonight (because they don’t have as many ties); and they understand when you need a wingwoman to stand at the bar with you and watch your drink while you talk to someone – because the tables might be turned next time you both go out.
(Note: I am NOT saying that all people in couples are boring, don’t go out, and don’t make good wingpeople!!! I am in a relationship too, remember! 🙂 BUT the chances of a single person being freer and wanting to do the same things as you are higher.)
Oh and one more thing – make them positive single people if you can 🙂 Hanging round with a misery-guts who moans about being single all the time will only bring you down.
- Say yes to a ton of things – and to things you wouldn’t usually do. Even if you don’t really feel like it. Sitting in all weekend, versus going to a weird meet-up night that you’re not really sure you’ll enjoy – well how do you know until you’ve tried it?! If you’re really not feeling it, you have two options:
– fake it ’til you make it (sometimes when you put a smile on your face and launch yourself into it, you actually find yourself enjoying it)
– have an excuse ready, in case you really can’t stand it and need to head off. (And the best thing about being single – you can just head off if you want! No one to ask if they’re ready to leave too.)
- Stop panicking yourself. You don’t know what’s round the corner. You could be single for years, yes – or you could meet someone next month. You can’t predict the future, and you have no idea what’s going to happen – so stop worrying about what might be, and instead focus on enjoying the now. (Yes, it’s easier than it sounds, I know!)
- Get your home/room just the way you want it. Furnish it with items that you like and that make you happy to look at. Create a sanctuary that you want to come back to. It doesn’t have to be expensive – there are tons of great websites for making your home awesome on a budget. The idea isn’t that you want to spend all your time at home – it’s that if you are ever home (alone), you don’t see it as a bad thing. Oh and one more thing – sleep in the middle of the bed! Stretch out… Enjoy having it all to yourself! I used to sleep diagonally sometimes. The idea is to stop you looking wistfully over at the empty side of a bed. Pah. Think: “I will be confined to one side of the bed when I am in a relationship, and not before!” 🙂
- Try to enjoy the freedom that comes from being single. Yes, that’s right – you are incredibly free. Free to go out, free to stay in, free to wear shitty clothes, or super-sexy clothes 😉 …free to have ice cream for dinner if you want. Embrace this freedom. I think I had M&Ms as the main part of my food one luxurious evening 🙂 So what?! It didn’t kill me, and I didn’t have to tell anyone about it. (Oh, so please don’t tell anyone about that – okay?!)
- Check in with friends and family regularly. Obvious, but it sometimes gets overlooked if you’re feeling a bit down about being single. Don’t hide away all the time.
- Spend time on you. You don’t have anyone to spoil you. I don’t mean that as negatively as it sounds. What I mean is, spoil yourself. Take yourself to the movies… go for a spa day… buy yourself nice chocolates – whatever you want. You don’t need a partner, to be spoiled. You need to start looking after yourself. And this way, you can actually buy the gifts you want 😉
- Start saying that you’re single in a positive way. People will respond to whatever you give them. So if you say, “I’m single – sadly, haha!”, people will feel pity for you and try to set you up with someone, or feel bad for you (or smug that they’re not single and sad as well!). Whereas if you say, “I’m single – and really enjoying putting myself first right now!” or “I’m single… luckily!” (whatever feels right for you), it promotes positivity and people will want to encourage you. And this, of course, makes you feel happier, which not only makes you more attractive, but also means you’ll feel even better about being single… you get the idea?
- Allow yourself to be set up on dates – but only if you want to. Not ready for it yet? That’s okay. And it’s okay to warn your match-maker friend that you might not like the person they’re suggesting for you! They’re not allowed to get upset or offended if they think their husband’s best friend is the most charming and witty guy on the planet, and you think he’s arrogant and douchey 🙂 You’re the one that would have to spend time with him – so it’s your choice.
- Focus on the words you associate with being single. Does the word “single” conjure up images of a lonely, miserable person, eating dinner alone, or living with cats? For me, the word “single” encompasses: enjoyment, freedom, independence, self-love (not in the rude way – well, maybe in the rude way), importance, growing, capable, tough, moving, living, connecting. It doesn’t have to be a dismal picture in your head – unless you let it.
- Appreciate what you have. Listen to when your friends say things like “I’d love to do that, but I have to take the kids here…”, or “I’ll just have to ring Jeremy before I go for a drink”. I’m not knocking people in couples. I’m just saying focus on the positives in your situation. You don’t have to ring anyone to check if you can go out, you don’t have to visit people you don’t like (i.e. his family and friends), and you can stay out ’til 1 in the morning if you want – and you have no one to answer to! Start keeping an ear out for how lucky you are.
- Okay, this one’s a long one, but hear me out 🙂 Imagine you have a fairy godmother. She – unlike you – can predict the future. You are going to meet someone amazing three years from now. You won’t have many relationships until that point – a few dates/seeing people for short periods, but nothing long-term. But when you do meet this person, you’ll spend most of your time with him. You’ll settle down pretty quickly, and have kids quickly (if that’s your thing.) You won’t have much free time any more – if any. So these three years are the last three years you’ll have to yourself, before you are always part of a couple or family, with minimal time to spare.
So what are you going to do in those three years? Start planning. In detail. I mean it. Get a pen and paper, and start jotting some thoughts down. Keep brainstorming. What do you want to get done? Where do you want to go? What skills do you want to get under your belt? You only have three years! Close your eyes and think about this, genuinely. Write them down. For real. Study? Travel? Build?!
Got your list of ideas and things you want to do? Now you know what’s coming next… 🙂 Go and DO those things! No, I’m serious. You don’t know when you’ll next get a chance to do them, if you don’t do them now. Or at least start the process. Because it’s when you’re figuring out who you are, or pursuing your own life path, that you are the most sparkly and attractive – AND you’re more likely to meet people this way, as you’ll be getting out there and doing things (and more importantly, things that you enjoy).
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. But I want to travel round the world, and I want to do that with a partner! I don’t want to do it on my own!
So don’t. Team up with a friend, or join a group. Go with a member of family. Take a few trips with different people. What’s the point in waiting for a partner to come along to go travelling with (or do “X” with), if you don’t even know if he will like travelling? And who are you most likely to meet while you’re travelling? Other people who like to travel. People you’ll have stuff in common with.
So stop waiting for a mystery person to fulfil you, and start fulfilling your own life.
Love and hugs, from me 🙂
PS – I wrote this post from my perspective, as a straight female. But of course, it can be switched round depending on your situation. It just got too confusing to write him/her/them the whole way through.
PPS – Is there something you disagree with here? Anything else you would add? Let me know in the comments! Or forward the link to a friend who might be interested 🙂 Thanks.