There is a definite ebb and flow to romance and dating. Certain times of the year, all my friends are single; other times they are all tied down for the time being. Relationships are so in our face on social media from Thanksgiving all the way through February. They call it engagement season; I have my own words that I use to describe it. It is enough to make your head spin.
In recent months, I was noticing that a lot of my friends were breaking up and becoming single again. Their language indicated to me that their singularity was considered to be the purgatory of relationship statuses. They are stuck between the hell of their past relationship, and the heaven that they think their next relationship will be. They sit at home, they sulk, and they compare their life choices to their friends who are engaged, married, having kids. All they want to do is get into another relationship and stop feeling lonely.
Apart from the few very short stints of “dating someone,” I have been largely single for three years. Some may think that this is a good thing, some may think that it is bad, but in those three years, I would like to think I have perfected the art of being single… If there is one. I have compiled a list of ways that you too can perfect this art. Nowhere on this list am I going to tell you to download Tinder and spread your wild oats. Getting under someone to get over someone usually leads to feeling more loneliness than you originally felt. The list for a positive single experience is as follows.
Learn that being alone does not mean you are lonely: As I stated before, people oftentimes look at single life just as the waiting room of life. Why?! You can live in the moment. If you feel like staying in with a book or Netflix, great. Going out with the guys, great. Working out, great! Are you getting it yet? Learn that a quiet night in doesn’t mean that you are alone. If you feel alone, surround yourself with as many friends as you want. You get to choose to keep your circle large or small.
Revel in your singularity: This is more of a strategy that is important in the first few months of being single. Repeat after me: “If I weren’t single, I wouldn’t be able to (fill in the blank).”
This phrase can be used for so many things: watching action movies, hut trips, spontaneous vacations, staying out until bar close, sleeping in and not getting brunch on a Sunday, or any hobby or passion that you may have neglected in the time of your relationship.
Make the absolute most of your guy time: We have all been guilty of this, of neglecting our other relationships when a new woman comes into our life. Oftentimes, it burns so fast that we wind up playing house for the first year or so and wake up from a girlfriend coma wondering what the hell happened. I don’t want to diminish responsibilities that men have to their wives, serious girlfriends, or kids (and obviously those responsibilities will trump dollar shots at your old college dive bar). I believe that when a guy is single, he should cherish his time with the guys and spend as much time as possible with them. I think women are starting to get keen on how important it is for a guy to have his own friends. A man needs a group of other men he enjoys hanging out with. You can tell a lot about a guy by how he treats his guy friends. A man with no close guy friends is a lone wolf that has been kicked out of his pack.
Learn to speak to women without an “end game”: This absolutely drives me crazy. Oftentimes it seems men will only talk with women that they have an end goal with. They are very obvious about the fact that they are flirting; quite honestly because they are unable to relate to women anymore without wanting to take them home. What is the problem with talking and relating to someone you aren’t going to sleep with? Women are also becoming more aware of this and completely avoid men who want to treat them like a piece of meat. Talking to a woman as a person and not the lady of the night is a skill that is entirely lacking among single men these days.
Delete social media from your phone: Social media has allowed us to become so much more connected, but it has also caused our self-esteem to take a hard nose dive. Social media has turned into a competition for approval of our peers. It also turns into a voyeuristic look into the lives of people that we really shouldn’t care this much about. We begin to compare ourselves and see someone else’s success as our own failure. I decided to delete my Facebook app from my phone for about a year. All of my friends were getting engaged and married, and I began to think that there was something wrong with me. It actually put me into a depression. I also found that by not having social media on my phone, I was living more in the moment and not taking pictures at social functions just to get the affirmation of my Internet friends.
Work on self-betterment: If you aren’t in a relationship, chances are you have a lot of time on your hands. Why not be productive with it? Oftentimes in relationships, men will get complacent and sedentary. Getting out of a relationship is a perfect opportunity to focus on yourself physically and mentally. Get a gym membership, pick up a new hobby, read more, learn something! Recently, I have started to learn to dance simply because I have always sucked at it and am extremely competitive. Side note: At most dance instruction nights, women will outnumber men so it is a great place to meet people.
Volunteer more: It has actually been shown that single people are more involved in their communities. They have more time to get out and volunteer. It is a way to feel great about yourself, and keep yourself out of the house. I know volunteering isn’t glamorous, and many of us find excuses not to, but just about any time I have gone out to volunteer, I have had a surprising amount of fun and met some amazing people.
Really, this list is simple. Being single is simple: Be enough for yourself, be happy, find adventure in it, find excuses to get out, meet as many people as you can, and live in the moment. It definitely takes a while to be happy to be single, but once you are, it will resonate in all parts of your life. It will also allow you to find exactly what you want in future relationships. .