06/28/2012 02:09 pm ET Updated Aug 28, 2012

Amiably 'Surviving' Singlehood

I think most people by now are aware of recent figures published by the U.S. Census and the Pew Institute about the growing number of singles in the U.S., so I won't belabor that point. Being single is "hot." Yet, when I hear a woman complain that she's miserable being single, I wonder what's really bugging her. Oh sure, like marriage, being single can be a challenge sometimes, but is it miserable? If everything else in your life is pretty good, I can't see how being single could be anything more than an occasional frustration.

Here's what I honestly believe: The woman who is miserable single will probably be pretty unhappy being married, too. To be miserable, there are likely other issues she's grappling with and it's just easier to blame her state on being single than it is to do the work she would need to do to get at the real problem.

But, ok, let's play along and pretend it really is the single thing that's got her so unhappy. Basically, if you have a sufficient number of robust relationships with others -- family, dear friends, friendly acquaintances -- being single can work out quite well. If you don't, being single can be lonely. Here's a few thoughts that should elevate a miserable single state to one that's a lot more livable:

Be Likeable. Being around people you enjoy and who enjoy you feels good. People should look forward to spending time with you. I know that one of the reasons I like my single status is because I have a great social life. I'm rarely lonely. I have an array of good friends and acquaintances and can usually find something to do and someone to do it with when I want. My married friends are as likely to include me as my single friends are because they like me and enjoy my company. I'm no Pollyanna or Suzy Sunshine; everybody doesn't like me, but enough people do, and that's all I need. That's all anybody needs.

Be Interesting. Contribute to the group. Don't be a drag to be around. And don't rely on others to entertain you. Everybody likes people who are smart, curious and have educated opinions -- emphasis on educated. Be quiet if you don't know what you're talking about. Interesting people are attractive people.

Be Yourself. Being comfortable with oneself is appealing to others. The first step to being yourself is knowing who you really are. Don't pretend to be someone you're not. People can sense when you're acting, even if they can't quite put their finger on it. It's not appealing. The real goal here is being comfortable in your own skin and being comfortable with others seeing you this way. No games... even if that's not your intention.

Be a Doer. As in, not a complainer. If you're miserable as a single person, there's probably something else in your life that you're not happy about as well. Figure out what it is and fix it.

I am confident that these strategies will ease the misery. Actually, this is good advice for everybody, isn't it... not just single folks. Happy living!