Appreciating being single can be as difficult as seeing the forest through the trees.
Sometimes it seems like it just can’t happen – especially when you consider yourself to be a “relationship person.” It almost feels like a part of you is missing, even though you know that’s absurd logic.
So, instead of beating yourself down for wanting a relationship, focus on taking advantage of the time you have by yourself so you can be 100 percent ready to roll when you do find your certain special human. Not only will you feel more confident about your current relationship status NOW, but you’ll also be better off LATER.
Here is what to focus on while being single so you can be the best version of yourself once you meet the right person for you:
1. Get in the habit of being selfish.
I said it. Get in the habit of putting yourself first now, because trust me, once a romantic interest comes along, that is going to go flying out the window.
I don’t want you to become some troll who is only out for herself, but I do want you to really focus on asking yourself, “What do I want?” first. When you are in a serious, committed relationship with someone, you have to ask not only what YOU want, but you also have to consider their opinions, desires, and needs. That’s what good relationships are built on. So when you are not in a relationship, take sweet, sweet advantage.
I want you to have a pulse on how you want your state of events to unravel. Instead of “going with the flow” or deferring action to others, take it upon yourself to cultivate some strong opinions. Get a sense of what you like and how you like it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
If you are already an opinionated missy, then own the fact that you don’t have to put a significant other’s feelings first! This is pure FREEDOM for you. Don’t restrain yourself – get used to speaking your voice and coming into your own. Because once you find somebody you truly love, you will want to soften your voice to let theirs be heard. It’s the considerate and natural thing to do. But for right now, go for it boss babe.
2. Develop personal hobbies
Other than the dreaded question, “Are you seeing anybody?” I would have to say the second most anxiety-provoking question is probably, “What do you like to do for fun?”
Ummm. Oh, shit. My life is SUPER boring.
What a buzz kill. It’s mildly humiliating when you don’t have a few go-to answers to this question at your monthly networking events, so now is the time to get going. Everyone needs some personal hobbies. Something to get that creative energy out. Mine happens to be writing (le duh). And writing is a rather solitary activity. It’s all mine. I don’t share the process with anybody, only the results. (This is mostly because editing my work is considered cruel and unusual punishment.)
So what do you like to do that’s all yours?
I want you to come up with a few personal hobbies that you can do all by yourself. It’s ok if the hobby might intrinsically be a social endeavor. For instance, I know a lot of film buffs who proudly say going to the movies is their favorite hobby. Now that is MY kind of hobby! Sitting in a dark theatre and eating popcorn while someone entertains me. None of this hiking bullshit. My favorite kind of people tend to coin this as their favorite hobby, as you can see why.
My only issue with it is when they refuse to go alone.
Have you ever been to a movie alone? It’s amazing. No one wants to sit next to you and no one whispers in your ear, “Oh my God look at Liam Hemsworth,” while drooling on your recently purchased faux cashmere sweater. Instead you get pure silence and pure focus. It’s a magical thing.
But robbing of yourself out of that blissful retreat simply because society deems it as a “social engagement”?
It is beyond me why humans believe that going to a movie should be a social engagement to begin with. Think about it! You just sit there and stare at a screen in silence. Talking to each other during the film is considered to be RUDE. You can literally get kicked out for trying to BE. SOCIAL. It makes zero sense to me. And how people consider that an ok first date is another ridiculous notion, but that’s for another time.
For right now, let me just say, please do not let being single dictate your hobbies. You are giving way too much power to a society that clearly has some massive flaws.
Point is you deserve to have an individual passion that requires permission from NOBODY to execute. And you will be much better for it when the time comes for you to invite somebody into the space with you. That is, if you want to.
3. Work on your friendships.
This is another negative side effect of relationships: they tend to put a little strain on friendships.
It’s not that your friends all suddenly hate you just because you got a significant other and it’s not because you will start hating your friends, either. It’s because your time will be cut in half.
It starts with the weekends. They’ll bring you to a wedding, you’ll bring them home to meet the parents, then there’s date nights and cuddle nights and Netflix nights… and then, dang. When are you supposed to hang with your friends? You’re still a regular at Bachelor Mondays and Wine Wednesdays, but things just don’t feel the same.
Before I continue, I just have to get this out there: You are NOT going to lose your friends. I repeat, just because you have a relationship does NOT mean you lose your friends.
You and your friends are going to be pulled apart in different directions even if you were all to stay single your entire lives.
People get jobs and promotions and must move as a result. They decide to go back to their hometowns to settle down. And yes, all of you have a high chance of meeting a special someone. And yes, a lot of you will create an insanely cute yet very time consuming family. Whether those are furbabies or human babies, the time is still stretched.
This doesn’t mean that the love you share with your friend group goes away, and it doesn’t mean the time you have together is any less special. But as you get older your schedule will probably get more crowded, so you have to make sure you are spending an inordinate amount of time sealing these friendships for life.
Trap those girls, you hear me? Trap ‘em good.
4. Focus on what you’d like to change.
Again, the amount of free time in your life is going to drastically change when you enter into a serious relationship. I don’t care how independent, feminist, or anti-love you are – that is what happens. You are going to be confronted with a person so perfect that you actually aren’t going to get sick of hanging out with them every single day! I know! It’s seriously crazy.
So in the meantime, get your accomplishment ducks in a row.
Look at your life right now and think about what you would like to change. Do you like your job? Have you been planning on going back to school? Are you ready to take that trip you always said you’d take? Now is the time. It is better to change your life before you start dating someone seriously, because when that happens, you will always want to take them into consideration.
And what about their dreams? Their desires? Their ambitions? What if one of you wants to move to LA while the other one of you is dead set on getting licensure in the state of Texas? THEN WHAT????
(I ache for my 25-year-old self.)
It’s hard, guys. It really is. You are a superstar and you are going to end up with a fellow superstar who also has an idea of how their life would like to turn out. Spoiler alert: those visions don’t always line up. This is why compromise exists. But my best advice to give you is to figure your goals out as early as possible while you have the freedom to do so.
Don’t wait for someone else to shape your life. Shape it yourself.
Take away: You are free right now. Free as a bird. As much as I know that might pain you, it is the best gift you could ask for right now at your age. You have the time you need to craft the life you want, and then when you meet the right person, it will feel that much better.
Not to like, find the one. Not yet. You still have to work to do. But don’t shy away from dating just to date.
Here is my take on dating: it is super intimidating, super nerve-racking, it can be incredibly awkward, and it is a necessity of life.
Think of it this way: you probably don’t like job interviews, but you also probably wanted a job. And it would have even been smart of you to go on job interviews when you didn’t even really want the job. Why? To practice. To get better at your interviewing skills so when a job you actually WANTED became available, you were ready. Game freaking on.
Same goes for dating. In fact, not only does “practice dating” help for the real deal, it also teaches you to become more selective. If you don’t date, then your dating pool is everybody. And if your dating pool is everybody, you are not going to find the right person for you. Trust me on that. You need to be selective with a capital S before you clear the bench. So go out on a few dates! Enjoy your freedom! Take some notes! See what you like!
And… more importantly, see what you DON’T like. Take this time to explore.
Getting frustrated with being single?
It’s totally normal. Just remember however that being single is a choice and a lot of times, it’s the best choice for you in the moment. The more you own your relationship status, the less insecure you will feel about it. If you are totally sick of feeling the way you do right now, my new book has lots of wisdom nuggets like this and many more. You can check it out here! And, if you want to come say hi to me and my fabulous group of female coaches, you can always swing by here. Plus, you can check out the original article.
Ok love bug. I truly hope you enjoy being single! It’s not forever ― but it’s certainly worth it. xx