Let’s be honest – being single is a double-edged sword.
Sometimes, it’s the best thing in the world. You get to flirt with anyone you want, you don’t have anyone to check in with before making plans with friends, and there are no arguments about what to put on Netflix or who needs to shower first. There’s no obligation to actually share that share pack of Cadbury’s Nibbles* and when it’s time for bed, you can starfish like your life depends on it and there’s no one to commandeer the covers in the middle of the night. Being single is fantastic.
But other times, it can feel like torture. You’re left to huddle up alone when all you want is a snuggle, and seeing other couples being cutesy on public transport makes you want to vomit into your stylish yet functional backpack. You imagine falling wildly in love with the bartender that made eye contact with you three whole times, but it turns out they were just looking at the clock on the wall behind you. Even though you have friends and family that love you, you’re lonely, and being single sucks.
Personally, I’ve been single for a year, and I spent the majority of 2016 flitting from wishing I was still with my ex to fixating on people I’d been on two dates with to convincing myself that I’d settle for just about anybody as long as it meant there was somebody to laugh at my shitty jokes and eat pizza with me. Basically, I was failing at living the single life. Badly. I was miserable and insecure and overwhelmed. Surely I’m not the only one, right?
I’ve decided that I don’t want 2017 to be the same as 2016, and I don’t want anybody who had a shitty 2016 to have a shitty 2017 either, so I thought I’d pull together a little list on how to be single in 2017.
Care For Yourself
First of all, I want to make it very clear that I do not subscribe to the shitty belief that tells people they have to love themselves first before anyone can love them, and I won’t apologise for calling this belief shitty because it is. It makes people who are insecure and people who have low self-worth believe that they are not deserving of love, and that’s bullshit. Everybody is deserving of love. I’ve had people love me when I’ve had nothing to love about myself, and it was their love for me that helped to make me stronger. So fuck that.
What I do subscribe to is not being too hard on yourself. Sometimes, when you’re single, it’s easy to dig yourself into a hole and it’s easy to end up believing that you’re worthless and that no one is ever going to love you, but that’s not true. When the going gets tough, remember to be gentle with yourself. It’s not your fault.
If You Want To Look, Look In The Right Places
I’m not going to tell you to ditch the dating apps and get out there because I’m not a fucking hypocrite. I made a big song and dance about deleting Tinder and hey, guess what? I’m right back on there again. But this time, I’m being strict. I once managed to rack up over 500 matches on Tinder, and I had maybe three genuine conversations. Don’t just swipe for the hell of it – don’t let it turn into a game. If you’re looking for someone then great, but make sure you’re actually looking for someone, you know?
Don’t just swipe because in one photo that’s kinda blurry and he’s wearing a fancy dress costume he looks kinda cute but in the other five, he’s nowhere near your type. I made a deal with myself that if I was going to be on Tinder, I was only allowed to swipe people that I would genuinely go on a date with, and if they didn’t message me first, I had to message them, and I ended up with seven matches that I was actually interested in speaking to. It might not sound like much, but it makes a big difference to your outlook.
Take It Slow
This might be all kinds of cliché, but love isn’t a race. Yeah, maybe all of your friends are in super cute and happy relationships and your cousin just got engaged and your sister just announced that she’s pregnant, but so what? There comes a time where you have to realise that their life isn’t your life, and you shouldn’t settle for somebody who doesn’t make your heart burst just because you’re panicking and you think you’re running out of time.
Wait for the big bucks, I promise you that it’s worth it.
Spread Your Love Around
When I became single, a lot of my sadness stemmed from the fact that I had experienced a different kind of love than I ever had before, and when the recipient of that love was no longer a part of my life, it had nowhere to go. My heart was filled with love and I felt like I had no one to give it to, but I was wrong. I had friends and family and coworkers and classmates – I just had to learn to turn my romantic love into something else.
So turn romantic dinners for two into taking boxes of chocolates over to your friend’s houses. Turned spontaneous weekend trips away into visits to your parents. Spread the love in a different way. The balloon of romance may have deflated, and it may have left you deflated too, but as soon as you patch it back up and started blowing a different kind of love back into it, you’ll felt better.
So, like, go and bake some brownies for your friends and tell your family how much you love them, okay?
* For the record, I’ve never shared a bag of Cadbury’s Nibbles in my life. Some days, they’re the only good thing that happens to me.