If you didn’t read my Valentine’s Survival post, you might not know, but I’m the single one of the Live ClareLesley pair. Lesley has had her fair share of time being in the single’s pool–just go read her Duty Dating! But here I am, staring down the start of my 36th year, and I’m single. For New Years, one of my Goals was to give up dating. Valentine’s Day, I deleted all dating apps off of my phone. I decided, at this moment I can’t be bothered with them anymore. I haven’t stopped dating, I just don’t want to deal with anyone hiding behind their phone or computer any longer–and lets face it, I was tired of having fake relationships with people I don’t even know, through a device.
There are many moments that I wish I had a plus one, but really, I’m in those lovely in-between years where everyone is having kids, and weddings are much less frequent. So needing a date is not a requirement (not that anyone needs a plus one at a wedding–it’s just preferred). I’ve become a whiz at how to handle singledom. I live. I thrive. I’m happy! I don’t understand why so many people hate and dread it. Being single is a great thing! (A lot of friends in couples say to me that they sometimes wish they were single again because they envy the freedom or alone time or whatever.) Yes, there isn’t a built in conversation partner in singledom, but hey, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one to be had! Scroll through your phone or email list right now–I’ll bet you that there are at least five people that you have great conversations with that you haven’t talked to in a while. Why not hit them up for a conversation, a glass of wine, a movie, an art show?
Being single isn’t being alone. That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it. It doesn’t mean that you’ll end up lonely and alone. Those are all choices! You can choose how you want to spend your days.
I’m not going to tell you that I’m always blissfully happy. Sometimes I have a case of the “mean reds” as Holly Golightly calls them. Most days are pretty great. I get to choose all aspects of my day like what to have for dinner, and if I can take a gig on my own (which is sometimes, but rarely annoying). I don’t have to be home at a specific time, but I don’t have someone to greet me when I get there either… well, my roommate is pretty awesome, but she’s not always home. I have plenty of great relationships in my life. But whether its a romantic one of platonic one, relationships do take work and time–whatever you want to get out of one, you have to put in. People are busy, so reach out early and often!
Here are some tips on how to thrive as a single:
1) Go out and do things. Yes it sounds simple, and not so simple all at the same time. Join book clubs, meetups, sports teams, take music lessons or dance classes, join a choir or theater group. What is it that you most want to do, or always wish you did, or do when you’re on vacation? Start there and find a group to join!
2) Do things with friends! If you want to go to the movies, the theater, art museums, concerts, out to eat, out for drinks–anything that you might do with a date–do with a friend! Set up a weekly date or monthly date with the same, or with different friends. Maybe even treat this time and they can treat the next (I LOVE this one because it feels like a date)! Different friends will like different activities, and maybe will even introduce you to new things (and maybe even, wink wink, new people)!
3) Do things on your own! If you want to go to the movies, the theater, art museums, concerts, out to eat, out for drinks–anything that you might do with a date–do by yourself! You never know who you’ll meet, and you’ll find that you enjoy doing things on your own. About the only thing I won’t do by myself is going out to dinner (and that is just because I’m not big on sitting at a table by myself). I love going to the movies and the theater and even taking a picnic lunch on my own–its fun to people watch, and to see something and have something that is completely mine. Often if I want to discuss it, I have friends and my parents who are always willing to hear about my adventures afterwards.
4) Find a mantra for yourself when you start to feel lonely, or pathetic, or sad. For instance tell yourself that you are amazing and surround yourself with a great life. Say it over and over. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Put happy thoughts on sticky notes and place them around the house for yourself to see. Remind yourself that there is good in the world, and that you are good! Think of the happy thoughts or the mantra whenever you start to feel down–stave away the sadness!
5) Keep being social. Whatever this means to you–keep pursuing the avenues that will put you out in the world. If you want to stay up on dating sites and apps, go for it! If you want to have a night out with friends and go to bars or parties or gatherings and meet people and possible dates, do so! You will only date if you keep looking. Personally, I take sabbaticals from dating. I will be active for a few months and then take a couple of months off and focus on me–usually, I’m busy doing projects and shows anyway! To be bluntly honest, dating drives me crazy. So much rejection happens before you find a good one. That’s a LOT of negativity, even for my Pollyanna optimism. Vacations from anything are good for the soul. Go focus on yourself or friendships for a month or two, and then dive back in, refreshed.
6) Remember that all the love you need is coming at you at any given moment. It might not be from the exact direction and in the large amount from one person you are looking for, but it is surrounding you. Your parents, friends, relatives, co-workers all want you to be happy and loved. And love begets love: so go out and give love to friends, relatives, the homeless, animals, through a mentor program, etc! You’ll most likely get more love in return!
7) Also remember that everyone feels lonely and alone some days–even those with people sleeping next to them. No one’s situation is continually perfect. There are ups and downs of coupledom and singledom no matter who you are. Its funny in a society that continually allows us to connect, we have put up the biggest walls. Get out and go meet up with people face to face. Or even just take a walk or a drive that is different from your norm–changing up your routine is a great jumpstart to happiness. Being with some one is great, but its also nice to have a little quiet.
8) Get friendly with the quiet times. You have to be able to live in moments of silence. I’ve found that I love and treasure them. They are haaaaarrrrrd at the beginning, but they do get easier. Find a quiet thing for yourself to do. I’m a big fan of journaling. Also lists help you take control. Maybe yours is knitting, reading magazines, playing a game, working on a puzzle, writing, golfing, swimming, rock climbing. Whatever it is, make time for it and yourself. Be aware of your thoughts.
9) Speaking of which: Be aware of your thoughts. Let them run their course. If you cannot deal with them at this moment, don’t ignore them; instead tell the thought you don’t have time right now and you’ll get back to it. I had a teacher in college that said, “you have to acknowledge the elephant in the room before moving on, otherwise all anyone will notice is the elephant in the room.” Tell the thought you will get back to it. Think through it when the time comes. Breathe a lot. Love yourself.
Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you. When you are truly a whole and complete person within, you will stumble into the right romantic situation. Focus on being the best you. Be a full and complete person. Be the best you, you can be and live life. To quote Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come. Even if they don’t, you now know how to be awesome at being single. And always, Live ClareLesley.
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