A couple of weeks ago I blogged about why I love being single. It was a weird one to write, because like so many of my blogs, I am completely oblivious to the fact that not everybody feels the same way. I assumed that everybody reaches the same conclusions after a while and it was only last year I realised actually, no, a lot of friends of mine are not single through choice and really struggle with being single. They analyse obsessively over how dates have gone, if they’ll ever find somebody, when they’ll get a message back or when they’ll find “the one”.
I left that thinking behind a long time ago and presumed that after a while all of us humans reach the same conclusions; it’s great being alone, friends are the best, dates are a fun hobby, etc. I’ve been kind of shocked to find people are spending a lot of time and energy, or worse, feeling negative, about something which I find pretty frivolous. Being single is not a fight, a trauma or a case of getting back “out there” into “the fray”. It’s a state of freedom, of fun, of flux and of putting yourself first. Here are my tips for not descending into “but what does this MEAN” territory and crying alone into a Dominos for one.
Ignore The Rules
The “rules” are totally f*cked and nobody is paying attention anymore. Seriously, if you’re sat at home going “I slept with them on the first date!! It’s ruined!” or “It’s been two months, are we going out now?” then stop, it’s not the way forward. Sleep with them when you want, text them when you want, sack it off when you want, see who you want, try stuff out, do literally what you want. You are in charge. The ONLY rule is use protection. Apart from that, there are literally no rules. For further info, I refer you to my post on the “rules” of dating (spoiler: they don’t exist).
What Are You Trying To Prove
There is still, in some circles, the nagging idea that if you are not in a relationship, you are somehow not worthy or valid enough of a person to deserve one. That is NOT TRUE. YOU CAN BE A COMPLETELY WORTHY, WHOLE, FANTASTIC PERSON all on your own. Please remember that. Trying to find somebody so you’re not the only single person in your friend group, so you’re “complete”, so you have someone to take to the family, so you don’t have to feel redundant and past your sell-by date, or any other reason, is not the right mindset to be single with.
You know who stops you being lonely? FRIENDS. ALL OF THE FRIENDS. Watch a film with your housemates, Skype somebody, plan a dinner date with a pal, hit up the group chat, tweet your blogging besties, meet your colleagues for a pint. Whatever you do, do it with friends. You do not need a love interest to combat your loneliness – you just need a pal.
Live Your Life For You
I think a lot of my friends are so eager to be in a relationship because they are lacking something else; a fulfilling career, an far-off fantasy dream, a goal to work towards. People go on about finding their calling and their passion, but it doesn’t need to be a life or death thing. Furthermore, you won’t find your ultimate ambition in A PERSON. Join a class, find a new interest, learn a language, cook, spend 5 hours on Pinterest. Whatever. If it makes you happy then do it, and if there’s nothing that makes you happy, try things out until you find something. Don’t misplace your inner yearnings onto finding a relationship.
Talk To People
Talk to people in bars, in clubs, at gigs, at parties, on Tinder, on twitter, on the tube, on the train. If you like the look of somebody, just talk to them and tell them. Sure, 9 times out of 10 they’ll have a bae at home – but it takes 30 seconds to say hello, so the 1 time out of 10 they say “cool, fancy a drink?” is totally worth it. “Where are all the normal ones?!” we wail – mate, they’re out there waiting for you talk to them. Quids in.
I also think a lot of people are eager to be in a relationship because they need somebody to love them. They have not yet learned how to love themselves: they imagine themselves to be unattractive, awkward, a lesser specimen. We have been brainwashed by movies to think tragically broken people can be magically saved by the love of an emotionally-attuned, sensitive and thoughtful stranger who will nurse our terrible flaws into adorable quirks. THIS IS CRAP. The only person who can save you is yourself – if you don’t love yourself and appreciate your own quirks, flaws, mistakes, strengths and weaknesses, then why should anyone else bother? As soon as you do, you’ll realise there’s almost nobody good enough for you out there and the solution is to stay single. (YAY).
What I really mean here is: stop caring so much and laugh it off. I rarely get hung up on guys (my chosen tackle), often call things off unceremoniously and have a pretty high “bounce back” rate from rejection. Somebody I fancy doesn’t like me back? Whatever. Awkward date last night? Hilarious story to pass on to my mates. Terrible sex after initially promising dates? LOL I’ll be regaling this one in pubs across the land for years to come. Don’t define yourself by the experience. Find the humour instead of feeling humiliated.
Dates Are Not A Personality Test
At best, they are a personality compatibility test – do you and the other person get on? Too many people act like a date is an audition and they need to impress the hell out of the other person. Just be open and honest and yourself; nobody’s going to fall for an act. A date is just an opportunity to have a nice time and do something fun; if the person with you enhances that, great and if not; have a nice time anyway and pick somebody else for the next time. Or sack it off and go home. No big deal. If you don’t get on it is NOT because you’re weird, awkward, unloveable, screwed up or any other reason. You just didn’t get on. Whatever. Park it and on with the next date!
An Ex Is Not The Past, Not The Present
The ex. They have a successful job, owns their own flat, are an impeccable dresser, have an instafeed of stunning pictures, runs an orphanage in their spare time and rides a pet unicorn. But their crucial downside is not being you. And maybe somebody else will recognise that – but just in case, you’d better recognise that first. Don’t constantly go back to your exes or even more foolishly, other peoples exes, and try to mine them for reasons to hate yourself. And definitely don’t compare yourself to people who have absolutely no place in your life.
Look After Yourself
This one is crucial; tell your housemates what time you’ll be back, don’t get horrifically drunk miles from home, use protection, LOOK AFTER YOURSELF. Make sure you check in with yourself and just be your own best friend for a bit. Being single is fun and exciting but don’t get led astray or exhaust yourself; or worse. Let me tell you now, inviting 4 separate dates to the same gig is NOT a goer (sorry lads), and seeing 3 people you really like on consecutive nights is a shortcut to Confusion Alley. Cut yourself a break when you need one.
I could rattle on for ages about how to have a good time being single but I think that basically covers it. Any questions or need for clarification then let me know. Go get ’em, tigers. X
This is part of my “LEIA: Laila Explains It All” series on dating, life, advice and relationships which quite a lot of you have asked about! I hope you’re enjoying it so far. x
A photo posted by Laila Layla (@lailapictures) on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:29am PST