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10 important things about being single we need to understand

1. THE IDEA THAT LIFE ISN’T ENJOYED UNTIL YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP IS ARCHAIC AND FALSE.

If you feel like you’re being held back somehow by not being in a relationship, chances are good it’s because you’re holding yourself back because you think you don’t measure up somewhere. Just because you don’t have someone to whisper sweet nothings in your ear doesn’t mean you don’t have love in your life.

2. THERE IS POWER IN BEING SINGLE.

It is a different power from the symbiotic power of a partner in crime — no better, and no worse. Saying that your single status is freedom is not to say that a relationship is a shackle, but rather an acknowledgement that you can use this time and this freedom to do what you want to do and go where you want to go.

3. IT’S NOT A MATTER OF YOU BEING UNWORTHY.

Wailing “What is wrong with me??!?” is a time-honored brunch tradition, but that is usually the wrong question to ask. A relationship is a two-way street, and if someone doesn’t like you or isn’t in a space to date, chances are good that it honestly has little to do with you, and more to do with wherethey are in their life, too. Double all of your baggage, all your demons and hang ups and fears and vulnerabilities, and you’ll have theirs, too. Take that into consideration; they don’t have to reveal these fears when they say they don’t want to date right now, but you should at least try to understand that there are some monsters lurking in closets that you’ll never learn, and they’re under no obligation to show you.

4. YOU’RE NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO BE HAPPIER WHEN YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP.

Really. Yes, a relationship can be a blissful thing full of love and laughter and common growth, but remember all that baggage that’s holding each of you back? Well, it’ll show itself frequently, and if you’re in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship, you’ll only wind up provoking each other. Sometimes a relationship can be a deflection and a distraction from the real work you need to do — after all, if you’re in a relationship, how bad off can you be? (This was rhetorical.)

5. BEING JEALOUS OF YOUR FRIENDS’ RELATIONSHIPS WILL GET YOU NOWHERE.

Nor will talking badly about them, or calling them codependent, or avoiding them because they only ever do things as a couple. Putting other people down just to elevate yourself in comparison doesn’t actually raise you up; it just brings them down to your level, and everyone’s miserable that way. Your friends may change and you might see less of them when they get into relationships, but that is their choice and their relationship. You don’t need to interject and tell them what they should or shouldn’t do.

6. HAVING YOUR SHIT TOGETHER DOESN’T EQUATE TO DESERVING A RELATIONSHIP.

Never in the history of ever has there existed a math equation that goes [you being awesome = somebody will automatically love you]. It’s great that you’re awesome, and that you know you are, but a great personality is not a series of check marks in an inspection that rewards you with a significant other if you tick off enough boxes. You can have a great personality, a killer smile, a sharp sense of humor, fabulous taste in movies, and be great around other people’s parents, and still be single. Revel in the fact that you’re an awesome person, with or without someone by your side. The more you take pride in that, the more people will notice and agree.

7. SOMETIMES BEING SINGLE IS A CHOICE, BUT SOMETIMES PEOPLE FORGET HOW TO NOT BE SINGLE, TOO.

You can go years of being single, of hooking up every now and again and never giving yourself to someone fully, and if you do this long enough, chances are good you might forget how. We like to say that when you meet the right person, you’ll know, and you’ll suddenly snap into this new version of Relationship You!, but human beings are creatures of habit, and it’s quite possible that you just don’t know how to act on these new feelings that are stirring up in you. Emotions are like bears, and can hibernate for a long time, but when it’s finally time to wake up, well, chances are good you’re emotionally constipated and need to remember how to get things moving again.

8. CHANGING SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE YOUR SINGLE STATUS.

No haircut, no diet, no new hobbies or favorite music artist is going to endear you to someone just because you suddenly, magically, totally coincidentally have the same taste in things as they do. No matter what, you’ll wind up resenting yourself and them for trying to pretend to be something you’re not. Use the time you have being single — and even if and when you’re finally in a relationship — to explore every nook and cranny of your personality, and celebrate what makes you, you. If you want to change something, then by all means, do, but do it from a kind and genuine place, because A) the change is more likely to stick, and B) people respond better to that positive energy flow.

9. SOMETIMES YOUR BEST ATTRIBUTES CAN BE YOUR WORST DOWNFALL.

It all depends on whoever is viewing them at any given time. If you’re a workaholic, you might think that makes you the most low-maintenance significant other ever, but someone else might want to only get involved with someone who has more time on their hands than you can offer. If you love to travel, someone else might be a homebody, and no matter how much you might like each other, that could be a deal breaker — for either of you. The person who appreciates what you appreciate about yourself won’t ask you to compromise about your strengths.

10. STOP SEEKING SOMEONE ELSE. START SEEKING YOURSELF.

You can swipe and message and subtweet and grab drinks with as many people as exist in your city, but the cliches about finding something when you’re least expecting it ring true for a reason. By all means, date and create online profiles — but also spend time with your friends and doing things that fulfill your own life, and let life just happen. Throwing all of your eggs in one basket is reckless and breeds desperate energy. But instead, if you begin doing the work to really seek out the things that fulfill you, you never know what you’ll find. A relationship, maybe, yes. But most importantly? Yourself. (And that’s a good thing, because the one between you and yourself is the longest relationship of your life anyway.)

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