Mental Health Reflections

The Single Life

Originally posted 7th September 2016

I started planning this post months ago and for some reason had totally forgotten about it. I came across it again today which made me want to finish it and post it to find out whether it’s just me who thinks this, am I alone?

Well, to answer the question above yes – technically – I am single. I have been single for 23 years (aka my entire life) and therefore consider myself to be somewhat of an expert when it comes to ‘The Single Life’.

There are some good things about being single and some not so good things however, today we’re not going to discuss either of those. Today we’re going to discuss 6 things you should not say to someone who is single (especially if you’re in a relationship), not because it’s hurtful, but because it is very annoying.

#1 – “Oh you’re better off anyway”
This one always, without fail, will come from someone who is in fact in a relationship. I won’t lie, I know they’re trying to be nice but it comes off as condescending because if you honestly thought this you yourself would be single and chances are I’d be hearing you complain about it. It’s just lying, which we know, and quite insulting to the person you claim to love. Get off your high horse and stop feeling bad for me, because that’s where this advice is coming from – pity. Pity and awkwardness and that is just slightly insulting.

#2 – “You should put yourself out there”
What does that even mean? Because I feel like I’ve tried. Admittedly a drunk guy in a bar isn’t exactly what I’m looking for, I’ve tried dating sites without success, I go out and socialise – really, how much more can I ‘put myself out there’? The worst thing is that most people who say this will not offer any follow up suggestions, so really it’s no help at all.

#3 – “It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it”
… That is a total contradiction to the second one! Love hasn’t exactly done the best job of finding me so far; Maybe it got lost somewhere, perhaps it requires a map? All I know is that this is such frustrating advice because it basically just means you have to sit there and wait.. and wait.. and then wait some more.

#4 – “I can set you up with…”
Dear. God. No.
See, this one wouldn’t be terrible if your friends know what type of person you’re looking for, or are interested in personality wise etc. however, friends will usually try to set you up with another friend they know is single – this person could be too different or even too similar. Personally, I’m quite shy so would probably need someone to bring me out of my shell a bit (as one example), plus if it doesn’t work out – awkward!

If your friend really wants to set you up then give them a list of Do’s and Don’ts. It may take the romance out of it a little but it might make things less stressful.

#5 – “Aww” “Sorry”
No. No. No. And uh, ohh yeah, no.
Honestly, are you kidding me? If I tell you I am single do not say “Aww” or “Sorry”.
a) there are people who choose to be single
b) we do not want or need your pity
When did it become seen as bad to be single? Being single can sometimes be lonely, sure. But so can being in a relationship you only entered because you’re lonely, and I can imagine that being even worse.
Basically it’s part of life and something everyone has or everyone will experience at some point in their lives. So what’s the point in feeling sorry for us?

#6 – “When are you going to get a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or my personal favourite “Why are you still single?”
In answer to your first question, partners are not like a pair of jeans. You can’t just walk into town and pick one up half price from River Island. If you ask that question all that person is thinking is “How the heck should I know?” .. Hang on, let me go get my crystal ball!

In answer to your second question, for people who choose to be single they could just explain that, for those of us who are single and don’t mind or even those who are single and want to be in a relationship – what do you want us to say at this moment? Would you like us to sit here and list every flaw? Are you expecting a detailed history of ex’s? What is the appropriate answer to this question??

The problem is sometimes it feels as if people who are in relationships think they are experts. Which they might be in their own love life, but thats all. 

They forget that there are actually some really great things that come out of not being in a relationship, and that’s why the above can sometimes be so frustrating.

#1 – We can be single

Do you know that there are people who jump from one relationship to the next without pause? Now part of me wants to know how in the heck they do it, but the other wants to know why. Is it out of fear of being alone, or something else? It’s rare for these people not to be in a relationship whereas we are perfectly comfortable being on our own and we don’t ‘need’ people. That way when the time comes that we find someone to spend the rest of our lives with it’ll be our choice.

Plus we can enjoy our own company! I have no issues going to the cinema, for a drink, lunch etc. on my own but it’s quite incredible how many people are surprised when you tell them you do it often.

#2 – The money we earn is ours / We only have to pay for one person

OK, I know this one is selfish but it’s true! If you’re single you only have to pay for one – which is great! Because it feels like a selfish one I won’t spend too much time on it but it’s there and it’s a good one.

#3 – Knowing Ourselves

Chances are because we’ve spent time on our own we know who we are and what we want out of life, this is our own choice and not influenced by partners.

#4 – Knowing What We Want

Similar to number 3 because we have more of an idea of who we are and what we want out of life we know we want a partner who will share the same values, beliefs and someone who is supporting of what we want out of life and someone who wants the same things.

#5 – Socialising

This is an awkward one but sometimes when people enter into relationships, they forget about their friendships.
This can extend into your friend not being seen without their partner. Very sweet, but I imagine also quite frustrating.
Being on your own you get to see all these things happen, and understand what it’s like to be on the other side of it.

In Conclusion:

The thing is with friends I have no issues talking about relationships or being single. But with people you don’t know or haven’t seen in a while, it’s an odd sensation. For someone to assume you’re unhappy, or somehow incomplete, my question is why?

To those who still don’t get the message, here it is: Don’t feel sorry for people who are single. Life is a journey, we all take it at our own pace and make our own choices. You may not make that choice yourself, but that doesn’t make them wrong in any way shape or form. It just means it’s different, and that’s the great thing about life.

Here’s a bonus for all of us singletons out there:

#6 The Best Is Yet To Come

Think about it, if you’re single – whether you have or haven’t been in a relationship – you haven’t met them yet. The story hasn’t been written. Don’t be impatient because otherwise you might miss it. The first time you meet, the butterflies and excitement and getting to know someone new, the first date, first kiss. It’s something you have yet to experience with the person you end up spending the rest of your life with, and isn’t that exciting?

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