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The Single Life, Part One
by Horsefeathers. February 7th 2014, 07:36 AM

The Single Life, Part One
By Dave (dr2005) and Katrina

As one enters adolescence, the pressures of being in a relationship are intensified, perhaps by the social networking relationship statuses open for the public to see, or the tendency to feel as though all of one’s friends are in relationships. As we’ve all seen in the movies, teenaged relationships can grow into marriages of “high school sweethearts,” and others still can turn into long term relationships stretching into the twenties. However, there’s an entirely different lifestyle that many seem to have an odd negative stigma against: living the single life! Here, we discuss the “ups” of being single along with several tips on living the single life to the fullest. We also debunk several of the negative stigmas associated with not being in a relationship and finish up with each of our own responses to some frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

Positive Aspects of Being Single; Learning to Love the Benefits

One of the first steps to becoming content with being single is to consider the many benefits that come with not being in a relationship. Being “footloose and fancy-free” is something which, far from being viewed as a reflection on a person’s prospect, is a real opportunity to take stock of who you are as a person as well as enjoy being unattached. Healthy relationships of any kind are best supported by the person being comfortable in their own skin, and time spent on yourself can boost self-esteem and self-image which in turn can lead to more fulfilling future relationships. As such, think of being single not as a spell in Purgatory but instead as a chance to look after yourself. As a single person you can also go on dates, flirt and attract attention, go to parties and generally go out with whoever you want to - or you can do none of the above and spend time doing things you enjoy or just putting yourself first without having to worry about what your partner may or may not think of it. Some people will actually be quite envious of that, believe it or not.

Now, once you have considered the positive aspects of singularity, utilize these as you learn to be content with being single. Just because you are not in a relationship at this specific moment in time, it doesn’t mean you’ve been left “on the shelf”, “over the hill”, “unlovable” or any number of clichés. A lot of people are actually single through choice, either because they cannot commit to a relationship due to other demands or because they prefer being single and the freedoms that come with it. Being in a relationship, of course, does have many benefits, but on the flipside it can be restrictive in ways as well – as a singleton, by contrast, the only restriction on you is yourself. That can be quite an appealing prospect in itself. Leaving that aside, while being single means you do not have a significant other in your life, it does mean you can spend your time with friends and/or family and on other activities you may not have had chance to otherwise.

Living It Up

In a time in which it seems like almost every article concerning relationships and dating addresses fun date ideas for couples or how to maintain a healthy romance with your significant others, we’d like to take the opposite route and give a few tips on how to find fulfilment in outlets other than a relationship.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, define yourself or your life on the basis of “being single”. This is an easy trap to fall into and can colour your thought process and outlook on life, as well as raising concerns in others about you. When you introduce yourself or describe yourself to others, begin to frame your description not around the fact that you are single, but instead around those really great traits we know you have! For example, an introduction of “Hey! I’m Katrina; I’m a nineteen-year-old Family Studies major, and I absolutely love to dance” is probably a bit healthier than “Hey! I’m Katrina – I’m single and totally cool with it!” First impressions do count, and not only are you portraying yourself as someone who is completely overly concerned about his or her singularity, but you’re also trapping yourself in your own method of thinking of yourself in this way. How we come across to other people is a pivotal part of all relationships, which leads nicely into the next point.

Do NOT judge yourself by comparison with your friends in relationships. Judging yourself by comparison with your friends is always a bad move because of the very nature of the thought process it breeds. It can be difficult if you are in a group of friends where everyone else is in relationships, but it should not be taken as a reflection on yourself and again you should not define yourself as “their single friend”. You are their friend, end of story, and your relationship status does not and should not come into it. Just as you may be single and they in relationships, so it can swap around quite easily. You can also provide a means for your friends to get time away from their boyfriends/girlfriends, which can be good for them as well once in a while. That said, you should be wary of letting yourself be steered into a position where you DO become “their single friend” and attempts to change this are warded off – it is your life and not theirs. All we’re saying is don’t dwell on other people’s relationships but enjoy being you and your life.

Don’t be afraid of showing off and having fun. You’re young, free and single – why not make the most of it? That’s not to say reckless abandon is the way forward, and at all times your safety and wellbeing are paramount, but provided you do so there are any number of possibilities open to you. Feel free to strut your stuff, go out on the town, talk to people (and flirt if you like) and generally be as open and outgoing as you like. Being single doesn’t come with the obligation that you shut yourself away in a darkened room and hide from the world – within limits, you should feel able to go out and have a good time. On top of this, don’t feel as though you have to race through singledom and get a boyfriend or girlfriend as soon as possible – it isn’t healthy and being able to enjoy things for their own merits and not because your significant other does is an important part of life.

Demystifying Those Pesky “Single” Myths

You’ve heard ‘em, and we’ve heard ‘em too. Are they begun by people in relationships? Quite possibly (and on that note, were we not all single at one point in our lives?). Are these started by singles who just haven’t quite grasped the concept of being content with being single? Yet another possibility. For the purpose of this article as well as the target audience, we focus specifically on debunking two of the most common misconceptions that may be held by singles themselves.

Myth #1: “If I’m single now, I’m going to be single forever.” To be completely honest, taking this mindset is detrimental for an entirely new set of reasons! If you take that mindset, chances are you will be because your lack of confidence will be like a warning claxon to any would-be partners. Confidence is a key part of attraction, and is at its most convincing when it comes from within rather than being an act, so treating singledom as a millstone around your neck will sap away the effect. You should also avoid, at all costs, attempts to deal with your single status by lowering your standards or going off with anyone you can – that can end up becoming self-destructive and make you feel worse about things. Everyone has lean patches, but the key to getting through them is not to dwell on them and instead to focus on the plus points, of which hopefully we have shown there are a lot. Relationships can and will follow in due course.

Myth #2:” If I’m single, it must be because I’m not ‘good enough’ to be someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend.” As previously mentioned, confidence is going to either be your biggest enemy or your best friend in approaching the reasons why you may feel as though you’re single. Rather than focusing on these issues, stop using relationships as a barometer for your attractiveness/prospects altogether. Whether or not you are in a relationship has nothing to do with whether you are good boyfriend/girlfriend material, or whether you’re “good enough” to be in a relationship. Don’t believe us? Take a look around you! George Clooney, to name but one, was famously single for a long time, and stars such as Rihanna, Hugh Grant and Keira Knightley are also single despite being highly eligible. Being single has nothing to do with your eligibility level, and allowing it to shape your self perception can be poisonous!
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