So, I get asked if I have a boyfriend all the time. Most family dinners don’t go by without a relationship quiz of some sort. If it’s not coming from my aunts and uncles, it’s my boss, my friends or my dentist. And with Christmas just around the corner, the expectation only intensifies.
But what bothers me is not that I’m single. It is the nuance behind this constant question. It suggests that my value is attached to whether or not I’m with someone.
I see so many people, from high school into their twenties, gripped with the fear of being alone. They feel pressure from those around them – either real or imagined – to be in a relationship. Movies and books are no more helpful. Finding the “perfect someone” seems to be the end goal of nearly every chick flick.
It’s that anxiety that drives online dating sights, blind dates and countless bad relationships. Often, we are so afraid of the judgement that accompanies being single that we’ll settle for just about anyone to avoid the label. Maybe it’s time to try something new.
I am 20 years old, and I’ve never been in a relationship. I’ve gone on dates, sure, but I’m not interested in being in a relationship merely for the sake of it. And despite the negativity that our society attributes with being alone, it can actually be pretty fun and liberating.
Here are my top five perks of being single, based from my own experience, and the insight I’ve gleaned from other single students.
- When you’re single, there’s no risk of relying on a boyfriend or girlfriend for your of sense of self-worth. Even if you found someone who continually encouraged you, letting their idea of who you are define how you think about yourself is dangerous. Their opinion of you could still change, or the relationship could fall apart. It’s better to have your self-worth validated by the people who you know aren’t going away – whether that is your best friend or a family member.
- You’re independent. You can grow as a person without being inhibited by trying to conform to someone else’s ideas of how you should be. If you are confident and happy with yourself and have had space to figure out what you want, you’ll be in a much better position to get into a relationship later. Let’s face it, if your happiness depends on whether or not you are in a relationship, your life will be a rough roller coaster ride. You can’t always be in a relationship, and when you are, the experience isn’t always smooth sailing.
- Speaking of happiness, being single gives you a time and place to enjoy the other things in your life. Don’t waste this time by devoting all your energy towards finding someone – you’ll just be miserable if you don’t succeed. Yes, a relationship may bring a different form of happiness, but having no relationship is better than being in the wrong one. What is the point of settling for someone you have to convince yourself you like, just for the sake of escaping being single?
- You get to seize all kinds of opportunities while you’re free and unattached. If your goal is to find the perfect someone and make them fall in love with you, you’ll very likely wind up disappointed and hurt, because no human being is perfect. But if you live your life, looking for breaks and pursuing other interests, you eventually come to the attention of someone who sees that you have other skills besides being having a good Tinder profile.
- If you’re cool with being single you will value yourself enough to wait for someone who is worth fighting for. Confidence is attractive. And being a bit selective means that people who don’t care enough will fall off the radar, and the one who is worth it will stick around.
I guess all I’m saying is, don’t buy into the lie that says you need to be in a relationship to be happy. If you’re single, stand tall, be proud and enjoy it while it lasts.