Being single comes in waves of loving being single and wishing you weren’t. I know because I spent the large majority of my own life single.
It rocks when you’re playing the field and feeling yourself, and it sucks when you’re lonely and insecure.
It’s not always going to be a perfect 50/50 split, but your time is pretty much torn between being content with your singlehood and being ready to find someone.
Whatever the case may be, there is a time — no matter who you are and how happy you are with being single — where you kind of don’t hate the idea of not being single anymore.
Obviously, if a boyfriend doesn’t just appear the minute you want one to, partially due to a lack of quality options, I can’t help you with that.
But what I can help you with is how to change things on your end. When I was single, there were some things I did, whether consciously or subconsciously, that kept me single.
Here’s a list of my mistakes, so you don’t make them:
Keeping your ex on a pedestal
I promise you, he wasn’t that great. No matter how awesome your mind has made him out to be, I promise he just wasn’t that great.
Once a relationship is over, it’s easy to idealize it and keep your ex on a pedestal that he didn’t rightfully belong on. But all that’s doing is preventing you from giving someone new a fair shot.
Accept the fact that there’s a reason things ended between you guys, and don’t even bother dating anyone else until you’ve done that.
Nothing’s ever going to happen for you if every guy you meet is measured against this fantastical version of your ex you’ve created in your mind.
Keeping your ex around in general
My parents stayed extremely close friends after they got divorced, and until recently, I thought that was normal.
Then, I got into a serious relationship, and I realized being close friends with your ex is just weird.
Sure, you guys can be friendly, but close friends who hang out all the time and talk all day, every day? Close friends who are essentially dating, minus the boning part?
That’s not only weird, but it’s a surefire way to push away anyone even thinking about dating you.
Playing it way too cool
This was another one of my textbook demises.
I LOVED TO PLAY IT COOL, so cool that my high school crush didn’t even know I had a crush on him until he asked my best friend to prom, and she had to tell him the news. So cool that I literally once physically ran away from a boy I liked because I realized I like him.
You get the picture. I played it cool.
My fear of rejection was so great that I would go out of my way to make sure anyone I had feelings for had no idea I liked them. The funny thing is, I still ended up getting rejected. The only difference was the guys who were rejecting me had no idea they were doing it.
Don’t be like me. Save yourself the trouble, and put yourself out there. Say how you’re feeling. TELL THE PERSON YOU LIKE THAT YOU LIKE THEM. I promise it won’t kill you.
Writing someone off because they don’t check all your boxes
So you just met a guy whom you’ve spent the past three hours talking to at the bar, laughing uncontrollably and maybe even crying at times. You are vibing with him more than you’ve ever vibed with anyone.
But… he’s short! Ah, he’s short, and you don’t date short guys!
I’m all for being picky. That’s fine. Don’t settle.
But also, don’t write someone perfectly good off just because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard you set for yourself in the past. You’re never going to meet someone who checks all of your boxes. Just focus on finding someone who makes you smile.
Mistaking every speed bump for the end of the road
Just because you had a fight, a disagreement or an off day, doesn’t mean it’s over.
Don’t write someone off the minute things go wrong because guess what? Things WILL go wrong in your relationship, no matter who it is you’re dating. You’re both human, and humans mess up all the time.
If you end things with every person you date as soon as something goes wrong, you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.
Plus, one of the best parts about being in love is that you CAN mess up, still knowing you can work it out and still be loved by the other person. Embrace that.
Constantly complaining about how single you are
Even if you’re only complaining about it to your girlfriends, your mom or yourself at night while you fall asleep, you’re still investing your energy in this. And negative energy like that has a way of really seeping into who you are. It becomes part of you.
So then, when you go on a date, all of those negative, insecure thoughts permeate through your skin, and it’s obvious you’re unhappy.
So instead of complaining, flip the script. Take some time to be happy with yourself, and then, you can be open to meeting new people.
Letting your best friends carefully draft each text you send him before it’s sent
I’m the queen of refusing to make a decision before I’ve consulted with at least 37 of my closest friends about it.
Almost every important text I sent to every boy I dated — up until my boyfriend now — was carefully read by at least three separate friends and put through at least 10 rounds of revisions before I was finally able to hit send on the perfect draft.
In retrospect, I honestly have no idea if this did anything to either better or worsen my game. But what I can tell you is, it diminished my trust in my own instincts. After a while, what I had to say just never seemed as good as what my friends were able to craft for me.
This is an issue because if you ever want anything real with anyone, you have to hope they’re in it because they like you — weird texts and all.
Refusing to go on dates sober
First dates can be awkward and frankly terrifying, so yeah, taking a shot (or five) to take the edge off always sounds enticing. BUT IT RUINS THE ENTIRE DATE EXPERIENCE.
That feeling you get of wanting to throw up before a first date is normal, but I promise, once you’re on the date, it’ll go away.
Sure, the date may not end up being a hit, but the way I see it, it’s a win-win. Either it’s a hit and you like each other, or it’s not and you have a funny story to tell your friends. Done. Easy.
All you do when you show up drunk is prove to your date he can’t take you seriously. Also, you prove to yourself you’re too weak to go on a date completely on your own.
Mistaking your fear of commitment for a bad gut feeling
There are bad gut feelings, and then, there’s fear. The two are not the same.
Gut feelings are meant to be followed, and fear is meant to be conquered. As a perpetually single person, the thought of falling in love or entering a real adult relationship can (and will) be scarier for you than it is for most people.
Don’t mistake that fear for a feeling that things won’t work out. You’ll never know the answer to that unless you take the plunge and try to commit.
Assuming it’s not going to work out from the get-go
Basically, what I’ve written here is a laundry list of all my issues with relationships as a single person. And, of all of them, this is probably the biggest one.
Because nothing had really worked out for me in the past, I assumed nothing was going to work out for me in the future.
To protect myself, I would keep a guard up and take extra note of every possible red flag. But all that ended up making me do was run away from tons of potentially great relationships.
When I met my current boyfriend, I decided to do something differently. I let myself hope that it would work out.
And you know what? It did.
So let yourself be hopeful that something good will happen for you and that you won’t be single forever. If it worked out for me, then I believe it’ll work out for you, too.