A lot of articles aimed at single women seek to show them how to snag a partner. That’s great (albeit, most of it’s completely ridiculous) but what are you supposed to do in the meantime? Rather than sit and wait for another person to start your life…do it yourself.
Based on my own experience, here’s a rough guideline that I try to follow:
1. Do things alone.
This sounds obvious, I know, but a lot of people are afraid to do things by themselves. Go to the movies. Have a meal. Go shopping. It’s going to be okay…I promise, you will survive.
2. Don’t be cynical.
This one is hard because there are times that feel hopeless. There are times when you will be disappointed. There are times when you will feel lonely. Don’t lose hope — don’t create a self-fulfilling prophecy that you don’t want to become true.
3. Travel alone.
It’s weird…at first. But once the weirdness washes away, it becomes a freedom you don’t often have. You get to be on your own schedule and have the chance to spend as much time as you want doing whatever it is that you want to do — all while being in a new place. Explore! Create an adventure!
4. Develop self-awareness.
I’m naturally a big proponent of therapy (you can take the girl out of psychology but you can’t take the psychology out of the girl) so use it to figure out what you want. What are your dreams, goals, desires, setbacks? Explore the little nervous things you do and why you do them (I admit, I will keep talking and say too much because I’m otherwise afraid to let myself be vulnerable with another person — but I’m aware of it and I’m working on it). Explore all of it in a safe place. Who are you and what do you need to feel complete? You cannot expect that to come from another person — that’s all on you. Own it.
5. Foster other relationships.
Family and friends are there through it all. Relationships naturally ebb and flow over time so enjoy the time you have. Offer your undivided attention to others when you are with them (which is a good rule in general — single or otherwise).
6. Learn to feel.
This is another obvious one, and it goes along with #4, but it’s very necessary too. Don’t let feelings build up. Are you disappointed, angry, sad, jealous, or excited? Whatever it is, acknowledge it. Decide what it means and what you’re going to do with this knowledge. Is it a hopelessly single night? Do you want to cry about it? Do it. It’s okay and you’ll likely feel better afterwards.
7. Meet new people.
I am admittedly awful at this. Meet people without the intention of meeting a potential partner too. Just talk to different people; see what others have to say, and step outside of your comfort zone. Drop the self-consciousness and present your honest self (I’m always working on this part).
8. Be honest with yourself.
Did you meet someone you really liked? Did you just accidentally like a Facebook photo from 2007 while you were snooping? Yeah, these things happen — and they will always feel embarrassing. You can either play games with yourself or you can be honest — it’s your move. What do you have to lose if you tell someone you’re interested in them? Wouldn’t you like to hear it? Yes, it’s terrifying, but it’s better than hoping they’ll eventually realize that you’re interested and decide to make the first move him or herself. It can be terribly embarrassing and you may feel entirely silly but if it’s genuine to you — say it. Drop the games, you’re an adult. Be brave!
You should also extend this honesty to online dating. And relationships in general, too. Practice. It will help strengthen your other relationships and further your own self-awareness.
9. Be weird.
On purpose. Do something you wouldn’t normally do — like karaoke (extra points if you do it while sober. Again, I promise you’ll survive — if I can do it, so can you). Be weird, but be safe.
10. Make mistakes.
Live your life, regardless of whether or not you are part of a couple. You will undoubtedly screw up at times, but it’s okay to live your life for you. You shouldn’t have to wait for another person to be able to make moves. Take yourself out on Valentine’s Day or go out for drinks with friends just because. Try out something new. If it doesn’t work out, it’s still an experience to learn from!
This is advice I’d promote to anyone, anywhere, but I’ve found it’s particularly helpful those who are single. Don’t be afraid to be single. Use the time to develop yourself into the type of person you want to be. Learn who you are without relying on another person to complete you. And learn how to be alone with yourself. Because if you can’t stand to be alone with yourself, why should someone else be expected to?