Where Have All The Single People Gone?

It changes so quickly. You remember a time not too long ago when you still invited your friends over on a Saturday afternoon to relax on your couch and watch TV, and then went out to the bars like a united army, protecting each other from sleazeballs, and laughing all the way home together. If one of your friends happened to be in a relationship, you expected to always come first because chances are it wasn’t that serious anyway. So many changes were happening and the feelings could often be ephemeral. You bought into the fantasy of friendship first and then you bought into the love.

One night, however, you go to bed and find yourself waking up to a different reality. Almost all of your friends are in serious relationships now (they paired off with someone seemingly all at once) and you’ve become the weird loser that somehow missed the boat. All of a sudden, you’re thinking pathetic thoughts like “I think I need more single friends just so I can have someone to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon again.” This is something you never had to actively seek out before. Your friends were always just there whenever you needed them. Now, since they’re all in relationships, there seems to be these unspoken rules like “Don’t call this person at 2 p.m. on a weekend because chances are they’ll be at the flea market with their boyfriend or girlfriend. That’s their time now. It doesn’t belong to you anymore.”

So when is there a good time for single friends to co-exist with those who are in a relationship? Happy hour! Catch up drinks! Maybe a movie? You could hope for a mellow Sunday night meetup at some wine bar but don’t push your luck, okay? Meanwhile, the whole time you’re just sitting there and thinking to yourself, “WTF happened to my friends? What happened to going out with a big group on a Friday night and trading war stories the next day over salty breakfast foods? How did we go from spending so much time together to hoping and praying for a once-a-week dinner?”

Every friend group is different of course. Not everyone is finding themselves to be the only single person left when they’re still only in their mid-twenties. People who aren’t into settling down early typically form friendships with each other because they all enjoy the single person lifestyle. They want adventures, wild nights out, and midday impromptu hang outs. For whatever reason, they place less of an emphasis on being in a relationship which works in your favor. My friends aren’t like that though. Maybe I thought they were at some point but they all turned out to be serial monogamists. And you know what? I’m not surprised because I am too. I just haven’t been fortunate enough to find the right person. Deep down, I know that I prefer to spend a night in having orgasms with someone I love rather than getting wasted at a bar full of creeps. It was certainly fun for awhile but I’m ready to graduate to another scene. My friends have beat me, they’re already there, and I just feel like I’m playing catch-up.

Two years ago, I didn’t have to think about any of this. Some of my  friends were single, some weren’t, but there wasn’t such a big divide. We all hung out together. We all were intertwined into each other’s lives. I didn’t have to think to myself, “Gee, I really need some single friends!” because we were all doing the same things, regardless of our relationship statuses. But now that no longer holds true. If you’re in a relationship, you hang out with other couples and have your own agenda. The cracks widen. The happy hours become labored. The love for each other doesn’t dissolve. It just takes more of an effort to maintain. Friendships take a lot of work and can easily fade away. A lot of them do.

It will only get worse as I get older and potentially remain single. People will move in with each other (some of my friends already have) and then there’s engagements, weddings, and babies. All the stuff a single person fears. I thought that I always wanted to be in a relationship because I desired to have a true partner in crime, and I still definitely think that. But now I also want one just so I can have someone to call on a Saturday afternoon. I want one so I can get invited to double dates with my friends and their significant others. I want one so I can feel included in the conversation and not feel like I’m missing out on some major growth. I want a relationship because everyone else has one. TC mark

image – Sex and the City

More From Thought Catalog

  • Jake

    “Deep down, I know that I prefer to spend a night in having orgasms with someone I love rather than getting wasted at a bar full of creeps.”Genius.

  • Guest

    Truth.

  • Anonymous

    Now I have “where have all the cowboys gone?” in my head. Not cool.

  • Anonymous

    All of a sudden, you’re thinking pathetic thoughts like “I think I need more single friends just so I can have someone to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon again.”

    Fuck yes.   This is brilliant.

  • http://twitter.com/kathurrrzey Kathy U.

    Where have all the single people gone? Here. Reading this.

    • wing

      haha! Kathy, can’t agree more! 

  • Djidid

    MY LIFE EXACTLY

  • Robin

    Once a week dinner? LOL. Wait til you’re a little older dear chap; then it’ll be once every 6 months to a year!

    • guest

      True, and it sucks!

  • Holly

    How sad is it that I am only 19 years old and this is exactly how I feel? I don’t even really want to be in a relationship; I just don’t want to be the odd girl out. 

    • Robin

      Take the time to focus on yourself! Live, experience, grow. Throw yourself into things whether friends are there or not. You’ll be much happier independently than they will be come 22, 25, 30, whatever. Invest in yourself while you can and then when the right person comes along you’ll have a better relationship for it :)

    • dcdenise

      Holly, Holly, Holly. You’re 19!!!!  That is very sad. I know 19 year olds never pay attention to life lessons that their parents try to pound into their heads (I know, I have one of you)  : )   But I promise, promise, promise that this is the best time of your life. You have your whole life to get stuck in a relationship (and no matter how great the realtionship is, you will, at times, definitely feel stuck). Hang out with your friends, travel, learn stuff, grab everything in life that you can and leave the relationship for later (much later)

      • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

        You’re right. 19 was my golden age. I’m fat and ugly now. Seriously Holly enjoy it while it lasts.

      • Mike

        Sorry, but that’s not really true.  People in their 30s, 40s and onwards love to tell people in their teens and 20s to “live for yourself”.  SO, you spend all your time traveling, living the single life etc etc and you wake up one day, you’re 35 and whaddya know?  All your friends are married with children and now you have no friends. 

        I give you the example of my sister, she spent from age 21 to 35 wandering around the globe, free as a bird.  Then she realized how little time she had to start a family (which of course, isn’t what everyone wants.) So she married literally the first guy she came across and had a baby with him.  Now, at nearly 40, she is beyond miserable stuck in a country, job and life that she cannot stand.  I think that’s MUCH sadder than what Holly said.

      • Jasmine

        Do you want to get married because you’ve found a life partner that you’re madly in love with, or do you want to get married because all your friends are doing it? 

      • MIKE

        Well, that’s exactly my point.  That’s what I was saying about my sister, she felt left out because all of her friends had been married for years and so she married the first guy she came across.  So, it doesn’t really make any difference whether you’re young, middle aged or old.  You are influenced by what your friends do.  What I was saying is that people shouldn’t tell young people not to worry about relationships and so on, because life is short and fast.  You DON’T have a whole life to get ‘stuck in a relationship’.

    • Megan

      Holly you have so much time for yourself! For me, ages 18-23 I did whatever I wanted – experienced different things and I learned A LOT about life and love. I’m almost 25 now (I know, still young….) but I’ve now settled down a bit, in my first real relationship, and let me tell you, I am sooo glad I was single for the majority of my young adult life. Cherish it!

    • Goosey

       Me too. And i’m only 2 years older than you are. But I guess every dog has its day, so we should enjoy our singlehood while we have it!

  • anj

    story of my life.. in my case i was always the third wheel. 

  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    You really touched on something that I’ve been struggling with ever since I graduated college. I’m stuck right in the middle. Single. Losing friends to that trap that is “commitment” while all I ever ever ever ever want is to have someone who wants to spend a whole weekend with me and me only because they love me, or something.

    This really hit home.  It’s so fucking hard for some reason to wait. I’m in a holding pattern in my life right now. Not really enjoying my job, my current relationship status or (honestly) the people I sometimes hang out with.

    That sounds cold but it’s true.

    I really worry about the exact day that it goes from “I’m single because I want to be independent” to “I’m single because I can’t attract people I find attractive.”

    Also I’m sure publicly commenting on this with my entire online presence attached to it will surely bring the boys to the yard.

    Anyway, great piece. Thanks for it.

  • Katie

    Paul, I’m single, in my mid-twenties and upset that all of my friends are in relationships now also. If you don’t mind travelling to dc every so often give me a call!!

  • Gszewcow

    It comes and goes in waves in my group of friends. I’m in your boat now too. The single world isn’t the same without a wingman/woman

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

    It gets worse when your friends start getting married. The month of May becomes wedding after wedding after wedding after wedding and oh hey pregnant pictures all over Facebook.

    • Anonymous

      I’m just beginning this phase.  Next year  (starting in May, no less) I have my first four weddings to attend.  I don’t think there’s anything that’s ever made me feel so old.

    • Anonymous

       I even told my best friend to take pregnant/baby pics off Facebook.  Nobody wants to see that. She can send them to my phone.

      • Guest

         as a friend, maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t you be happy about your friend’s happiness instead of being negative and sour?

      • Anonymous

         Yes, and I am totally happy for her! But I think that stuff is personal, and by posting pictures every 5 minutes to 400 “friends,” it sort of takes away from that. We skype on a regular basis so I can actually talk to her and see the baby. If you’re only friends with your closest friends on Facebook, by all means knock yourself out.  I’m just not too concerned about  a daily baby bump picture of a girl I met in summer camp ten years ago dominating my news feed. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be friends with people we weren’t actually emotionally invested in on Facebook… but let’s be real.  We all love to stalk. 

  • http://twitter.com/Amphx AnnamariaPhilippeaux

    This was really honest and I appreciate that! I’m only 19 but I feel like I’m in the same boat. I’m pretty used to it, as I am quite literally ALWAYS the single friend, but I still hate it. A lot. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41508118 Caity Sherlock

    ALL OF THIS! perfection. I just had this conversation with a friend who is recently single for the first time in a decade. i’m 25 and she’s 27. and i’ve been single and “dating” my whole life, but never anything serious. And I’ve liked it up until I realized I’m second to my friend’s boy/girlfriends. 

    I’m no one’s person. I want to be someone’s priority, someone’s person. 

  • dcdenise

    I don’t think its as much getting into a relationship as it is just growing up. You can only sit on the couch all day and watch TV and hit the bars at night for so long. I am not nearly as close to my friends as I was when I was younger, and most of them are still single, but we have jobs, houses, possibly kids. In other words, real, adult, grown-up responsibilities.

    • me

       …because being single means you don’t have a job, a home, or hobbies?  what?

    • E.KM

      Being single means sitting on the couch all day and watching TV?  You must have had a very boring single life.  

  • Lola

    Oh, just wait till they start having kids. I call it the Baby Blackhole. Even if you can convince them to see you it’s usually in the middle of the day, in between naps, an hour at most, and all they do is talk about their children. And I love kids, but sometimes it’s just too much. After a recent lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in 4 months I realized she had not asked me once how my life was going. It’s like now that she has a husband and a kid my life seems unimportant.
    My one married friend is still fun and goes out with me but that’s probably because she doesn’t have kids and her marriage is close to falling apart.
    I don’t know what the answer is other than to join the ranks. Hang in there.

  • samantha

    This pisses me off so bad…don’t we owe it to each other as friends (okay maybe “owe” is a bad word) to be there fore one another?? Why do marriages have to change people into these co-dependent boring couples who sit at home having sex and eating pizza on a Friday, EVERY weekend?!?! My roommate just got into a serious relationship and her personality/lifestyle has completely changed for him. It makes me sick. I love relationships and intimacy, but I haven’t found someone worth my time and energy and worth sacrificing my career and independence. It’s like people feel weird being alone and take the first thing that comes along, even if red flags are there. Can’t we get a little more picky and a little less obsessed over nothing? Marriage is not forever, friendship is. 

    • Dani

      Stop calling couples who want to spend time with each other ‘boring’. It’ll happen to you when you fall in love and find the right person. It’s called growing up.

      • samantha

        I’ve had long term relationships before and been in love; maybe it wasn’t the “right person”, but I don’t think that my healthiest relationships where the person made me be the best I could be involved us staying in all the time and watching tv or becoming “boring”. Not all couples are boring. And I don’t define boring as not going out to the bars. But when you cut out all of your friends and become obsessed over a guy, yes, you are boring. There are more things in life than men; for example: career, family, social life, hobbies, intellectual and educational pursuits, the drive to continue to learn and grow. Many people I know right now, particularly my roommate, put their responsibilities and career in jeopardy because they are so in love, and I think true love means that you value yourself just as much as you value your significant other, and vice versa. If becoming boring means I’ve fallen in love and found the right person, then I don’t want to be in love. I never want to be boring, I never want to lose my sense of personality or be dependent on another man for living my life. I never want to stop growing or stop challenging myself, I never want to be hindered by my boyfriend or husband. I want a partner in crime who lifts me up, not one who is a ball and chain. And growing up isn’t the same for everyone….just because it’s the norm to get an education, get a job, get married and have kids, doesn’t mean it’s a script everyone should follow. 

      • JK

        Oh right, because everyone who isn’t in a relationship isn’t a ‘grown up’? 

  • Guest

    Was i sleep-walking? Did I write this article? Paul, are you really just a pseudonym for my unconscious mind? Dead on. I have 6 weddings in the next 6 months. 4 are from my closest group of friends.

  • Mila Jaroniec

    Wedding? I love weddings, drinks all around!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vlad-P-Radu/1240852130 Vlad P Radu

     “…spend a night in having orgasms with someone I love rather than getting wasted at a bar full of creeps”? 
    Dude, monogamy is the evil twin of the philosopher’s stone  for turning passion to routine:)) 

    Sure you’ll have those blissful passionate nights  for the first couple of months but by the time your lover becomes your siamese twin just seeing their face will remind you to check and see if they forgot to buy  the diapers, or it will remind you of that impending visit to that aunt of theirs you never liked, or that dinner with the other married couple you have nothing in common with, etc etc.

    If you enjoy having a pulse stay single; plenty of love and sex there.
    Tho’ there is no contract  of love and no certainty of ownership and you might end up dying old and alone=)) Still better than to stop living  while young  and with someone at your side.           

  • guest

    People will move in with each other (some of my friends already have) and then there’s engagements, weddings, and babies. 

    And some will break up and/or divorce. So, yeah, people should make time for more than one person in their life. You can be in love and still have time for friends. Friends are the family you chose and if you neglect them you are bound to lose a lot of social support and love in your life.

  • http://baileypowell.com/ B

    This is whiney, pathetic, and incredibly selfish. I can relate.

  • Anonymous

    I get this, so so much.Partner-in-crime that is what exactly  I want!Thank you!:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/aeast317 Andrew East

    Luckily I live with two guys who are as uninterested in relationships as I am. Well, one of them is in the process of converting. But that girl lives hours and hours away, so it wont be a big change.

blog comments powered by Disqus