The Times When I Feel Most Single

I feel most single on a Saturday afternoon. That’s prime “I have a BF/GF” time, right? It’s when you don’t have a job distracting you, when you can finally unwind. But then you wake up with a pit in your stomach because you don’t really have anyone to spend it with. Your friends are spending time with their significant others and tell you that they’ll meet up with you later that evening. Saturday nights are great for spending with best friends. But daytime weekends are reserved for catching up with your lover in bed or at brunch or at the flea market. You close your eyes and wish for it to be nighttime already.

I feel most single on my birthday. I feel like it’s the one day of the year when you really need someone to just love you. You’ve earned it. It’s not even about turning an age older and worrying about marriage and kids or whatever. It’s about what happens when the party is over, when the guests leave and you’re left alone with some cake and a bummer smile. Happy birthday to you.

I feel most single in a room full of couples. I mean, no duh, right? It’s just staring you at the face—people who love each other—and they’re looking at you back with these empathetic eyes. These people used to relate to you, they used to also be single but now that they’re in relationships, it’s as if they’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to be alone. They behave as if they’ve always been with someone and never understood anything different. It has been like that for you too when you’ve gotten into a relationship so you can’t really criticize but still.

I feel most single when I’m going to an afternoon movie alone. This is an activity I admittedly love to do—nothing beats a solo movie experience at an indie theatre at two o’clock in the afternoon—but there’s always an undercurrent of sadness when you know it’s not necessarily a choice. Yes, you love going to movies alone but you also have no one to go with. Sometimes you flash forward twenty years and see yourself doing these same things alone. It doesn’t look so cute.

I feel most single when I’m sick. Someone come take care of me. Hello? Oh, right. No one is in love with me right now.

Sometimes I’m in relationships and sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m single by choice and sometimes I’m not. It’s hard to tell when one turns into the other. You’re single by choice until you’re not, until you look around and realize maybe you should’ve gotten one of those boyfriend things. Time moves by fast. This we know and this is what terrifies us—the idea that being single for three months can easily turn into two years without you ever really realizing it.

It’s amazing that we have the ability to be with someone and be consumed in love, and then completely alone. It seems so extreme. Like how do we deal with that? We obviously have no choice. I will always remember those feelings one has when you get into a relationship after a prolonged absence. You temporarily forget how to be someone’s plus one. And then it all comes flooding back to you. You put on your “In A Relationship” jeans and discover that they fit okay. Then you learn how to love someone else again. Just like riding a bike. Feels good, doesn’t it? TC mark

image – flickriver

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Josh

    i feel most single in the winter. damn snow and its ability to make you cower in lonely defeat.

  • arnie

    i can totally relate and am glad to know i’m not (the only one so) alone in these feelings, considering i’ve been single basically forever

  • arnie

    same, winter i always think about cuddling b’cos of the coldness and there is no one :/

  • Anonymous

    Saturday afternoons! GAH!

    But going to Rockaway just to stare at the water and read can be nice, too… or nice to tell yourself it’s “nice.”

  • -h-

    “I feel most single on my birthday. I feel like it’s the one day of the year when you really need someone to just love you.”

    yeahhh, this is so true. i’ve single for all of my 22 birthdays. wow, that’s pathetic.

    • A.

      Samesies, but things changed on the 23rd, so… there’s still hope, I guess?

      • whatgoodwoulditdo

        just turned 23, still single :/

    • Daily tc reader

      I’ve been single for all of my 21 birthdays. My 22nd is in december. Seeing how its august and I know absolutely no one, I feel like it will be the same here.

      I feel like I’m going to cry and vomit simultaneously. 

      Great article as usual, Ryan! I absolutely love you!

    • notholdencaulfield

      19 and i wish i could stop counting.

  • Guest

    I can totally relate as well.  Especially the birthday thing.. it’s not about being old, it’s just feeling extra special that day.  It doesnt help that i’m basically alone all day on my birthday and not even a cat to cuddle.

  • Allie

    Well this is depressing. I’ve been single for 3 months after a 3 year relationship, and you just reminded me of the things I miss. Thanks, Ryan!

    • Pshaw

      3 months? That’s nothing. Try single for 6 years after a 4 year relationship. The good news is that I just started seeing a guy, a close friend from college who I hadn’t seen in 9 years. It feels like there’s a whole lot of promise there, something I haven’t experienced for ages. Fingers crossed.

  • Tau Zaman

    “It’s about what happens when the party is over, when the guests leave and you’re left alone with some cake and a bummer smile. Happy birthday to you.” Bull’s eye heartbreak to the MAX. I totally get that.

    It’s worse because everyone says, “Oh, but you’re so young. It’s crazy to expect to fall in love so early when you have decades ahead of you.” But you know that those decades flew by for the 60-year-olds who creep around on Craiglist pretending to be 30, sitting alone in their room in front of the computer with their pants down and their five cats lazing around elsewhere. Or so you imagine.

    And everyone says, “You can’t be *looking* for a relationship, it just happens. So stop thinking about it and it’ll happen when you’re not even expecting it!” And you know it’s a privileged statement because they’re already seeing someone, and they’re about as invested and sad for you as when they see ads of starving kids in Africa on  TV. It’s sad, but there’s dinner to cook and movies to see. With significant others.

    • Julian Galette

      Jesus christ that comment just snapped my heart in half, especially the end. 

      I hate being alone =/

      • Tau Zaman

        Sorry, my bitterness pours out in waves sometimes. But I’m glad people can relate. Or at least I’m assuming that’s what happened!

      • Julian Galette

        Nah, I def relate, especially with the part where you secretly know deep down that your friends really don’t care how single you are since they’re coupled up and happy. 

      • flipside of a memory

        I know the feeling, and them being a bit patronising sometimes doesn’t help even if they mean well.

    • Tanya Salyers

      real talk. single is sad, especially in the summertime. when there are trips and adventures to be had!

    • flipside of a memory


  • Nydiesel85

    I feel most single when I get home from work and don’t have that boyfriend to call and talk with about how my day went.. good or bad.

  • Tau Zaman

    Also, every time “Bubbly” comes up on the radio. Shut up Colbie.

    • Guest


  • Sam

    being single is the worst when you spend the day with yourself, and it’s a really nice day. But you don’t have anyone to call up at the end of it – to tell how nice your day was, all by yourself.

  • guest

    for me, it’s not so much “single” as it is “lonely”. and i feel most lonely at night, when there’s nothing to distract me from my utterly depressing thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    the sad thing is that every birthday i wish to fall in love for the next one. never happens. 

    • Elle

      you just told the the entire interwebs your wish! It will never come true now! :(

  • Emily

    I feel most single when walking through a park in late fall when the air is crisp and cold and there is no one’s embrace to rest your cheek against when it starts growing pink and stinging just the tiniest bit.

    I feel most single when it is New Year’s and you are in a room full of kissing couples when the clock strikes midnight and your ex broke up with you the week before and you are just totally killing the vibe by not being visibly happy no matter how much alcohol you have consumed.

  • Kim

    ugh now i’m depressed. i feel most single when i’m on vacation with my family in the middle of nowhere and have no distractions or someone to call/text at night before I go to sleep…. i miss those “i love you baby, sleep tight” [vom} texts. :(

  • Bachelor

    There is no more block of time to feel more single than 12:00AM – 12:05AM January 1st of every year ever.  

    • bromaster5000


    • Yayaya

      hey emily

  • Stellie Cat

    “being single for three months can easily turn into two years without you ever really realizing it.”

  • AT

    Ugh. My ex just dumped me last week. My birthday’s tomorrow. I KNOW that’s what it’s going to feel like tomorrow.

    • asuradai123

      happy birthday.

  • munchimaid

    I think everybody that has commented on here should meet up somewhere and have a group hug.. I’m soo depressed after reading this now lol. 

  • Siobhan_male

    Sunday mornings. Waking up late by yourself. For me Sunday is the ultimate lover-day. Staying in bed all day drinking coffee isn’t as fun when you’re alone.

  • Missturnstiles

    In my 27 years on this earth I have never had bf on my birthday. Pathetic :(

    • britt

      25 and counting.

      • arnie

        you are not alone 

      • arnie

        you are not alone 

      • Stephanie

        27 and counting…………

    • arnie

      24, not counting, IT’LL HAPPEN SOON???? I hope godddddddd

    • arnie

      not pathetic, just picky~~~ 

  • Kate

    This is really beautiful, great writing.
    I feel most single when I hear love songs on the radio, hence my general disdain for radio.

    PS. Hi Ryan’s mom!

    • Kate

      P.P.S. We all need some blankets and books and tea.


    and isn’t it like, I try REALLY hard to be a good person.

  • Ryan Peterson

    There’s nothing like falling in love in the fall. 

  • Stateofmind

    new years’ eve – not because you want to kiss someone at midnight but because you have someone to look forward to the coming year with…i miss that

blog comments powered by Disqus