There’s a joke that I use within my inner circle and it’s a bad one. I say, “Everyone’s choosing who they want to be with and I can’t even pick a cereal from the cereal aisle.” After the crickets and awkward silence die off, I’ll look around from face to face to see if anyone really understands what I was saying. I want to know if they are clued into the fact that for once I’m actually being 100% serious about this.
I CANNOT pick out cereals (or most fruit for that matter), but it’s something that I’m working on. Let’s talk about choosing people instead because the conversation is sure to last a little longer.
Yes, people are getting paired up all around you. You’ve noticed this and that’s a good thing! Not only that, but depending on how old you are, you’ve noticed you’re either in the serious relationship/young marriage stage, the slightly older marriage/multiple kids stage, or the divorced/remarriage/having kids anyway kind of stage. Yes, there are other stages and they’re all charming, but for the sake of this article that’s enough to bite into and pass around.
The point is you’re in it and it’s swirling all around you. How do you remain both pairless and sane at the same time?
For that, read on for some ways to maintain your wits and charm at a time when everyone’s playing doubles and not looking for a third.
1. Embrace It
For now, this is part of who you are! Yes, that might mean someone left you (or that you left them) in order to arrive back at being single, but that’s behind you now. Rather than lament the past or worry about what’s to come, find the freedom to be as present as you’ve ever been.
I believe there is both power and passion in living in the moment and it’s one of the most contagious attitudes I’ve ever been around.
Yes, you are single and you may even be lonely because of that, but that’s not the only thing you are. You deserve to own this so that you can dive deeper into a sense of self that – guess what? – some couples may have never had the chance to experience.
2. Use It
There’s an “x-factor” to not being paired up at the moment. Something intriguing, a layer of mystery if you will. I have single friends that continually impress the heck out of me with their fluidity, charm, and inextinguishable social graces. If you’re one of these select few, then congratulations. If not, then let me help you!
My grandfather had an expression he would use around my brothers and me that said, “Sit or stand, but don’t wobble.” If you’re unpaired, move forward with that, but don’t remain static.
Some ways to use this to your advantage include spending more quality time with loved ones (I have two young nieces in Austin that are usually available to stomp around with), planning a solo, adventure trip to somewhere close by or within your city, or pursuing an interest that you’ve put aside because you didn’t make time back when you were actually in a relationship.
Don’t let that single energy just sit there. Harness it and it will push you towards something exciting, challenging and new.
3. Take a Social Media Break/Detox
I don’t even think much needs to be said about this except for, “Do it! Do it now!” Sometimes we get so trapped in the cycle of device addiction that we don’t realize we are fueling an unhealthy drive to find a partner just so we’ll fit in with the dozens of Instagram photos we click on every day.
We click on them because we like them. We like them because they make us believe for a moment that that kind of perfection exists in real life.
Give yourself a break from this comparison syndrome while you’re on your own and power off your devices.
Quick tip: try turning off your phone for one hour before you go to bed and one hour immediately after you wake in the morning.
4. Go Outside and Talk to People of the Opposite Sex
This is something I always return to with the guys I coach because it’s so easy to practice, but few men actually do it. Women can take part in this, too; the main thing required of either side is an attitude of presence (male energy) and openness (female energy) in order to have fun, meaningful interactions that can really go places.
More on this another time, but I truly believe any single person is doing themselves a disservice by either not approaching or being open to being approached.
Everyone wants a love story, so why stop yourself from writing your own? And to the men specifically, you should know that thousands of women say the main reason they are even on dating apps is that you’re not approaching them offline.
5. Get Yourself a Weird Phase
In the second point, I mentioned pursuing an interest that you may have put off in life, but let’s take a look at that again.
In the end, you and I both know you don’t need anyone, right? What makes relationships so beautiful is when we are chosen and pursued by somebody out of millions of others.
I just want to invite you to sit with that a while if you’re a single person reading this. You don’t need anyone and they don’t need you. Kind of takes the pressure of, no? To me, it contains a whole lot of freedom, which is often hard to come by.
Lean into that freedom and go off and get crazy for a while. Grow your hair and change your clothes. Meditate, ruminate, gain a language or take a hip-hop dance class. Do something that causes you to disappear for awhile and make some adult mistakes, but while you’re gone learn how to give back without expectation.
Break something, make something, just don’t come back until you’ve learned to be friends with yourself again.
All this and more is waiting for you within singlehood, not across and on the other side. As for me, I’ll be thinking of this list while I RSVP for yet another wedding and eat some pears out in the summer sunshine of Los Angeles.
Until next time, I’ll see you out there.