What you learn when you’ve been single your entire life
Spoiler alert: Being single is actually pretty great
As the title of this piece may suggest, I’ve been single my entire life. And when I say single, I really mean single. As in never-been-on-a-date single. I’ve rarely even been hit on. You might be surprised to hear this, but then again you might not be. There are a lot more of us than you think. And by “us” I mean people in their late-teens/early 20’s who have never been in a relationship. If you had to give us a label, my personal favorite is “involuntarily celibate.”
The fact that I am 21 and have never had a boyfriend used to be a source of constant shame and embarrassment to me. The most frustrating part was that it wasn’t for lack of wanting one. My freshman year roommate and I used to joke, “I don’t need a boyfriend, but I want one.” And I really wanted one. But I could never understand why I never had one.
However the point of this article is not to analyze what it is about me that has brought this about. Because it doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I don’t really care anymore. One day, I got tired of sitting in my room and crying about how nobody liked me. I realized that the only person that was making me miserable was me. So, I decided that instead of pining over what I didn’t have, I was going to learn to appreciate what I did have. And what I had was that I was single.
Here are a few things I learned about how great being single can be:
How to spend time alone
This one seems like an obvious one, but it’s totally true. Being in a relationship means always having something to do things with. And that’s great. Until you break up and all of a sudden you’re alone. One of the first things that people complain about after ending a relationship is loneliness. But being single has taught me to really appreciate the time that I spend by myself. I don’t rely on anyone else to entertain me. It’s actually pretty liberating.
What you like or don’t like
Again, obvious but true. Being single my entire life means that I have grown independently of anyone else. No one was around to influence my taste in books, movies, or food. As a result, I know exactly who I am as a person. I am 100 percent myself.
How to be a good friend
It’s an old adage that friends and relationships don’t always mix. You’re constantly having to balance spending time with your friends with hanging out with your significant other. Lack of a significant other in my case just meant more time to devote to my friendships. I always put my friends first and, as a result, I have amazing friendships that I wouldn’t trade for all the boyfriends in the world.
How to like who you are
This is a tough one for me. I’m always first in line to put myself down. Not getting a lot of guy attention made it that much easier. But then I realized that I don’t want or need boys to validate me. As long as I’m comfortable being me, it really doesn’t matter what they think. It’s a constant uphill battle, but being single has definitely helped because it’s given me the time and space to focus on liking myself, rather than trying to make other people like me.
The ins and outs of relationships
This is one that a lot of people don’t realize. You might think that because I’ve never been in a relationship, I have no idea how they work. Actually, I’m an expert. I’ve spent years watching my friends struggle with difficult relationships and I always paid close attention to exactly what went wrong. By the time I start my own relationship, I’ll know exactly what to do or what not to do. In the long run, I might have fewer relationships but I know for a fact that mine will be good ones. Not a bad deal, right?
How to truly and honestly appreciate being single
You might think that being single means being alone, but for me it’s had the opposite effect. I’m surrounded by people I care about and who care about me. I have the independence to be myself without worrying what anyone else thinks.
So instead of sitting around and wishing that I had a boyfriend, I’m going to enjoy being single for as long as it lasts. Because who knows? I might meet my soulmate tomorrow and never be single again.
The moral of the story is this: just be yourself, have fun, and treasure your precious singledom while you still can.