I love my life as ‘the single friend’ – and so should you
No boyfriend? No problem
In cheesy romantic comedies we all indulge in, there are a slew of archetypes that stretch across the entire genre. There’s the beautiful-yet-somehow-single girl, who just wants the cool-but-unavailable guy to notice her. In the end, they will ultimately fall in love and presumably live happily ever after.
I am not that girl.
I am the heroine’s best friend, the one that is sassy and spunky and sometimes pretty weird. The one that encourages her to go after the guy, without any real love interest of her own.
The last time I was in a relationship was 2013. The last time someone was my boyfriend, gay marriage was not legal in all 50 states, the iPhone 5 had just come out and Obama was just starting his second term as president.
My dating history is not extensive by any means – two boyfriends, one when I was 14, and the other when I was 15/16. The first one lasted two months and mainly consisted of us hanging out at his house but avoiding any contact at school.
The second relationship lasted for a year and some change. During that time, he belittled me for making better grades than he did, constantly told me that “I had to just make myself happy” (which is the number one thing you don’t say to a person suffering from depression) and turned me into someone that I was never really meant to be. When a friend finally helped me realize the toxicity of the relationship, things were cut off.
But this is NOT why I’ve been single all these years.
It’s not like there haven’t been some close calls – some friends who were more than just friends, some recurring cocktail dates, a summer fling or two. But as for someone who says: “We are now officially boyfriend and girlfriend?” Nope. Not a thing.
There are things you learn from perpetually being chronically single. Some good, some bad. All, however, leading to a very interesting, fulfilling life as a young adult.
You stop feeling like the only one who doesn’t have a significant other
When you are newly “on the market,” it’s easy to feel like everyone surrounding you has Cupid’s arrow sticking out of their ass. You walk to your 11am writing class and feel like you get bombarded with people holding hands. You see the same couples at the same cocktails and start to think to yourself, “Why don’t I have someone like that?”
But what you’ll eventually come to realize is, you need to stop giving a shit about it. Lots of people are in relationships. Just as many aren’t. What you’ll realize, however, is that you can’t want what other people have, because it could look totally different on you.
Some of my friends have had the same boyfriend for ages, and that’s amazing. Their Instagram posts are adorable, and the guys are kind, caring people who make these girls really happy. However, my Instagram is for cute pictures of me and my friends, and my cocktail date is probably just my cocktail date. Neither scenario is bad. It’s just that one is my life, and the other is yours.
You learn the importance of platonic friendships
In relationships, people tend to stray from their friends to spend time with their significant other. But when you’ve been single as shit for three years, you realize just how important those friendships truly are, specifically your female friendships. My friends are my favorite people in the whole world. And since there hasn’t been a boyfriend for me to constantly be investing my time in, it’s made all of these relationships a little deeper than they could have been. You begin to realize that, while boys come and go, your friends are always going to be there to love on you.
You know when a hook-up is just going to be a hook-up
As a single girl in college, you’ll become a pro at realizing who has an intent to date you, and who just wants something fun. If you’re single and loving it, you’ll tend to gravitate towards the “something fun” types – whether that be intentional or on accident.
Some boys will want to talk to you in the afternoon. Some will only talk to you at night. You’ll begin to understand you can’t force someone to fall for you after you dance for a few songs or make out on their twin XL dorm room mattress. If they don’t seem interested in texting you besides asking you to come over at night, you have to understand this is a no-strings-attached deal, and you can’t be mad if they make that clear to you.
You learn be alone
When you’re single at the beginning of adulthood, you learn to appreciate doing things by yourself. Lunch? Go grab some tacos while in between classes. Shopping? Treat yo self to something that you love and know you look hot in. You become the queen of taking yourself on dates. You learn to spoil yourself. You realize the value that comes with being alone.
You get to develop yourself – by yourself
My music taste, my love of movies, my fashion sense, my favorite books – all of these things were slowly developed over time, with multiple influences from multiple people. In these years where your personality really starts to flourish, you grow to understand, “Hey, I can do whatever I want. I can like what I like. And it’s not going to affect anybody but me.” You can feel less intertwined with someone else, and more like your own, individual person who dgaf what guys have to say about these things.
So yeah, right now you’ll have to answer constant questions from relatives and hometown acquaintances about whether or not you have a boyfriend, or if you’re interested in anyone. You do not go home to the same person every night, and you do not love someone with my whole heart.
But you’ll be someone who is damn sure your identity is not wrapped up in someone else – and there’s no better way to live your college experience.