Singlehood is not a fatal flaw or a curse from the gods, and it's time we stopped talking as if it was.
In a time where every couple's adorable engagement photos grace your newsfeed and "viewing Pinterest wedding boards" is considered an acceptable hobby, it isn’t hard to see why being single can be rough. Even the most content women may fall victim to that dark voice in the back of her head that whispers, “Why are you alone?”
But the most disheartening part about being single is not the Pinterest wedding boards or the cute couples on your newsfeed—it’s your single friend who sees every conversation with you as an opportunity to commiserate about being single. Honestly, what is more miserable: being single or constantly hearing about how miserable being single is?
Expressing discontent with one’s love life (or lack thereof) is fine for a particularly hard day, PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome), or an understandable moment of weakness. But too often, complaining about being single is viewed as a go-to conversation for single women. “Girls night out” topics may range from theories about why there are no good men out there to statements of blatant self-deprecation. And while the seminar may be laced with dry humor and endless rounds of cocktails, it all falls under the same depressing umbrella.
So even though misery loves company, singlehood is not a fatal flaw or a curse from the gods. Most of us would rather take a sunnier outlook on this stage in our lives. For us complaining offenders, perhaps it's time we stop whining about being single and be a bit more cognizant of what effect it might have on our fellow single friends—and ourselves.
Before you give in to your compulsion to prophesy about your future life lived alone, consider this:
01. Your friends probably want to talk about something else.
Anything else. This is especially true if they, too, are single. Your single friends probably have hard days, too, and are likely doing their best to take on a healthy and hopeful attitude toward singlehood. So think of your friend and how your mood will affect her. Instead of preparing for the night by composing a discourse on why there are "no good men out there," make a mental list all the novel qualities your friend brings to the table and recall the many important areas that occupy her life and yours—aside from romance. Your newfound appreciation for her will be evident in the attentiveness you give her throughout your time together, and it will keep you focused on the friend before you—as opposed to the invisible man you wish would sweep you off your feet.
02. It’s counterproductive.
While it’s never healthy to avoid or minimize your problems, it’s equally pointless to dedicate copious amounts of energy and thought to them. Focusing on your stressors will only serve to heighten any anxiety regarding the aspects of your life that deeply bother you, particularly if they’re out of your control. Singlehood need not be a source of unhappiness. The next time you begin the “forever alone” stream of comments, you might want to ask yourself when the last time audibly whining actually made you feel better.
03. Not everyone is a counselor.
Not everyone is capable of the response you’re looking for when you need an ear to vent, especially if you whine often and have developed a bit of a reputation (think: The Boy Who Cried Wolf). It can be incredibly disheartening to pour your heart out time and time again and receive the same responses of apathy or even silence. Rather than setting yourself up to feel misunderstood and disappointed with everyone you open up to, reserve a select few friends to go to when you’re in dire need of encouragement. Make sure these people know you well and always give them a heads up before you dive into that three-hour snivel session you crave.
04. There are a hundred other important things you could be discussing.
Politics, new music, your thoughts on any well-known commercial—none of which limit the conversation to just you. If the burning desire for a relationship is your go-to table talk, you may be faced with some challenges next time you’re actually on a date and you have no idea how to contribute to the dialogue. Practice humility and social graces by asking questions and sharing in a way that highlights your intelligence and countless likeable facets.
Singlehood can be as awful or exciting as you will it to be, so try shifting your mindset from one of dread to one of enthusiasm—if not for yourself, try doing it for your friends. The more you practice pushing aside those hopeless feelings the easier it will be to soak up all the love available to you through your friends, your family, and above all else: yourself.