Our culture is rather strange for a variety of reasons, one of which involves how we experience the process of seeking out romantic attachment.
We have a split-personality view on the whole thing. On one hand, we’re taught to be highly selective when it comes to dating. We’re told not to settle for the wrong person, to maintain our independence and enjoy our freedom.
At the same time, however, our culture applies an odd stigma to people who aren’t in a relationship. That part of our cultural-genetics informs us that we are supposed to be seeking out a mate and settling down, and that there is something almost shameful about being unattached—especially as you get older.
So on the one hand, we applaud the single person on the go—free to get out in the world and meet people and experiment with relationships. In the next breath, we’re clucking our tongues and asking when that person is going to settle down, get responsible, and start up the baby-making machine. And because of this single people are constantly under pressure to be ever-vigilant, to be consciously watching out for “that special somebody”.
The overall message is: Be independent! Nevermind—when are you finally going to find yourself a nice girl/fella?
We’re confusing ourselves, and in that confusion we’re making the process a lot more complicated that it needs to be. Let’s settle this once and for all—there is nothing wrong with being single, and it is in fact a great opportunity. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with giving up the freedom of being single for a relationship.
In both cases, however, it is how you go about being single or being in a relationship that makes it a beneficial situation. Do it wrong and you either end up stressed out and alone, desperately searching the world for attachment without ever seeming to find it, or you end up grasping onto a terrible relationship for no other reason than it seems like it’s the only option: hey, it beats being single, right?
There is a way to make this silly game (because it really is—and should be—silly) a lot less stressful in a way that will yield better results both while you’re single and once you’ve become attached. Everyone starts out single, right? So how you go about that part of the equation sets up how the relationship phase will turn out.
The secret to taking the stress out of being single, to dating effectively and finding someone who is actually right for you and truly worthy of you time, attention, and affection is simple—Do what you love.
People Are At Their Happiest and Best When They Are Doing What They Love
If you want to make the most of being single—and I really mean squeeze every drop out of all that independence—you need to be doing the things that make you happiest and that truly interest you. This means at work, with your friends, with your down time, intellectually, spiritually, physically, and in every other aspect of your life.
Here are just a few of the most obvious benefits:
- You are doing things you enjoy.
- You are using your time grow and enrich yourself.
- You are striving to perform work that makes you happy.
- You are connecting to the people who are most important to you.
- You are enhancing your overall level of life-satisfaction.
These are all benefits that lend themselves to you as an individual, but how does this help you improve your experience as a single person while bettering your chances of stumbling upon a quality relationship?
Think of it this way: What’s more attractive than a person who is happy, fulfilled, and actively engaged in activities that are important to her or him?
Stop Doing the Things that Don’t Make You Happy
When you’re single one of the most stressful sensations can be that feeling that you have to find someone, or that you’re not working hard enough to do so. Then rather than spending your time on worthwhile endeavors, you end up going around desperately (and remember: desperation is never attractive) trying to meet someone, jumping from one hopeful encounter or disappointment to the next, and all the while the whole thing seems increasingly impossible.
You’ve gotta cut that out. When you’re preoccupying yourself with those sorts of thoughts and actions, you’re definitely not doing anything to make yourself happy.
Right now you might be thinking that’s easier said than done. So how do you avoid the “must meet someone” cycle of obsession? Once again it comes around to spending your time engaged in the things that make you happy.
Everyone finds happiness in different ways, but here are a few suggestions you can try that will both help you through the struggles of singledom and increase your likelihood of meeting someone who really grabs your attention and might end up holding it.
- Frequent the places that make you happiest.
This can be anywhere—a park, bookstore, neighborhood, forset, cafe, or even the tried-and-tested bar you love. It can even mean something huge like going out of your way to visit a far off country or city that you enjoy. Not only will end up spending time in places that make you happy, the chances are that the type of person you’re most interested in also spends his or her time there.
- Educate yourself on something that interests you.
Maybe you’ll have to go back to school, participate in some sort of workshop, or simply spend some time reading about it at home (or in that café you enjoy so much). The bottom line is that if you are enriching your knowledge about something that interests you, you not only increase your understanding of it, you also end up—once again—putting yourself in situations in which you’re more likely to encounter similarly-minded people. Not to mention that your expertise will be mighty attractive when you do meet someone with similar interests…
- Exercise and eat right.
The only people I know who say that eating well and exercising doesn’t make them happy are people who never do either. Exercise and eating quality food, once you get into the habit, make you happy. Period. It’s scientifically proven, endorphin levels in the brain, regularity of bowel movements, yada, yada, yaha.
And to add an obvious benefit for single people looking to meet someone—it makes you look better.
- Strive to launch that career you’ve always dreamed of.
There may be no better time to work on breaking into the career of your choice than when you’re single. You have more time and flexibility, less responsibility, and usually less need for money and more ability to take financial risks.
Once again, if you end up doing work you love, you’re happier and more fulfilled, and you’re more likely to end up around people with similar passions.
- Make time for your hobbies.
I’m going to go ahead and yada, yada through the reasons why making time for your hobbies will be beneficial. It’s the same old stuff—life satisfaction, better chances of encountering someone of shared interests, etc.
Bottom line—to make the most out of being single, you need to stop worrying about how and when you’ll get into a relationship and start concerning yourself with how you can find happiness here and now. When you’re single and unattached, you have the freedom and opportunity to do things that can be more difficult once you’ve made the compromises of a relationship.
And the fact of the matter is that if you’re doing the things that make you happy and meeting people who share your enthusiasms, you’re more likely to end up in a relationship in which you don’t have to make any compromises, and entering into it won’t mean losing the things that made you happy when you were single.
Instead, you just get to share them with someone else.