When you are single, it may feel like everyone is married or in a relationship. You always seem to notice what you don’t have. And, of course, not only is everyone in a relationship but they seem to be very happy and in a relationship.
I’m here to tell you there is hope, you can be single and happy.
This can leave you feeling lonely. You may feel you are the only one that feels this way. But, the truth of the matter is that nearly half of the population is single. What this means, is that you aren’t alone.
Remember, Sex In The City. They all had different ways for coping with being single. What got them through it was their friendship, and in the end they didn’t end up alone. I think this is what everyone fears, being alone. This means you need to face the reality that you are human, which means you are needy.
Try not to be too hard on yourself for this one. It’s not easy for a lot of people to admit. But, the one thing we all have in common is that we are needy and don’t want to be alone. You may try to cover it up with material items. They may make you feel good in the moment, or temporarily. But, nothing beats knowing that someone else needs you and that you need them.
This means you need to make yourself vulnerable in a relationship. After you’ve been hurt that can be difficult. It’s easy to put up a wall, and act as if everything is fine. A lot of people do this. What you are doing is protecting your heart. That is not a bad thing. Your heart is delicate and you should look out for it.
But, you don’t want to shut love out. Now, that you’ve been in a relationship or two. You know what you don’t like, and will be able to make better decisions because of it. You will also have a better idea of what you are looking for. Sure, you want rich and handsome.
That’s not what I’m talking about, those are all superficial things. What is that you need at your core? What is it that you can’t live without? For me, he needs to be kind. Not only to me, but to others. If you’d like, write a list of 5-10 things you are looking for in a relationship.
Now, I’d like to shift gears. Just because you are single doesn’t mean you need to be miserable. This can be a time of exploration. You can really take the time to find what you like and what you don’t like.
How do you treat yourself? What types of things do you say to yourself? Unfortunately, many singles are very had on themselves. They tell themselves, all the good ones are taken or their must be something wrong with me, that’s why I’m single.
This really does affect how you feel about yourself. If it goes on too long, it can lead to anxiety or depression. You begin to not trust yourself, or that you can make good decisions for yourself.
I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy being single. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up on finding a partner. It just means, by trying a few new things you may be able to enjoy the process.
Here are 11 tips for being single and happy:
- Stop criticizing yourself. This is one of the easiest things to do. I know that when you are single, it appears that everyone is happy and in love. In reality, this is not true. What happens is you start to compare yourself. This never ends good. I want you to stop criticizing yourself today, and start complimenting yourself. Write down three good qualities about yourself, now.
- Never underestimate the freedom being single. Enjoy your life. Being single doesn’t mean you are flawed. I have been able to have many new experiences in my life, that I don’t think I would have if I were married. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a wonderful thing with the right person. But, don’t sit around feeling miserable. If there is a vacation you want to go on, then go. Plan a party and invite all of your single friends.
- Let yourself make mistakes. I know when you are dating, you want things to go perfectly. In reality, there is no perfect dating scenario. You are on your way to pick up your date, and there is unexpected traffic due to an accident. Your best friend keeps texting you while you are out on a date. And, the list goes on. What this means, is accept the process of dating. There will be mistakes. When people admit to their mistakes or talk about their mistakes, this can actually make your partner feel more comfortable with you. Then, they don’t feel like they have to be perfect.
- Be positive. Nobody likes a Negative Nelly. So, don’t be one. As long as you are looking in the right direction, you are bound to meet that special someone. It’s true, negative people attract negative people. You want to draw people into your life that are happy. This starts with you being happy.
- Do things alone. This may sound obvious. But, many single people fear doing things alone. I once had a friend that couldn’t even go to the grocery store alone. She was always worried about what others were thinking. Most of the time people don’t even notice that you are alone. Make it an adventure. Where have you been wanting to go? I want you to go there, alone. Talk to strangers and enjoy the day.
- Enjoy the benefits of not being in an unhealthy relationship. I also work with couples, which I absolutely love. But, if you ask me, nothing is worse than being in a bad relationship. I have seen couples destroy their lives and it is very sad. Maybe, they married young or before they were ready. Now, the relationship is all wrong for them and they feel stuck. Which feels very lonely. So, if you are looking for a relationship because you feel lonely. Trust me, this is on the cure.
- Foster other relationships. Relationships can come and go. This is a great time to spend with family and friends. Nurture these relationships. Invite friends and family over for dinner, or to a concert. Make sure you offer your undivided attention to them, when you are with them. And, don’t spend the whole time complaining about being single.
- Learn to feel. It’s easy to keep your feelings in. Overtime, your feeling will build up. We have found in therapy it’s best to talk about your feelings. When you don’t talk about your feelings, you tend to stay stuck. If you are sad, angry or disappointed, then let it out. Just don’t hurt anyone else in the process. Make sure that you express your feelings of happiness, as well.
- Let go of the past. You will never enjoy the present, unless you let go of the past. Yes, you have made mistakes. But, so has everyone else. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. It’s time to start looking for new experiences and adventures.
- Spend time getting to know yourself. Since I am a therapist, I am a big proponent of self awareness. Take this time to figure out what you want. What are your dreams? What has caused setbacks in your life? What things do you worry about? For example, are you always the planner? Does this help you have control in the situation? If that’s the case, work on why you are that way. Did you learn this as a child? Whatever the reason, try and figure it out. It’s only when you start to figure out why you do things, that you will change them.
- Live your life in balance. It’s true when you are taking better care of yourself, it’s easier to set boundaries. Maybe, a mistake you made in past relationships was saying yes when you meant no. This is much less likely to happen when you feel you have balance in your life. This also means you are feeling more confident about yourself.
You don’t have to be in a rush. Take your time meeting your next partner. Spend a lot of time getting to know one another, before making any big decisions. Like moving in together or getting married.
If you liked this article, there is more in Dating 101. You can meet the man of your dreams, without settling.
I’m Lianne Avila a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. I’ve been able to help many people through the highs and lows of dating. They have been able to feel better about themselves, and more confident. You can sign up for my free newsletter,, and receive free weekly tips on self care, dating and relationships. You can also call (650) 892-0357 or email [email protected], to learn about the services I provide.