When you want a relationship, being single can feel like a curse. But as they say, misery loves company, so it may not be quite as upsetting if those in your close circle are also in a similar situation. In that case, singleness can even be fun.
Even though your friends are still your friends coupled up or not, something about being on the same side of the line as everyone else makes one feel – for lack of better words – among.
From problematic sex partners to bad dates and wondering if you'll ever find your own “the one,” you and your friends can speak openly about these experiences when you go through it together.
However, when A finally gets hooked and while you guys are still celebrating her newfound happiness, B's long-lost crush calls, and in no time, she's in love and in a relationship too. Then everyone else from there just seems to follow suit, except you.
Even if dating was not on your agenda before, feeling left out like that can erode a once-satisfying lifestyle and suddenly make you feel incomplete. Not to worry, though, I have some ideas on how you can manage to stay happy single even when all your friends are in relationships. Keep reading.
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The way the human mind works is it provides material for whatever you input in it. If you let yourselves get sucked into a defeatist mindset just because you are single, you will keep coming up with all these reasons to be unhappy. Say your childhood best friend, college roommate, younger sister, and even your high school nemesis are all getting booed up one after the other.
Seeing them all happy and in love shouldn’t make you feel unlucky or unwanted because, at some point, they were just as single as you are now. As were all the other couples you probably admire. However, it’s easy to forget this simple fact when you’re down, so make a point of reminding yourself that just like it’s their time now, yours will come too.
There’s no way you’ll see others have what you want, and it wouldn’t tug at your heart, even if only a little. That feeling of being happy for your newest engaged friend and being a bit envious of what she has is all too familiar. And no, it doesn’t make you a monster, it makes you human.
It can be even worse if the person that just got hooked was your most relatable single friend. You don’t want to bring up how you feel, so you don’t make their big moment about you. But you need to process these feelings so they don’t end up turning you into an actual bitter person and not beat yourself up for feeling them.
Another way to make your own happiness while your friends are in relationships is to find your own crowd. The truth is that your friends’ relationship status isn’t the only thing that changes when they say yes, the dynamic of your friendship undergoes some too, especially in the beginning.
They have their partner as their new priority, which will inevitably infringe on their availability for you. There is also the potential issue of common ground, which might reduce between you from then on. So to keep up your friendship meter and not have to feel like the odd one out in the crowd all the time, consider making some new friends.
However, the above point doesn’t in any way suggest that you abandon your old friends just because they have someone now. Yes, priorities may have changed, and they may not be able to make it to all your usual hangouts anymore, but you can still make things work if you want.
That might just mean consciously deciding to suffer through hearing them go “we” instead of “I,” but sacrifice is part of friendship too, no?
Even if your friend group has a culture of not letting a new boyfriend or partner come between you ladies, you’ll still need some time. Knowing how all-consuming new love can be, they are likely to be a little behind on their friendship duties during their honeymoon phase.
In that time, you’d also be coming to terms with your feelings and the situation of things going forward. It’s best for all parties involved that you give one another the benefit of the doubt and not conclude that one person is avoiding the other or has malicious intent.
If you are part of a rather large circle, there is no way you can be close to everyone in equal measure. There is always a clique within the squad; those you can tell some things that others in the group aren’t privy to.
So, whether you’re feeling left out, starting to give up on your dating life, or could just use a little bit of loving, confide in your girls (or guys!) That way, they can serve as a support system on lonely days and, hopefully, be understanding enough to know what jokes not to make.
There is a difference between everyone in your college set getting into relationships and all of your friends doing it. While the former can also make you aware of your singleness, it’s even less fun when it hits so close to home you become “the single friend.”
It can almost feel like you’re being stripped naked as each one gets taken. Unfortunately, that’s something you have to get used to when you have friends in relationships. As mentioned, their availability for you would wane at first, so you might have to learn to be okay with seeing less of them.
If you do and share everything with your girls, then gradually become the last single friend standing, that can be a pretty lonely place to be. But if you look at it in a glass half full type of way, it can also be pretty exciting.
Unlike your friends in relationships who now have their partner’s feelings and well-being to consider before making decisions, you have only yourself to answer to. You can choose what you do with your time, space, and energy. You can travel or work or have as much sex as you want unrestrained, among other things.
I’d make as much of this opportunity as you can as you’re going to miss it sometimes when you finally leave singlehood.
You can also take this time as a single person to find/understand/refine who you are as an individual outside of your love life. Do you even enjoy relationships, or do you just like the feeling of love? Do away with that fear of missing out on what those in your friend group have and get to know yourself.
This way, you have a better chance of making better choices in the future whether you end up going down the path of relationships or not.
Do you know how some people say their job is the love of their life and others treat their hobby like their boyfriend? I’m not saying to replace a possible important part of your life (settling down/starting a family) with another one (career, hobbies, adventures, etc.), but it can be a welcome distraction for now.
Finding what you are passionate about outside of your friendships and relationships is one more reason why undergoing that self-defining process is essential.
Once you find that thing you are interested in, you are already luckier than most. And if it’s taking a bit long to be interested enough in anything to push the spotlight away from your dating life, you can settle for the next best thing. That is, finding what pays.
Set and attain new financial and health goals, move up the professional ladder, finish that course you're taking, etc. The point is to rack up so many wins that even if they don’t keep you warm at night, they keep you up in every other place.
Sometimes, all we’re really looking for is that sense of fulfillment, and there’s plenty of ways to get that than as one half of a couple.
Ask yourself this, is your misery really about being single, or are you just being too hard on yourself as usual? As I said, you are the aggregate of what you feed your mind, and if all you think of are reasons why being single is the worst, you can’t escape that feeling.
Perhaps you somehow blame yourself too for where you are now, maybe a past mistake that ended a promising relationship. But remember, beating yourself up over it won’t make the past right, especially if what happened is beyond repair.
So enough of the mean words and self-flagellation, start being as kind to yourself as you hope someone might someday, and you just might find happiness along the line.
In as much as you can try and suck some up for the group, it’s essential to protect your mental space too. While most couples don’t do it out of spite, their way of expressing their love for their partner may be at the expense of the nearest single person.
Those smug couples that think they’ve earned the right to poke in your business, you know the type whose questions never surpass when you’re bringing a man home? Yeah, avoid them, if you can, for your peace of mind.
To be completely honest, being in a relationship can be awesome, but then, it isn’t without its downsides. While you can still be relatively free in love with a mutual agreement with your partner, some things are better experienced unhinged.
Remember what I said above about leaning into the benefits of being single while you are. Plus, some things are better enjoyed as a couple when you have a previous experience to compare it with.
The awkward thing about hanging out with friends in relationships is that their partners are somehow always present. If not physically, their love life is a prominent part of their lives now means most of their stories will somehow include their significant other.
Instead of getting embarrassed or feeling like an outsider because you can’t relate, tell some of yours. A) Variety makes the conversation more fun, and B) you can give the couples something to miss too because believe me, most of them think about what you have.
Just as you can decide to see fewer people who regularly make you feel bad about being single, you can do so for events as well. Those family dinners, Christmas parties, reunions, anniversary parties, and what have you can be, without mincing words, dreadful when you’re the only single one left.
Let’s even say your resident-smug married couples decide not to ask when you’re joining the gang for a change. The mere thought of sticking out like a sore thumb as the only one sitting alone while others are seated beside their plus-ones can be overwhelming at times.
Speaking of events, being the ‘underachieving’ one among family and friends can make one desperate, so be extra careful not to let that happen. And on days that they do get to you, be sure to let it pass before making any permanent life decision.
Let’s say you meet someone after a particularly tough reunion where everyone came with their significant other. Try as much as possible to approach them with a clear head and an open mind, despite the understandable want to skip to the part where you call someone your partner too.
Besides learning more about yourself, it can also help you feel better if you take this time to know what kind of relationship you want. Not all friends change entirely when they start seeing someone, some continue to confide in their single friend like nothing’s changed.
If yours are like that, you can learn from their relationships what you’d like to see in yours as well as what you’d rather nip in the bud.
The longer you stay single, the more time you have to idealize the concept, and before you know it, you’re setting unrealistic standards. While you are playing the supportive friend, you can as well use your friends’ relationship to get a fair idea of what real relationships look like.
On the other hand, it can also be an eye-opener that helps you realize that your standards are not the problem, just that the right person hasn’t come along yet. And that alone can be a joy to discover.
This brings us to this next point, which is the need to quit romanticizing relationships. Falling in love is nice, but it isn’t the cure to all that ails you. Your life will not suddenly become perfect when some guy claims you, and he sure as hell won’t be either.
That fairy tale idea of romance may be the actual cause of your unhappiness instead of being single itself. You might subconsciously believe that the ladies who get their prince charming are more deserving of love than you are, which isn’t in any way accurate.
Societal norms and our social nature can make being single feel like an anomaly. However, not only is it nothing to be ashamed about, it can actually be a source of pride. You can be the one who answers to no one, the one who gets to do what she wants.
The one who always has an exciting story to tell, who has seen it all and knows exactly what she wants. Even if you aren’t single by choice, if you find yourself as one, you might as well own it.
As I always say, if you don’t like something about yourself, do what you can to make it better. I know single people who are completely happy and wouldn’t change a thing about their lifestyle, and I also know those who can’t wait to get someone to call their own.
If you belong to the latter group, it’s in your best interest to put yourself out there so you can improve your odds of finding each other. At the very least, the idea that you are doing something about getting what you want can keep the fear of dying alone at bay.
Then again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not looking forward to a relationship. Let the couples have their fun as they deem fit and live your life on your terms. Likewise, don’t feel bad for craving love and all the feelings it comes with, they don’t make you any less independent or complete.
The goal is to be happy and whatever that means for you is what you should unapologetically pursue, as long as you’re not hurting anyone.
The grass always looks greener on the other side. The same way a single person looks at those in relationships like they have it all, those who are in a relationship look at single people like they are having all the fun.
While experts recommend waiting a month for every year of your last relationship before starting the next one, I say wait till you are ready. Rebounds are nice, but if what you want is a long-lasting, meaningful relationship, it’s best to take the time to heal and completely get over an ex before getting with the next.
You can find fulfillment in other ways, such as your career, hobbies, health, and friendships. It would also help to realize that being single doesn’t make you devoid of love and that romantic relationships aren’t the only kind that counts.
The easiest way to tell if you like someone or you’re just with them because you need someone is to check your attraction to them. How do you feel when you are with and away from them? Can you mention a few things you like about them? Would you still want to be with them when your current mood passes?
Answer these questions truthfully, and you’d be able to judge for yourself.
The closest description I can give of true love is that it feels like trust and stability. You are secure in it as much as the other person. It is not possessive or jealous because it leaves no reason to be. It’s that feeling whereby you’re constantly looking to make your partner’s life better.
I thought of several ways to end this piece and finally settled on the cliché line “happiness comes from within” because it couldn’t be more apt. Your joy is ultimately in your own hands and with the above tips, I have no doubt you’ll do fine. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so kindly leave a comment and share the article if you liked it.