Student Life

The art of being single: Being okay with being alone

You know when you see family or family friends literally at any time of year and they ask if you have a significant other? And you always tell them no, you do not? How about when you use the fact that you’re busy and growing your career to mask the possibility that you might end up single forever? What about when they finally stop asking because, like you, they also probably came to that same conclusion or they noticed that their questions drove you mad?

Great, glad we’ve all suffered through the same experiences. 

I have come to terms with the fact I will probably only find the love of my life when I’m 32-years-old and thriving in my career, with a nice place to live and plenty of plant and fur babies. I have also come to terms with the fact that, in the meantime, I will probably go through many MANY more failed talking stages, a bunch of heartbreaking “seeing each other” stages and likely a few “I thought this would be it” relationships. 

But the thing I have come to terms with the most is all the intermediary moments where I’ll be alone. 

How many of you, of us, can fully say we’re happy and alright with being alone? With living our lives alone for however long that may be? With not being dependent on someone else? With enjoying our own company and doing things for us and us only, for personal, creative, career growth? While I don’t consider myself perfect in this regard, I’m proud of the growth I’ve had in the last year. I’ve definitely become more comfortable being by myself and I genuinely enjoy it most days.

If that’s not you, there’s nothing like a global pandemic requiring us to practice social distancing and self-isolation with our thoughts for days—weeks!—on end to teach you how to be okay with being alone if you aren’t already. During this quarantine time, practice being okay with being alone. Don’t think of the potential next person you could date once we get out of this situation; don’t try to flirt with every Twitter mutual in hopes of landing one of them as your significant other; don’t search on dating apps for the love of your life.

Practice social distancing and practice emotional stability ON YOUR OWN. 


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria


How to go from being lonely to a lone wolf

Stop romanticizing social interaction and reevaluate what it means to be alone

Call it being woke, spiritual or cynical. The fact is, you read past the title, which tells me you’re likely on a different wavelength than most. Everyone else seems to see the world in technicolor. You see it in hues of grey.

Indeed, people who are most in tune with the complexities of human existence are often the loneliest. We speak half as much as we think, and even then, other people only understand a fraction of the things we say. This can make us feel like we don’t quite fit in anywhere.

But feeling lonely isn’t healthy. It can lead us to dark places. In order to escape the crevices of our own mind, we often opt for… dear Lord… a social life.

We go to parties. Get coffee with a new friend. Hookup with our latest Tinder match. After all, life is short, death is scary, and other people can help us forget all that, right? Not quite. When you’re sensitive to the world around you, loneliness can creep up whether you’re in a room full of people or in bed by yourself.

Which is why we’ve got to stop romanticizing social interaction, and start re-thinking what it means to be alone. As singer Alessia Cara melodiously puts it, lonely people often go out only to find themselves asking: “What am I doing here?” Just moments into something that’s supposed to be casual, loneliness pushes us to surrender, and we find ourselves hanging onto Sia’s metaphorical chandelier (that’s right, “Chandelier” is actually a song about feeling sad while at a party!).

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to undermine how hard it can be to be alone with your own thoughts. However, I am encouraging you to remember that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side; because it’s also sad to look into another person’s eyes, and realize you’re trying to be something you’re not. Or that you’re exhausting yourself in the process of explaining your perspective to people who don’t think like you.

Pop culture has fooled us into believing that a full social calendar is the antidote to loneliness. Not true. It all depends on who you’re with—and because most millennials have equipped their hearts with bullet-proof walls, it can be really hard to connect.

When you stop romanticizing social interaction, you realize that lousy company isn’t actually better than no company. So how can you work through loneliness on your own? First, get creative. Write, draw, go ham on an instrument. Bake a delicious treat you can indulge in later. Once you start creating worlds of your own, you’ll no longer be experiencing solitude, but privacy—a much healthier, and entirely valid way of understanding what it means to be by yourself.

Second, remember that people are generally a bit lonelier, or sadder than they appear. Nobody’s life is perfect. Don’t compare yourself to fronts, especially not those you see on social media. Often the biggest smiles hide the deepest pains.

Finally, remember that loneliness is temporary. Right now, it may seem like you’re destined to be forever alone—but as new chapters emerge in your life, so will new people. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to be a lone wolf. Use moments of privacy to explore your personality. As you delve deeper into your hobbies and interests, you’ll find your true self—the you that will attract better relationships in the future.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin

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