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

Student Life

The art of being single: I just want to know

This week I have a lot to say – so here we go.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written about a variety of topics that deal with the less *glamorous* side of the dating world, where things don’t really go as planned. With pieces like “Let it go,” “It really be like that sometimes,” and, most recently, “Stop overthinking everything,” I got pretty deep into the type of psychological strength it takes to just let things happen when it comes to dating.

And while I’ve become more inclined to take my own advice recently and do just that – just let things happen – there is a gray zone. Sometimes, the hardest part of not being able to just let things happen is the uncertainty: not knowing if the other person is remotely interested and whether or not all your interactions seem like they might mean they’re interested because you’ve overthought every detail. Not knowing if there actually is any chemistry between you or if you’re projecting because you like them, but are maybe too scared to admit it because you’re just trying to let things happen.

It’s being uncertain of if you should take the leap and potentially jeopardize whatever platonic relationship you have with someone. All this is because you’re unsure how they feel about and you don’t want to ruin what you already have but aren’t opposed to potentially having more because the chemistry is there and other people see it too.

It’s like in international relations (I’m a political science major too, okay, bear with me): in an archaic world, realists and liberals hate uncertainty because there’s risk involved. This is also in economics and free-market theories, for all of you who might relate to this by that approach.

Basically, the uncertainty of the situation – of whether they might like you, of whether they’d be down to try to build something with you, if there’s actually chemistry or if you’re projecting – is scary. The “maybe, maybe not” of it all can really wreak havoc on your mental state and can cause even more overthinking, which, as I’ve previously written, we should try to avoid.

If the whole world would just be upfront about what they wanted, we would all be so much better off. Imagine that: someone likes you? They tell you straight up. Don’t feel the same? Tell them. You have a loathing for someone’s entire existence? Woah there, but also, you do you boo, tell them and it probably won’t be such a big deal because everyone would just be telling their feelings all the time.

Honestly, all this is just to say that the gray area in any aspect of life is hard to deal with, but it can really take a toll on your mental state when it comes to relationships. Personally, I would just want to know how people feel about me to avoid the whole guessing game and to undercut all the “maybe, maybe not.”

This brings me to my next point – two for one this week! – in the case that things don’t work out as you hoped and everything goes to shit (re: “Shit happens, routines fail”), just allow yourself to feel. It sounds simple enough, but often we’re upset at ourselves for being so upset about things not working out as we hoped. Instead of being upset over actually feeling an emotion, we should just skip a step and actually just feel everything – and then move on. Trying to prevent yourself from the natural process of reacting to something, especially to something sad or shocking, will only do more harm than good and will also likely cause you to overthink.

SO, to sum all this up: 1) the gray area sucks, so try creating as few as possible to avoid heartbreak; 2) if you get heartbroken, allow yourself to feel and then just move on.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Stop overthinking everything

I’ve been trying to write this article for four days: I know what I want to write about but the words don’t want to come out. I want a specific point to come across but I don’t know how to phrase it, to make it sound eloquent and succinct. 

I can’t stop overthinking.

I don’t have to tell you that overthinking is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself: it creates unattainable expectations, it messes with your perception of reality and it can cause you to feel anxious about many situations.

While I was overthinking how I was going to write this article, it became incredibly difficult for me to even think about what I was doing, about what I actually wanted to say anymore. I was so focused on trying to finish it that it prevented me from starting it.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about this article if this is a column about relationships. Well, this column and the overthinking is also a lot like navigating the dating world and is relevant to relationships.

Rather than overthinking what to write, there’s overthinking when you meet someone new or simply start viewing someone you know in a different light. You know what I’m talking about: when someone starts talking to you more often, when you spend more time together, when you start asking yourself if their lingering hug means they might like you or if it’s just because they’re becoming more comfortable around you.

You start thinking of all the physical cues that someone might show if they like you: are they turning their body towards me on purpose or do they not realize this is a cue? They’re opening up more to me, does that mean they just like and trust me as a friend or might there be something more? They bought me a coffee, but are we “there” yet in our platonic relationship? The tone in their voice changed, they message me more often, they ask for advice – what does it all mean?

All these little questions and observations are a product of overthinking and it’s honestly probably ruining your life. While it may be exciting to think that all these details may mean something, it’s best to just go as if nothing has changed. Yes, some people might try dropping hints if they like you, but you shouldn’t spend all your free time trying to analyze everything to figure out if they might.

Just go with the flow and, if they really like you, the right time will present itself and everything will work out – just like this column.

Student Life

The art of being single: Not every date is a “date”

When you spend time talking to someone and make a plan to meet up, is it a date? Is it just getting together to hang out? How do you know the difference?

A lot of people think that any get together between themselves and their newest interest is a date, but that isn’t necessarily the case. By calling every “date” – a meet-up with a love interest or someone you’re getting to know, in whichever sense – a date, there are certain connotations and expectations. 

With a date, there comes the expectation that this might lead somewhere more than just hanging out with the person. There’s also confusion of what exactly is appropriate as an activity if this is not a date, but just a meet-up; you wouldn’t necessarily go to the movies or out to a nice restaurant with someone you have no interest in pursuing more than platonically, would you? Going bowling, on the other hand, or grabbing a quick drink (alcoholic or not) could be a more platonic activity and not have the same connotations.

Not every “date” is a date. I’ve been on many non-date activities where there was a mutual acknowledgement that it was not a date, that nothing more would come of the time spent together than a good time spent together with good conversation. On the other hand, I’ve met up with people who called it a date because they called every meet-up a date, regardless of their intentions.

The problem is there are expectations that might not be met. If one of the two people thinks it’s a date but the other doesn’t, and this fact comes up during their time together, things can get awkward very quickly. What do they expect from me? What do they mean by “date”? I don’t want them to get the wrong idea. Does that mean they’ll pay for me/I’m expected to pay for them? All these and more are questions that can arise because of a lack of communication.

It is possible for non-dates to turn into dates through a change in activity, i.e. going from getting a coffee to grabbing a meal in a dimly-lit restaurant, to a movie or mini-putting. Again, because certain activities have certain connotations, some are dates while others can simply be platonic. 

Honestly, the best way to avoid confusion about whether your next meet-up is a date or not is to communicate. Talk about your intentions, expectations (in a non-creepy way), or like, straight up say “I want to take you out on a date.” If you’re still not sure while you’re actually doing whichever activity, pay attention to body language. It’s usually a good signal to whether the other person thinks it’s a date or not. And again, you can always just ask if you’re really clueless.

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