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: Having patience vs. wasting your time

Last week, I saw a tweet pop up on my timeline that said “you gotta know the difference between being patient and wasting your time.”

While both may involve waiting on someone or something to come around or to change, there is a difference between being patient and wasting your time. It may not always seem like there is much that distinguishes the two, but the difference lies in what the end goal is and if you have any control over the outcome.

If you’re interested in someone but they say they aren’t ready for a relationship, believe them and let them be. Conversely, if you see that someone is interested in you but you’re not ready for a relationship, don’t lead them on, no matter how interested you may be in them as a person.

This might be controversial—so please don’t come for me—but I don’t think there’s such a thing as the right person at the wrong time. If it seems like it’s the wrong time, it just means it’s the wrong person, no matter how right it may seem at first. People tend to forget that there’s more than just being interested in someone for it to be “right.” Think about your mental stability, your emotional availability, your willingness to commit to someone—when it comes to people’s feelings, yours or another person’s, don’t half-ass it because that just ends badly for at least one of the people involved.

What does this have to do with knowing there’s a difference between having patience and wasting your time? Keep an eye out for these things to know where you stand with someone. If someone is showing interest but isn’t making the effort, let it be. If someone says they’re not ready to embark into a new relationship, let them be. If you’re only interested in someone for what they do and not them as a person, let them go.

What’s it like being patient, then? It’s being around them and feeling yourself become happy. It’s feeling their energy shift after a few days or weeks of seeing each other regularly, whether in a group or on an individual basis. It’s also sharing some tender moments and not feeling rushed or pressured. It can be spending so many nights cooped up in a car having late night chats, and your favourite thing about it all is the way their eyes smile when you look at them, or the way their hugs are a bit tighter every time you say goodbye.

And sometimes, it’s having a mutual friend that knows what both of you are too afraid to admit to each other.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Rejection

How do you deal with being around people you’ve rejected? Better yet, how do you deal with being around people who’ve rejected you?

Were you rejected by someone that you asked out from your class and then had to spend the next 10 weeks in a group project with them? Did you turn down someone that you see on a regular basis, such as at your local coffee shop or the gym? Did you become close with someone, shoot your shot, were rejected then remained friends? How about the contrary situation where you become friends with someone, very clearly have chemistry with them, shoot your shot, get rejected then never speak again? Well, if any or all of these scenarios have happened to you and you’re trying to navigate being rejected or rejecting someone, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you are the rejected or the rejecter, I think the same can be said for people in either position. The first thing to try to tackle is understanding the external circumstances, i.e. the possible previous relationship you had with this person or the routine you had developed with or around them. Do you absolutely have to be around this person again? Do either of you make it awkward when you—if you—interact? Is there bitterness on either end about things not working out as hoped? Truly, at the end of it all, does any of it matter?

The second thing to consider is the internal circumstance, i.e. how mature you are. This might be calling some people out but, hey ho, someone has to: if you cannot deal with being rejected or rejecting someone that you have to be around after the fact, get your head out of your ass and be mature about it.

If you are the one being rejected, don’t take it too personally—unless they’re bashing your entire existence, in which case, kick their ass—and don’t let it affect your day-to-day life. If you’re not mature enough to do so, I also have this to say: don’t make your feelings other people’s problems. Own up to your actions and emotions and don’t take it out on the other person for being honest with you. If you’re the one doing the rejecting and the other person makes you feel like shit for it, don’t. Rejection is a natural part of socialization and you shouldn’t feel bad for being honest.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Expectations Pt. 2

I’m no stranger to writing about expectations: how they can lead to overthinking certain relationships and encounters, how they can leave you with unrealistic perspectives of people and situations, how they can just generally crush your soul, ruin your life and cause eternal instability and turmoil. In short, I think expectations suck and we should try to live life without them.

Having expectations, at least in my opinion, right when you meet someone, is a dangerous game to be playing. You don’t know this person’s personality, their attitude, the way they handle bad situations, how they treat customer service employees, if they litter, etc. All of these are very important things to consider, but that you (most likely) do not have access to. What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. Where they’re at in their lives, where they’ve been, what they’ve gone through.

What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. How many times does your heart skip a beat when you lock eyes with someone for the first time and their smile melts your insides? Exactly.

It’s easy to get swept up in the feeling and start overthinking things, start building up expectations in your mind of who this person is, what they may be like, what type of relationship you may want to have with them. It’s even more difficult to stop these things from happening when you just find them so damn cute.

To top it all off, it’s even more difficult to control your mind from creating expectations when other people jump on board—it’s one thing to talk yourself down from thinking something because you may say you’re overreacting or it’s all in your head. But when other people—especially your friends, your mutual friends—acknowledge some type of chemistry, you might think you should just save yourself the trouble and yeet yourself off a building. Don’t!

What do you do to prevent expectations from bursting in like they own the place and blowing up all chances of being mentally stable while you get to know this person? I was recently told to not have high hopes but also to keep hope—it’s that fine line of being able to go with the flow in reality and stopping yourself from overthinking and creating expectations in your mind.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: breaking up over text

Four years ago, I was broken-up with over text. It was a weekend, Feb. 12 to be exact.

My dad found me crying in my bed that morning when I read a reply of “I’m sorry but I lost feelings for you” to my previous night’s question along the lines of “what’s wrong/is everything okay?” because he was ghosting me. I was sobbing and didn’t know why that had happened because, just the week before, he had told me he loved me.

You may be wondering why I’m bringing up something that happened so long ago. You may also be thinking that I shouldn’t even think about it, give him any thought or maybe you think I’m crazy for still thinking about this, years later.

The reason why I’m bringing it up is to make a point. This happened four years ago and I still think about it, and I’m writing this because it stuck with me in a way that it shouldn’t have. 

While a text message is a way of communicating to someone that you’re thinking of them at that moment, or as a means of getting a message across quickly, it’s not the only way it can be used. In this case, a text message breaking-up with someone feels like a slap in the face. It felt like I wasn’t worth much more than a few seconds in his thoughts, I was nothing more than a quick message he relayed and dodged the consequences of, since I wasn’t there in front of him.

Four years ago, someone non-explicitly told me I wasn’t worth their time anymore, either as their girlfriend or as a human being with feelings that should have been taken into consideration. Being broken up with through text—a few days before Valentine’s Day to say the least—made me feel undeserving of being loved, of receiving respect. Most importantly, it made me feel unvalued, undignified and disposable.

Four years ago, I was broken-up with over text. Since then, I have grown up, I have learnt that I am worthy of love, respect, of having dignity, and have the right to demand it. Just don’t break up with someone over text; it will likely affect them more than you think and stay with that person for years to come. If you’re mature enough to have a relationship, be mature enough to break up with someone face to face.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria 

Student Life

The art of being single: Expectations

Why do people have so many expectations? 

If you’ve been following along since the beginning, or if you know me in real life, then you know that I used to use dating apps to try to find ~the love of my life~. I would spend hours upon hours swiping left and right, matching with many strangers, chatting with some of them, getting further than simple small talk with only a handful. I’d get attached to two or three, spending countless days and/or weeks talking to them on the daily, hoping that one of them, nay, expecting that one of them would be “the one.”

Extreme? Perhaps—at least I’ve acknowledged it and learned from my past, right? But even without the perhaps extreme nature of my previously delusional thinking, expectations in the dating world, well in general, are real and they are a cause for unnecessary stress, dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Why do people have so many expectations of another person? Why is there this idea that if you’re attracted to someone, you have to date or hook up immediately to satiate your innate, primal hunger? Why does so much time have to be dedicated, especially right at the start, to spending every minute of every day talking to them, getting to know them, seeing if they’re worthy, or even worth being with at all? Why is it that, if you like someone so much that there’s undeniable, palpable tension that can be seen from a mile away, you have to consider everything else: school, work, family, friends, etc.? Why do expectations rely on the circumstances you’re in?

If you find yourself attracted to someone, if you want to get to know them more, if you want to maybe even end up dating them, just go with the flow. The more expectations you put on yourself, on others and on situations, the more you put on the line and the more you risk losing or messing up.

Just talk, take things easy, hang out—with no expectations. I’ve learnt it and I’m here to pass my wisdom (lol) along to you all. Live life with an idea of what you want—I’m not saying you should abandon your goals/dreams/aspirations for the end goal—but be willing to go with the flow, to take things in stride and live with no (at least less) expectations for the journey to get there.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Dating is exhausting

Dating is exhausting.

The pre-date chatting that can go on for as little as one day to as long as a few weeks—let’s face it, even if this might not be ideal, we’re adults and life gets hard to schedule sometimes. There’s also the setting up an actual date, getting ready for the date, going on the date, talking to your date, maybe arguing about who’s going to pay for the date and then doing this all over again a few times while you try to decide if you actually like this person. Sometimes you can know right away, but how do you know this is the right person out of all the people you’re talking to?

Yes, other people because why would you put all your eggs in one basket? How do you know all this time and energy spent on one person is going to work out? You don’t. So while all this is going on with one person, you’re also trying to balance talking to other people, setting up other dates, trying to schedule all these things in the same week alongside your classes, job, homework, family and social life. Whew. Just trying to manage all these things can be physically exhausting.

Dating is hard, yo. Even if you end up going on a few dates with someone to try to figure out if you like them, like, how do you know how long that’s going to take? How long do you want to spend talking to/seeing just one person you’re not entirely sure about? Again, you don’t. It’s all so exhausting trying to figure out who you like and if they’re worth all the time you’re spending while you’re going on dates, but also whether or not you actually want to date them, as in be with them, long term.

Dating is also scary. Through all these dates, you’re spending all this time talking to people, opening up to them, divulging parts of yourself, your interests, hobbies, day-to-day life, you talk about your family, your friends, your goals, dreams, blah blah blah—over and over again.This too can be exhausting; trying to gauge how much you’re going to trust someone, what you want to tell them, what parts of yourself you want to keep away until you decide if you actually want to be with them. All these things can take a toll on your mental and emotional capacities. 

So why do we keep going on dates? Well, I assume it’s because you want to end up with someone, or maybe you just want to add a little bit of extra ~spice~ in your life. Either way, if you decide you’re too tired and want to take a break from dating, you do you boo; we’re out here supporting you.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Circumstances

Not the right timing. Not the right feelings. Not part of the plan. Not what I had in mind. Not what I’m looking for. Not in that way. Not in a million years. Maybe in four months. Maybe if things were different.

Whether it’s that cute girl you work with that you have undeniable chemistry with, that handsome guy in your class with the dreamiest eyes, that friend you started developing feelings for after spending so much time together, circumstances can make or break any situation.

Everything can go according to plan, you can be ready to shoot your shot, you can be certain of your feelings after spending weeks trying to convince yourself otherwise. You can have an inkling that they might like you too, that everything might work out for once, so you can stop shooting your shot to no avail for the same reason every time. Maybe this time, things will go right and you don’t have to hear “I like you too but I’m seeing someone else/I don’t want to ruin what we have/I don’t see you in that way.” Or maybe it’s the right person at the wrong time: they’re newly dating, you’re moving away, they’re in a long term relationship.

As I was struggling to come up with an idea for this week, the circumstances changed—literally. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “circumstances” more in my life than this past week. Maybe it was a reminder that, no matter how much you plan for things to happen—or for nothing to happen at all—the universe (or God or whatever you believe in) has a funny way of showing you who’s boss.

One of my favourite relationship analogies relates to lines: people can be like parallel lines, spending their whole lives living alongside each other but never intersecting. They can also be like perpendicular lines, that cross paths once and never again. Both of these situations are a blessing and a curse; they depend on the circumstances of each line and how they’re meant to act in relation to another.

You may want to be a perpendicular line with someone but the circumstances are not right so you’re stuck being parallel lines forever. Sometimes, that’s more of a blessing than a curse because they likely weren’t meant to be in your life the way you’d hoped. While it’s okay to be sad or upset about things not working out according to plan, circumstances can change and your parallel line with one person can turn into a perpendicular line with someone else.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: The fear of being alone

Romance is one of my favourite genres of movies — shocking, I know.

As I was watching the Netflix original The Last Summer last week, Maia Mitchell, who plays Phoebe in the movie alongside KJ Apa’s Griffin, said something that made me pause the movie and scatter for my notebook and pen: “I fear whether I’m even capable of love or if I’m just destined to observe it for the rest of my life.”

If you’re new here, hi, my name is Kayla and I have an existential crisis every few days.

This one line, which took up maybe 13 seconds of the movie, summed up my whole dilemma with finding love. You know how people, usually those a generation older than you, always tell you to slow down, to not rush things because you’re young, you have time for everything to work out, to find love? Those people stress me out because how do they know?

They don’t.

I have so many people in my life who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and who are still alone. I have family members whose lives probably went very differently than what they planned or hoped for. Sure, they might be happy but they also might not be; they may have just adapted to what life threw at them because they had no choice other than to accept it and move on.

What does this have to do with the movie, you may ask? If you go back and comb through my previous articles, or if you know me in real life, then you know that I’ve struggled with going after what I want and just letting things happen the way they’re supposed to. I always simply chalked it up to the kind of person I am, to my drive and character — but it’s more than that.

There aren’t many things in life that I want more than to find love, to marry someone and to have a family of my own. This one line in this cheesy teen romance movie brought these two things together — seeing so many of the people in my life alone and struggling with letting go of going after the things I want. I fear not being able to experience love for myself, of being destined to only observe it from those around me.

So to those people that ask me why I’m so worried, that say I should just let things happen the way they’re meant to, that I’m young and have my whole life ahead of me — you’re wrong. Life doesn’t work out the same for everyone so bare with me while I fear never being able to be in love while I have to watch everyone else around me have what I want so badly.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Getting over someone you never dated

You spend weeks thinking about them, admiring them, flirting with them, talking for hours on end, sharing memes, tagging each other on random Facebook posts.

You go on dates, pouring your heart out to them, sharing your hopes and aspirations. You start to fall for this person, who you’re only “talking to” and you’re left with the fantasy of what it will be like once you end up officially together.

Except, that never happens.

All of a sudden, messages dwindle down, they’re suddenly busy, they stop paying attention, ignoring your approaches. They might even ghost you. All of a sudden, the potential of being anything more than two people in the “talking stage” gets thrown away, discarded like the butt of a cigarette.

How do you get over this type of rejection? How do you get over someone you never dated?

Dating culture has become increasingly hard to navigate. More than being together or not, there is an entire spectrum of labels in between: the talking stage, seeing each other, friends with benefits, fuck buddies, dating. All these labels make it more difficult to know which one applies to you because lines, boundaries and what you think you mean to someone versus what you actually mean to them all become blurred.

So how do you get over someone you never dated? Someone you spent hours a day talking to, weeks opening up to, months falling for. It’s easier said than done to simply get over it, move on; there’s no sense in saying it’s your fault for getting attached too easily, for fantasizing about wanting something serious with someone.

It feels like every aspect of dating culture in this society isn’t taken seriously. Why is it so strange that someone wants something serious? Why is it odd to want to plan a future with someone? Why can our emotions constantly get pushed to the side once someone new comes along? How can we move on after we put our all into someone who didn’t end up feeling the same for us because of a stupid label that allowed them to think they could walk over us any way they liked?So the question remains: how do you get over someone you never dated? While it may be easier said than done to just get over it and move on, there’s not much else you can do. I’m a firm believer that people will make an effort to keep you in their life if they truly want you in it, so there’s no point fighting to stay when they made it clear they don’t want you.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single

Welcome to the final column of the year!

In January, I started this column as an outlet for me to yell about my dissatisfaction with dating culture. These past 11 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions and of real life experiences of dates I have gone on, of boys I have fallen for, that have broken my heart, taught me lessons about men, about dating, about being single and looking for love in a hookup culture.

This column has been the place for me to explain different aspects of dating, to give advice on how to handle being single, to share my experiences and personal anecdotes with however many readers actually read these 400 words every week. Those 15 or so minutes every week have been the most liberating of my week.

This past year has taught me how to let go of toxic people, how to make an effort for the people you like, to shoot my shot unapologetically, to show people how I feel, and most importantly that, no matter what happens, good or bad, everything happens for a reason and it’s all a part of the art of being single.

Thank you to all my readers for sticking through my rants, my hatred for the shitty things that happen within dating and hookup culture, my sad moments, my life lessons, my maybe terrible advice—I’m not really sure what I’m doing but thank you for putting up with it all.

Before we come back in 2020, here’s a roundup of some of the most important lessons—all in my opinion obviously—that I’ve written and want to share once again. If you want to shoot your shot but are afraid of doing so, read “Just do it—just shoot your shot.” If you want to understand more about how ghosting affects people, read “Ghosting, bad dates, and trying again” or “Accepting not knowing why you’ve been ghosted.” If you’re looking for how to get over someone, take a gander at these articles: “Don’t give up on finding your person” or my first ever article “Accepting that it’s okay to not be the one.

I’ll see you all in the new year with more advice and life lessons. Until then, have a great holiday season, make the most of the time  off, do what’s best for you, and remember to keep making an art of being single.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Finals season and procrastination

Ah finals season: the final grind to the end of the semester, the last stretch until freedom from schoolwork and classes for just a couple of weeks.

This time is marked by the multiple 10-page or more term papers done the day before, professors cramming the last few topics from the syllabus into the last lecture, and then the beginning of studying for final exams in a few weeks.

If you’re anything like me, it’s also a time that is marked by the most procrastination of the semester.

I find anything to do other than my assignments: tweet way too much about how I hate my life, end up on random Russian chef pages after spiraling through Instagram’s explore page, purge my closet/makeup/Facebook friends, stare at a wall while having an existential crisis (that happens a lot).

If I weren’t on a dating app hiatus, I would also be using my procrastination time to swipe right and match with fellow Concordians also using dating apps as a way to procrastinate. One guy a few years ago gave me an idea for a column, and another one at the end of last semester offered me their charger as my laptop was going to die less than an hour before I had to submit a paper (guess who procrastinated and waited until the last minute).

Safe to say, everyone was just using dating apps as a way to procrastinate until the hallowing anxiety and overwhelming stress of a looming deadline shift your butt into drive to get your assignments done.

At the start of last week, I was severely contemplating redownloading Tinder or Bumble just to pass the time – I was bored and really didn’t want to write my paper that was due the next day.

I tweeted that I was thinking about it and my friends came to the rescue, reminding me why I wasn’t using them in the first place. They made good points: I had come so far, it’s not worth my time, and a stranger/now mutual also slid into my DMs to remind me why I deleted these apps in the first place. I was quickly brought back to reality and I realized that, while I wanted to procrastinate until the stress kicked my butt into gear, I didn’t want to spend my time aimlessly swiping and landing on matches that I wouldn’t talk to after finals season came to an end.

Find a better way to procrastinate – maybe take a nap instead. Or, you know, just do your work, kids.

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