Student Life

The Art of Being Single: Show that you care

Why are you so scared of showing you care? Is it the fear of rejection; that the other person doesn’t feel the same way? Is it because you value your ego more than developing and nurturing actual human connection? Is it because you’re just an ass and don’t care about other people?

Whatever the reason, it’s – and this might be controversial but that’s what we do here – not good enough.

There used to be men (going with this because of the climate of the era) who would literally send photos of themselves and write letters while they were at war to their beloved back home. Men would literally be thousands of kilometres away, on the brink of potentially getting their head blown off, and they still made the effort to show they cared about someone. People literally would die for love – Romeo and Juliet, anyone?

My own grandfather, after asking my grandmother’s father for her hand in marriage and being denied, threatened to lay himself on the train tracks to die if he wouldn’t be able to marry her. He eventually ended up marrying her and they lived a wonderful life together, but do you think that would have happened if my grandfather didn’t show he cared?

Now, I’m not saying you have to go to war and then write love letters to your beloved back home or threaten to kill yourself on the train tracks (seriously, please don’t ever do this) – but show you care. Show that you’re willing to put in the effort for someone, that you care for them, that you’re willing to try everything to be with them.

So many people are afraid of rejection or of having their pride take a hit – but is it worth having fear prevent you from showing someone you care? Is it worth not appreciating someone to the fullest capacity? Is it worth not going all in for someone you care about?

I don’t think so, and you shouldn’t either.

Life is short, people. Show people you care about them. Tell people you care about them. Your pride and ego can adjust, but opportunities to show someone how you feel about them might not present themselves again.

Student Life

The art of being single: You gotta ask for what you want

There’s a cute person in your class you want to ask out on a date? There’s an attractive person at the bar/club you want to hook up with? There’s someone you wouldn’t mind platonically making out with? You’re absolutely in love with someone and wish you could be with them forever? 

Cool! But what are you gonna do about it?

The amount of people who want to be with someone – in any capacity – but don’t do anything about it BOGGLES MY MIND. Do you think you’re going to get what you want if you just admire someone from afar or don’t go for what you want? No, you won’t.

That stranger in the club likely can’t hear what you’re saying; they definitely can’t read your mind. That cute person in your class can probably see all the subtle hints you’re leaving, but something likely won’t come from it if you don’t make an effort. Not sure if that person you know is down to fool around? You’re not going to find out by not asking, now, are you?

So many of you – yes, I’m calling you all out – are so afraid of rejection or of your pride and ego being even remotely dismantled that you don’t put yourself out there to get what you want. You won’t get what you want in love, in life, in your career, literally anything, if you don’t put your pride and fear of rejection on the back burner and ask for what you want.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? They say no. And that’s not the end of the world. There doesn’t have to be any awkwardness, anger, animosity, whatever else, if things don’t work out. We’re all adults; if the answer is no, or if it was yes but it didn’t end up working out as planned, learn from it and move on.

It’s time for everyone to stop being scared of failing or “potentially ruining what you have” and to just ask for what you want. You never know if you’re going to succeed if you don’t try. Also, consent is sexy, people! At all stages and circumstances, consent is sexy and necessary.

On the note of trying, though, if you tried and someone is not interested, don’t keep asking. Good for you for having asked for what you wanted, but also be aware and receiving of other people’s responses too – or else things can get awkward.

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: It really be like that sometimes

Glances from across the room. Shared shy smiles. Lingering looks. Increasingly longer conversations. More time spent together. Shared jokes, conversations, moments.

A growing feeling in your chest when you’re around them, butterflies in your stomach; soon, they’re always on your mind. Finally admitting to yourself that you’re starting to like them, that you want to spend more and more time together.

You think they might feel the same; you’re ready to test the waters and ask them out. But right as you gear up and get the courage to do so — as if by a cruel joke curated by the universe or god or whatever — you find out they’re taken.

You start to feel embarrassed for flirting with them, ashamed that you didn’t realize it sooner, stupid that you thought you were the only one in their life, and maybe, if you fell really hard really fast, like your life is over and there’s nothing left to live for.

Don’t think any of these things, though. Be kind to yourself in the moments and days after this realization. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about liking someone and trying to show them, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you didn’t know they were taken in the first place, there’s no reason to feel stupid for thinking you were the only one in their life.

The most important thing to do once you realize someone is not interested in you in that way is to make a decision: are you really going to let the fact that they’re taken/seeing someone come in the way of the relationship you’ve built with them? If you really like them as a person, the answer is likely going to be no. Obviously, though, just be sure to understand that there are boundaries because they’re taken. If your feelings still come in the way of maintaining a friendship with this person, call a timeout: spend some time away from them and try to forget about them in that way.

A lot of the time, when you like someone, your brain forgets to function. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the moments shared with another person, in the time spent together, in the attention they give you. It’s not too difficult to get wrapped up in the idea of liking them, wondering if they might like you too.

These are things that happen — and they will likely happen a lot — and it’s just part of life.

Student Life

The Art of Being Single: Let it go

Leave them alone. Stop thinking about them, stop checking up on them, stop wishing you could go back and do things differently – let it go.

It can sometimes feel like there are two of you sharing the same body. The first is the rational part of you that has left someone in the past. That part of you that got attached to someone you thought was great, that you had so much in common with, that you were falling for. The part of you that got hurt by careless words and actions, your heart stripped of its integrity and your peace of mind shattered. That’s the part of you that, because you suffered through a painful time, knows that now you’re better off without the person that hurt you.

Then there’s the second part of you: the part that’s irrational and does things without thinking. Despite knowing all the pain a person put you through; despite all the suffering you dealt with on your own because of them; despite them being no good for you and you being much better off now than ever, this is the part of you that’s stuck on the attachment you used to have to them.

The thing with having these two parts is that, while the first part is what you lead your life with now, the second one creeps in sometimes – and usually when you least expect it. While you’re out in public or alone in your private spaces, you may be living your life rationally, maybe eating soup or reading a book, and then something might trigger your irrational part to peek through. Next thing you know, you’re searching up that toxic person on Instagram or thinking about every moment you had with them, wishing things had turned out differently.

Here is a call-out to your irrational part: stop it. You know you’re doing more harm than good. You know you’re wasting your time. You know this is the worst possible thing you could be doing for your sanity and for your personal growth. No, you don’t miss them; you’re just trying to replicate the feeling you had back when you were with them – talking to them, thinking about them all the time. 

Remember that you have the rational part of you, the part that knows what’s best, and that thinking about the toxic past isn’t what’s good for you. So be rational and stop letting toxicity from the past hinder your life now.

Let it go.

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.

Student Life

The art of being single: Cuffing season is here!

So cuffing season is upon us and everyone seems to be frantically trying to find someone to hold on to for the upcoming months. Cuffing season, if you don’t already know, is the time when everyone is trying to settle into a relationship of some kind. It may seem like it’s made up, but cuffing season is actually a thing.

According to a Cosmopolitan article, cuffing season is from October to March. This happens because of the cold weather outside — temperatures drop, days become shorter and there’s less sunshine, and people’s testosterone levels rise. So, what’s the logical thing to do? Cuff up with someone for six months, apparently.

Very honestly, because that’s how I do this column thing, I’ve never been cuffed and the idea of trying to find someone for this period wasn’t so present in my life. It’s also never really been a prevalent thing in my circle or even in my general surroundings. I’ve realized that’s because I’ve mostly been around people who have been in long term relationships or just couldn’t care less about being with someone, regardless of the time of year.

But this year, things are different: those who were in long term relationships are no longer, those who didn’t care about being with someone suddenly do, and I’ve made new friends who now think of it too. It feels like there’s a shift in the air — people are searching everywhere to try to find someone to keep them warm and cuffed until March. 

So where does that leave me? It stresses me out.

I already can’t seem to find someone during the “regular” season (literally always) so how am I expected to keep up with the high, fervorous and tension-filled time that is cuffing season? Sure, I could just go about my life like I have for the last couple of months, waiting for the universe to plant someone at my doorstep, but I’m no different than anyone else — the cold weather, lack of sunshine and incessant seeing everyone else cuffed up just makes me want to be cuffed up too. 

But if you’re like me and never get cuffed, fear not. Remember, people get cuffed because they’re lonely and cold. All you need to get through cuffing season alone is a bunch of blankets, cozy socks, all your favourite movies, all of the snacks, and your friends. If I can get through cuffing season, so can you.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Know that you’re not alone

What do you do when everyone around you is getting in a relationship, always going on dates, in multiple people’s DMs? What do you do when, even in a crowd full of people, in a room full of friends, surrounded by a family that loves you, you feel all alone? 

Relationships are weird. You spend so much time going about your life, living it alongside those around you in a neat little existence, minding your business and taking things one step at a time. One day, you meet someone – you bump into them on the street, you’re in the elevator together, you follow each other on Twitter, you match and start chatting on a dating app – and your life changes.

No longer are you simply living your life in a little bubble following a neat little existence alongside your friends and family. Your life now revolves, in some respect, around the person you start talking to, and eventually start dating. It’s great, life feels full, love is everywhere around you.

But what if you’re that friend on the sideline, on the outside of all this? The one that was living that neat little existence beside you, with no sight for a relationship anywhere nearby. What if you’re the friend who’s single while everyone else around you is living their best taken/dating life? Obviously, you’re happy for your friends, your family, whoever it is that found love – but what about you?

The idea that the more love there is around you, the more love you feel might be nice in theory. But it can feel very lonely when everyone else around you is experiencing love. Yes, there are my friends and family, maybe even some strangers, who love me; yet nothing can fill that little void you feel when you’re missing out on it all.

Yes, I know that the people around me love me and care for me, but not having someone to love more than in the capacity of just a friend or your family can be quite lonely. It’s not the worst thing in the world, of course, but it’s still a prevalent feeling.

Yes, I know it may suck for all it’s worth, but really try to focus on the positives: at least you have friends and family and maybe even strangers who love and appreciate you. Know that, while you may feel alone when it seems like everyone else in the world has someone except for you, you aren’t really alone. You’re not the only one feeling that way, your emotions are valid, and your time to find that love you see everyone else around you have will come one day – just maybe not today.

Student Life

The art of being single: No more skinny love!

The ‘talking stage.’ Just ‘seeing someone’. Not ‘officially’ dating. No labels, no expectations, no limitations. This world of “what are we?” where no one really asks for fear of coming off as desperate, or no one is actually in a relationship because of x, y, or z. This language has become so standard in our generation; in the culture around us.

I don’t understand any of it.

I mean, obviously, I understand what they mean in the context of dating and navigating the single/relationship world. But I don’t understand why it’s become so normalized.

In the past week, I’ve had conversations with friends about relationships they have that sound a lot like they’re with the other person, calling each other bae (which is another thing altogether, but anyway). But they’re not. They’re not official – they’re just seeing each other, they’re not putting a label on it.

It’s one thing if there’s no romantic connection in the relationship, or if it’s purely a physical, casual thing. What I’m talking about is skinny love, defined by the Urban Dictionary as “a type of relationship between two people that are very in love with each other, or are crushing big time on the other; but are far too embarrassed to express their feelings. The relationship is ‘skinny’ because they have yet to come out and explain their true feelings.”

I’m talking about the relationships between people who have been “seeing each other” (again, this is a whole other thing) exclusively for a significant amount of time and who’ve said “I love you” – but won’t say that they’re together. I’m talking about people that spend forever in the talking stage with constant reassurance that this is serious, this is for real – but it never progresses past that. I’m talking about the people who have been exclusive with someone for a while – but still won’t label their relationship as official.

If this is you, I’m calling you out: what are you afraid of? Stop hiding behind shaky words and make things official with the person you want to be with. No more skinny love, my friends. Profess your affection, make things official, go live a fulfilled romantic life. Life is too short to do things halfway.

And before someone comes at me for saying no one should need to “claim” someone to be “theirs”, think about how reassurance and knowing you’re secure in a relationship is necessary, and how it makes you feel safe, loved, and wanted.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: You can still love someone else even if you don’t love yourself

I’m not going to come on here and tell you that you need to learn to love yourself before you could ever be loved or before you can love someone else, because that’s problematic for a few reasons. 

First, it harbours the idea that people aren’t worthy of love if they don’t love who they are by themselves. You don’t have to love yourself all the time or have all your life figured out to be loved; you can still be a work in progress.

Second, this ideology of loving yourself before you should ever be in a relationship with someone else is toxic. Loving yourself is a process; a lifelong journey. There are probably days where you think to yourself, “yeah, I’m pretty damn awesome.” There are also days where you might not like yourself very much, for whatever reason.

Both of these reasons and everything in between are totally normal and they’re all part of living with yourself every day for your entire life. Neither of these or anything in between should affect your ability to be in a relationship.

While there are these two problems with this ideology, there is also a silver lining. No, you don’t have to love yourself before you can love someone else, but it’s important to still learn to love yourself. The same effort you’re going to put into a relationship is also needed for yourself.

Whether it’s by taking time to yourself to really get to know you, or it’s going on solo dates to your favourite coffee shop, to a new movie that came out, to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try; or even if it’s telling yourself reaffirming phrases everyday for the rest of your life. All of these are just some examples of how you can learn to love yourself. But these don’t, in any way, conclude the journey of self-love, nor do they mean you can’t still be in a relationship while you’re on it.

The whole point of this is that you can still (if you choose) be in a loving relationship with someone else even though you’re not in a loving relationship with yourself. You’re allowed to love and be loved by someone else while you’re trying and learning to love yourself. You’re allowed to be happy with someone else even if you’re not necessarily always happy with yourself. You’re not unworthy of feeling love or being in love if you don’t love yourself. The important thing is that you don’t give up on trying.


The art of being single

I debated sharing this with everyone, with however many strangers and my mom (hi mom) are going to read this, but I think there’s a valuable point to my story, so just hear me out.

This is the first summer in about four years that I wasn’t on a dating app. That doesn’t seem like a very big deal and, in theory, it isn’t. But when you spent many years on and off dating apps trying to find someone you connect with, I guess it kind of is.

In the first issue of The Art of Being Single for 2019-20, I wrote about how I’m a go-getter in all aspects of my life, dating and love included. All my time on dating apps over the last few years have been to potentially find someone I would maybe spend my life with (big claim, yes I know, but it does happen!)

If you’ve been following along with my column, or if you know me in real life, you know that my search over the years has been futile. Sure, I’ve spoken to and gotten to know a lot of cool, interesting people, but also some people that, looking back at now, I wish I hadn’t invested so much of my time in.

I’m not going to say that I necessarily regret spending so much time on dating apps over the years, because every single one of those people (and trust me, there’s been a lot, all who’ve eventually ghosted) have moulded me into who I am today. Each person has left me with memories, with inside jokes I still laugh at sometimes, with things that remind me of them in everyday life. They’ve all helped me know what I want and don’t want, what I like and dislike, how to maneuver through the world of dating. All of these people have shaped my view on the dating world and made me into who I am today.

So, this was the first summer in a long time that I wasn’t on a dating app. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t wasting my time swiping left and right, updating my profile to sound interesting, engaging in conversations with people that would end up ghosting at the end. This was the first summer that I wasn’t completely engrossed by my phone looking at profile after profile trying to look for love.

This summer, I felt free. And you should try it sometime too.


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