Let’s play a fun game. You ready?
Okay, imagine the following scenario:
It’s that Monday morning, you are running slightly late for work, anxious to get that latte to go and catch the very subway that will get you in the door before people start asking where you are. Ah, it's your turn to order and suddenly…
“Hey you! Wow, I have not seen you in forever!”
From behind, a friend (one of those that you have been on good terms with but just lost touch for a while) taps you on the shoulder with a beaming smile.
“Oh wow! So good to see you! How have you been??”
You exchange sweet hugs, chat a bit about the outfit you have on that day, how good you both look (while making sure to place the order so you don’t hold the busy line), what are you doing in this area etc etc. All is cheery and chatty until she or he pops the question:
“So are you seeing someone?”
“No, I am single”
Insert the correct next response from your friend here: [ ]
Actually, you know what. Let’s make this even more interesting.
Say you are currently single.
“So are you seeing someone?”
Now choose the correct answer from below:
- No… I am single.. (blush, mumble the word so nobody can hear you)
- Um, well I had this guy/girl that I was sorta seeing and then.. (confuse your friend with your long history of dating so he/she forgets the original question)
- I AM SO F*CKING SINGLE. DO YOU HAVE ANYONE FOR ME?! (like anyone.. seriously)
- What did you..? What?? I am so sorry! I’ve got to run!! So nice meeting… y.. (voice fades as you rush out of the cafe)
Oh so fun, right?
This scenario happens to us more often than not. Could be with anyone, your co-worker, your parents, your siblings, your gym instructor: people are very interested in other people’s relationship status. And I can bet that eight or nine times out of ten, the “I am single” part will be said with some combination of sadness, guilt, shynes, and (rarely) anger. This response will then be met with some combination of sympathy, consolation, and sometimes shock or surprise (really? You are still single? Why? But seriously.. why?)
Shocking isn’t it? Whatever the situation, scenario, background, the responses do not divert too far from the options and emotions mentioned above.
But seriously, why?
Our society deems being single as either 1) missing out on the “greatest thing of a lifetime” or 2) some kind of problem that needs to be solved fast. For one, the scheming marketers smell this urgency and fear from miles away. See if you recognize these familiar lines:
Are you sad? Unhappy? Lonely? Unsatisfied? Anxious? Grumpy? Bored? (Or any of the negative emotions)
DO NOT FEAR. WE HAVE THE SOLUTION.
Purchase this outfit, spray this perfume, eat this food…(?) to get a boyfriend/girlfriend and you will be happy just like them :)
(Insert photos/videos of hot and happy couple having vacations on a magical island)
Okay, hold up.
Really? Are you sure?
While there are so many scientific and anecdotal statistics to refute the above statement, I first would like to say that being in a relationship can be so great and amazing if you are sharing genuine intimacy, connection, and respect with someone who also reciprocates and values that partnership. There is no greater blessing than having a life partner to go on this journey of life together; however, being in a relationship is and can be just as fantastic, frustrating, frantic, and fabulous & frivolous (as hell!) as being single!
What you gain in a relationship, you miss in a single-ship.
What you enjoy in a single-ship, you relinquish in a relationship.
While you may not be holding onto someone’s hand while watching a movie, you can watch any movie anytime you want in any seat with any snack.
While you may not be enjoying a romantic dinner staring into each other’s eyes, absorbed in each other’s presence, you can sit at your very favourite seat in your favourite cafe or restaurant, savour each bite and sip at your own pace and be immersed in the moment, cherishing you and your time only.
And isn’t this not the best relationship you can have? The one you have with yourself.
In many ways, we are always single whether in a relationship or not. If anything, by choosing to be in a relationship, we are committing ourselves to put more on our responsibility-plate. Now your problem can be their problem and their problem can be yours. So when you chase the next relationship hoping it will make you happier, feel more fulfilled, and more valued, it would be good to remember that the person you attract would most likely be wanting, craving the same thing from you, not with you or for you because like always attracts like.
I too used to be one of the followers of the heart-throbbing yet hauntingly beautiful quote from The Perks of Being a Flower, by Stephen Chbosky: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
While there is immense truth in that, I have personally experienced greater truth and that is this:
“We deserve the love we accept, the love we choose to accept.”
We always have the power to choose. Choose our schools, choose our meals, choose our jobs, and most importantly, choose who to let into our lives. The greatest thing about being single is that this is the time when you can be “choosy”. This is the time when you learn, study, and discover your needs, wants, dreams, desires, and of course, fears, and beautiful flaws that make you-nique. It’s the time when you can be your most authentic, amazing, and fabulous self because you are free and unbound. Once you have figured those out, now you can choose who deserves to be in your life with much more wisdom, love, and generosity.
So next time someone asks, “are you single?” now how about you say:
“Oh my god yes!! I am single and you have no idea how fabulous it is… blah blah” (and tire out the person who asked the question so they leave you alone :)