With all the holidays, birthdays and sports events over the last few months, I have had a packed social schedule. I've talked about finding a new significant other and how to focus on yourself as a stronger, improved person, but as I raced from one event to the next, I realized that sometimes being single is just great!
My friend, Danielle, whose boyfriend recently ended their relationship agreed.
"When I had a boyfriend, we would sometimes go out just to make time for our friends," she said. "I often looked forward to the end of the night because I'd be more excited to spend time alone with my boyfriend. Even though I'm not ready to date anyone seriously, now I'm more excited for the beginning of the night because I just can't wait to go out with my friends."
When you go to a party or a mixer as a single person, you don't have to worry about your significant other having a good time, and you don't have to be concerned that he or she will get jealous if you talk to someone of the opposite sex. Instead, you just have to think about yourself.
If you are having a bad time, you can leave. If you're having a blast, you can stay out all night. In fact, when else are you able to talk to everyone at a party, instead of just hanging on the wall with your date? When else can you be whoever you want to in conversations with new people, exploring aspects of your personality that often seemed to fall asleep when you are in a long-term relationship?
After watching my recently single friend, Miriam, mingle at a party, I realized that it's only when you are single that you get to have one of those magical nights where every guy can be interesting and every conversation has the potential to lead to something amazing and new. In addition, you know that you look great because you took some extra time and effort, and you also feel great because an entire room showers you with attention.
Miriam also just ended a very serious relationship when her boyfriend took an extremely selfish turn. She had no interest in being single before the breakup, but there's been nothing nicer than watching her realize that she's an amazing catch -- and the boys are noticing! There's something wonderful about reinventing yourself, getting exited about what is to come, and going out having no idea what the night may hold in store.
Miriam is remembering that there is much more to her than just what came out around her ex-boyfriend. Though she didn't meet anyone she wanted to date at the party, she acknowledged that she talked to more people than she would have if a boyfriend were present.
She also admitted that there have been social gatherings in the past that she would have passed up. After all, what would be the point of meeting a new guy if she already had one?
Danielle, on the other hand, has not been single since she started dating at the age of 16. She went from one relationship to the next, and is learning what it's like to be single from scratch.
"I've never had to be alone because there was always someone there, to go home to or be with on the weekends," she said. "I need to learn how to be alone. I need to learn how to have fun by myself."
To focus on herself, Danielle has been going to the gym, reading her backlogged pile of magazines and books, and is planning a spring trip to Vegas and a week down the shore in the summer with her friends.
"If I still had a boyfriend, I probably wouldn't be doing any of this," she said. "It's not that I didn't spend time with my friends -- I never lost touch with them. But now I don't have to run any of my plans by my boyfriend."
Many of us think we can't be alone, and so settle for relationships that don't make us happy. Yet you must truly be comfortable with yourself before you bring someone else into the mix.
It's very important to enter a relationship happy because your problems and self-esteem issues will follow you. If you aren't yet ready to go out, start by hanging out in your home alone. Rent a movie, take a bubble bath, play video games or even talk on the phone.
Learning to take pleasure in being alone is a process that we all go through. You first need to accept that changes can be good.
Now is the time to focus on activities and life decisions that you forgot about or put on hold when you were consumed in the relationship. If you have been thinking about taking a job in a new city or a job with unusual hours, getting a dog or cat, or going back to school, then now is the time to do so.
Maybe it's time we all start thinking a little more like my single friend Sarah.
"I'm not attached to someone else's baggage. It's all about me, and although it may sound bad, I love it," she said. "I don't feel stressed, and being single allows me to grow as an individual. I can do anything I want, and I don't have to think twice about it.
"I don't have to explain to anyone why I'm staying out late, and I don't have to worry about him judging me. Instead, I can just be spontaneous!"
So, if you're lucky enough to be single in 2007, don't look back. Empower yourself, and explore all the opportunities that Philadelphia has to offer!