Surviving "So Why Are You Single?"

With the holidays behind us, Facebook feeds are littered with engagement announcements, wedding photos, and “in a relationship” statuses. Friends who once bemoaned your mutually single status are now sending you selfies with their significant other with this smug reminder:

“Don’t worry; someday you’ll find the right one.”

Joining the scramble for a significant other may be the furthest thing from your mind. So how do you survive a culture so set against staying single?

Photo and feature photo by Gabriella Duncan, @gabriellalexis_

Photo and feature photo by Gabriella Duncan, @gabriellalexis_

Alternative outlets

“Joy is connection,” George Vaillant, the psychiatrist behind the Harvard Grant Study, told The Huffington Post in 2013. "The more areas in your life you can make connection, the better."

This includes your platonic relationships, such as the ones shared with family and friends.

“Platonic relationships have always been more important to me than romantic ones,” said Celia Sullivan, a performer with Once Upon a Time Entertainment.

Even if your friends have all partnered off, they’ll make time for you to hang out together. And if they don’t, you probably shouldn’t be dedicating much of your personal time to them anyway.

Love the one you’re with (even if it’s just you)

50% of the American female population reported being single in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So you’re not the last single woman in the world. And just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Learn to love your own company.

“People tend to forget that we aren't here for someone else. I like the idea of being on my own and exploring the world I live in,” said Katherine Talley, a student at Stephen Austin State College in Texas.

Take yourself on a date, but shake away the dusty memory of that disastrous Friends episode where Rachel dates herself. Life is (unfortunately) not a sitcom.

Go to the movies alone; rejoice in only having to spend your money on your own ticket and popcorn. You’re worth more than the climbing prices of tickets and concessions—trust me. If you’re not a fan of the movies, there are plenty of other options.

Picking up a hobby you can enjoy on your own isn’t committing to becoming a cobwebbed spinster whose death will be mourned only by an army of cats.

“Singles” clubs have long been despised as the final refuge of the desperate loner looking to pair off, but they’re also excellent places to meet like-minded individuals and get out of your house (and away from the Netflix queue).

Let it go (but really)

The picture of the single white female stalking the urban jungle looking for a rich guy to fall in love with her (here’s looking at you, Carrie Bradshaw) has changed dramatically in recent years. The game has changed—there are new players, new goals. People of all races, gender identifications, and orientations are looking to let the right one in (even though you might feel alone in your single struggle as the rack of bridal magazines stares you down in the grocery store).

“Someday I might meet somebody who will be that person who makes me fall in love and be a soppy romantic, but I highly doubt it,” said Sullivan. “I’m more interested in finding someone who feels like I do, and would be willing to create our own definition of a long-term partnership.”

Let the accusations that you’re wasting your youth, your money, and even your fertility (ugh) roll off your back. Your life is yours to lead, whether you ultimately choose to lead it alone, with a partner, or with a cardboard standup of Brad Pitt (don’t do that).

And like I said before—for as long as you’re single you only have to pay for one ticket to the movies and one meal at a restaurant, and that is worth something in today’s economy.

Life is no less worth living because you’re living it alone. If you must, consider it dating practice; think of it as getting to know the person your future spouse will marry.

If you love yourself first, everyone else will fall in line.