Until I was 23, I was perpetually single — as in, never had a boyfriend or anything close to it. While everyone else seemed to be happily pairing off, I felt lonely, insecure and sometimes tried too hard, always on the lookout for love. I didn’t believe it at the time, but it would eventually all work out. I just had to relax, and when the timing was right, naturally, I found myself in a relationship. If I knew then what I know now, here’s some advice I would give to my formerly single self:
- Your relationship status isn’t a reflection of your desirability. There were times in my single life when I literally thought there was something wrong with me because I just couldn’t get a boyfriend. If you’re looking for a relationship, your singleness should never affect your self-esteem. There’s a good chance that the guys you’ve dated simply aren’t ready to commit to anyone. Trust me on this: it’s not you, it’s them.
- The exact way you phrase a text or Facebook message isn’t going to make or break anything. There were days when my friends and I would pore over texts as if they were cryptic codes, then we’d spend ages weighing the pros and cons of sending one carefully-worded response versus another. That’s completely unnecessary. If he’s into you, there’s hardly anything you can say that’ll make him change his mind.
- If he doesn’t text you back, he’s probably not “too busy.” We all know that it takes all of three seconds to send a text, and if he thought you were important enough, he’d find a way to respond. He wasn’t that busy for 12 hours straight, and the text wasn’t mysteriously “lost in cyberspace.” Don’t make excuses for him, and don’t waste your time.
- Stop being afraid you’re going to miss out on your next big love. So you don’t make it to every outing — so what? Don’t be afraid that missing a party might mean missing a chance to meet the love of your life. When things are meant to be, they have a way of working themselves out.
- When you do go out, focus on having fun! You can spend the whole night fixating on getting a cute guy’s attention, or you can live in the moment and enjoy the time you have with your friends because being single probably won’t last forever anyway.
- Don’t think you have to change anything about yourself to be in a relationship. Maybe you’ve been told your sarcasm is too harsh, your big personality is intimidating or you don’t “put yourself out there” enough. But would you really want to be with someone who can’t accept a core piece of who you are?
- If the guy you’re crushing on goes for your friend rather than you, consider it a good thing. My BFF introduced me to my now-fiancé. One of the first reasons I knew he was special was that he had never tried to pick up my gorgeous Barbie doll of a best friend. Lucky for me, he was into brunettes — and he was looking for a relationship too. The point is, if a guy you like looks past you, he’s not right for you. I know it still hurts, but the sooner you realize this, the sooner you can move on!
- The pace you’re going at is perfect for you. I was single all through high school. Then all through college. Then for a few years after that. I felt like I was missing out, like I was “behind” somehow. But as it turns out, for my life, I was right on track.
- And the number of guys you date will not bring you any closer to (or farther from) finding “The One.” He could be your first boyfriend; he could be your 23rd. Mine was my second. You don’t have to wade through dozens of guys to find your perfect match. And if you have — and they’re all disappointments — don’t lose hope, and hang in there. It only takes one.