A friend of mine recently broke up with her boyfriend after three years together. She was wondering about my advice for getting situated in her new single life. After thinking about it for a little while, I realized that the thing that took me the longest to get used to when I first became single was scheduling my time. In fact, I’ve been single for over a year and sometimes I still feel bursts of loneliness on a Saturday afternoon from time to time. Not in an “Oh my God, my life is miserable” way (don’t worry, Mom), but in a “I used to have a built-in friend to go do stuff with and now I have to be proactive and make plans” kind of a way.
That was my biggest piece of advice to her: get proactive about your schedule.
When you’re in a relationship, you have the security of always having someone to do things with. While this is convenient, of course, it also puts you at risk for ONLY seeing your significant other and abandoning friendships/hobbies for the sake of a relationship. When you’re single, this isn’t an issue. But it also means that you’ve got to get creative. Learn new skills, get more involved in your hobbies, put yourself out there and ask a friend from work to grab coffee. The single life is not for the lazy or the unimaginative, that I can tell you for certain.
So if you’re single and looking to enjoy your newfound solo time, what can you do?
- Don’t be afraid to do stuff by yourself: This was a big thing for me when I moved to Charlotte. I used to think that people would think I was a tragic freak if I brought a blanket and a book to the park by myself. In reality a.) no one cares b.) screw them if they care and c.) lots of people do this. If there’s something you want to do and you don’t have anyone to do it with, go anyway. Plus, people seem approachable when they’re by themselves, so who knows who you’ll meet?
- Realize that adult life isn’t like a TV show: When I was younger, I used to think that adulthood was like “Sex and the City.” You moved as a unit with your closest girlfriends at all times. Now I realize it’s a little bit different. You’ll see your friends, but you’re your own person. Sometimes one friend is working and another is at a wedding and a third is with her boyfriend. You’ve got to build up interests, join groups, and make other friendships outside of your closest circle.
- Know that it’s okay to be by yourself: There’s no shame in hanging out by yourself. In high school and college you’d get into a serious FOMO mentality, but that changes when you’re an adult.
- Focus on building and maintaining relationships: When I was in a relationship, I was admittedly lazy about building new friendships. When you’re single, you have time to reshift your focus and work on building new connections. Text that friend you haven’t seen in a while. Extend an invite to someone you run into at the gym and always enjoy talking to. Make an effort to build up your social circle. This takes work and can sometimes feel awkward, but it’s always worth it.
If you’re single, how do you plan your time and your weekends? Have you had to make the transition after a relationship ended like I did?