I am a single man. And this, folks, is how I do it.
Section 1: Responses to Dumb Single Questions
If you’re single and you associate with people, you will at some point be asked some uncomfortable questions by at least one of the following people:
That random Person who is really bad at small talk
That one acquaintance you run into just enough that he thinks he can ask inappropriate questions. We’ll call him Phil.
Here are some suggestions for response:
Q. Are you dating anyone?
A. Parents: No.
Friends: *fake laugh* No.
Person: You asking, or *exaggerated wink* you asking?
Phil (who is this guy?): Oh I’m not really into dating. Just copious amounts of sex.
Q. Whatever happened to [name of ex]?
A. Parents: We broke up.
Friends: It just wasn’t working out.
Person: Why!? What did you do!!?!
Get outa here, Phil: I think s/he was dropped on his/her head as a kid, why?
Q. Have you ever thought about [obvious dating idea]?
A. Parents: Yeah, I just don’t really think it’s for me.
Friend: I will if you will.
Person: Yes, but… I just can’t. Not since the accident. I don’t want to talk about it.
D**n it, Phil: No, I haven’t. Not even once. Good thing there are people like you to think up all the thoughts for us idiots.
Q. You know what you should do? [followed by terrible suggestion]
A. Parents: Yeah, probably.
Friend: [just give them the look. you know the one]
Person: I think I read on Facebook that it leads to autism.
Screw you, Phil: Screw you, Phil.
Section 2: Being Successfully Single
On a more serious note, the key to actually being happy (but never complacent) with your singleness simply lies in having a direction. While this is a process— and, like any good life process, takes time and consistency— it really only involves four steps. I could write an entire post on this alone (probably will) but for now here’s the cliff-notes version:
1. Vision. Having a vision means having a “big picture” idea for yourself. You don’t have to have all the details worked out, but you ought to have some picture in your mind of where you want to be, what you want to look like, who you want to be with and whatever else you can dream up for the next foreseeable time period of your life.
2. Goal. Take your vision and turn it into a concrete goal (or two or three). If your vision was of yourself holding a degree, then say “I will graduate from my program in [whatever amount of time].” That kind of thing. Goals are always daunting to make, which is why step 1 is so important. If you have a picture in your mind of your dream, you can easily turn that into an achievable goal.
3. Plan. Once your goal is set, make a plan to achieve that goal. Write this plan down. Break it down into as many little pieces as you like. Make sure it is comprehensive enough to take you from exactly where you are now to wherever your goal has you in the future. This can also be scary to think about, but remember you’re not actually doing anything yet; you’re just mapping out how you would do things. Much less scary that way.
4. Next Step. This is the crucial factor of the whole process: the part that turns the overwhelming, big picture stuff into real, small, doable parts. You see, you don’t have to do everything in your plan all at once. All you have to do is the very next thing. Write down what the very next step is (make it as small of a step as you need) to move forward with your plan. Once you take that step, cross/tear/throw it out (the grander the gesture, the more you feel like you’re accomplishing) and write down the next step. I promise that it actually gets exciting once you tangibly see that you’re making progress.
*There is sort of a 5th step, but you can do this one however you’d like. Once in a while (daily, weekly, monthly) you should revisit all the steps, starting with your original vision. Just to make sure you still want to head in that direction. Now go and win at being single!
Section 3: Rules for Dating
You’re single, not dead. At some point you’re probably going to want to date. Here are a few things to remember:
1. It is okay to like someone. This isn’t 6th grade, folks. You can, like, like another person (oh yeah, I mean “like like”) and you can even tell people that you like (like?) that person. And you can even tell those people to set you up with that person. And you can EVEN tell the person that you like that you like them! Crazy, right?
2. It is okay to not like someone. It is also okay to tell that person you don’t like them. Or at least that you’re not attracted to them (unless you actually don’t like them at all, in which case go ahead and tell them that too). It is not okay to become offended or angry/aggressive toward someone if they tell you that they don’t feel that way about you. Life happens, get over it.
3. Civility is not the same as agreement. When it comes to dating, NEVER do anything you don’t want to do. Contrary to (insane) popular belief, you don’t have to go on a date just because somebody asks you. You don’t have to continue texting or hanging out with somebody whose company you don’t enjoy. And for the love of Paul McCartney, you should NEVER go home with somebody who makes you feel uncomfortable. Now, you (usually) ought to be nice about the whole thing, but please DO NOT date out of some misplaced sense of courtesy to them.
4. Some people are attractive and some people are not. And most people who aren’t attractive to you are attractive to somebody else. Guess what: you can think that somebody is unattractive without being shallow. Anybody who says differently is selling something. Anybody who caught that reference is my friend. And anybody who belittles you because you are simply not attracted to someone probably feels like they are ugly and you should be extra nice to them and help them feel good about themselves again but still don’t take their crap.
Section 4: What to do for Valentine’s Day
As you may have caught on to by now, today’s post has been all about fours. I call it my homage to the wonderful fact that love is a four-letter word. And in that beautifully ironic spirit, here are four things for the single person to do on Valentine’s Day.
1. Have a normal day. You know how the best way to annoy your sibling is to ignore them? It’s like that. Go to work, go to school, hit the gym, do whatever you’d normally do on a Saturday, but do it in complete deliberate (and blissful) ignorance as the ultimate silent protest to the day that pitilessly pleads for your attention
2. Make them pay. If you can’t be happy, no one can. Crash parties, paint cars, throw chocolates. Be merciless. And then end your day with a case of Oreos, a gallon of chocolate milk and your choice of Netflix binge.
3. Write a blog post. This is a foolproof method to create the illusion that you are above this whole “Valentine’s Day” nonsense, that you have everything well in hand, and that you aren’t desperately lonely and just want to feel loved.
4. Just make it through, whatever way you can. Look, we all know that this day is nothing but stress for the people in relationships and depression for the ones who aren’t. So if you can just make it through, as best you can, relatively unscathed, you will have been successful. Have a great weekend!