If you’re single, life can sometimes feel as if all of your friends are in a headlong rush toward lifelong commitment while your love life is the running joke of the group.
Although you secretly love sharing your dating horror stories on the group chat, there’s also a part of you that wishes you didn’t feel a pang of anxiety about being the only single mate.
But there’s no need to stress over being the only single friend. In fact, it can have many benefits once you stop resisting singleness, and you can always find buried confidence in the possibility of just teaching yourself to own it. Here’s how to handle it like a pro.
Embrace the third wheel
Inevitably there will be times when you’re left at home while everyone else is out with their partners. Sometimes you’ve just got to embrace being the third wheel and get stuck in.
On the occasions where you get a VIP invite to hang out with your couple friends, you can toss up between ordering pizza as a method of self-care or crashing your friend’s pizza date.
Being invited as a third wheel can be a compliment, and serves as a great way to get to know your BFFs significant other a little better. Hanging out with them alongside your pal can be a great way to bond.
You’ll get a great nice night out of it, they’ll get the pleasure of your company, and just like that everyone's a winner. At the end of the day, “third wheel” is a totally made up concept and shouldn’t dictate how you enjoy yourself with your mates, regardless of whether or not they’re dating.
Don’t read too much into social media
Nothing brings home the fact that you’re very single than tirelessly scrolling through your friends engagement photos on social media. You’re going to see anniversary appreciation posts (belugh), gifts with the caption ‘boy done good’, and *that* picture of a woman walking into the sunset with just her boyfriend's hand in view behind her.
Take it from someone who’s posted all of those pics (cringe) - people are rarely as happy and in love as they look on social media. Social media can be the worst place when you’re feeling a bit down about being single, so avoid it if you’re feeling sensitive. Opt to hang out with your friends, do some exercise, or read a good book instead. These are all things that keep you invested in you and your relationships as opposed to other people’s.
If you find yourself investing a little bit too much into someone else’s life online, or stalking your ex to see what they’re up to with their new girlfriend, it’s time to step away from your phone.
Stalking your loved-up friends on social media is guaranteed to make you feel worse, and often the reality is so different to what is being portrayed. In fact, a recent study found a “strong and significant association between social media use and depression”, so if you’re feeling low and are scrolling through the socials, step away. Don’t read too much into it, you’ve got this.
As the only single friend in the group, the temptation to settle can be overwhelming. However, you really don’t need to settle just because you’re the odd one out.
In fact, you should be proud that you’re secure enough to rock the single lifestyle. Holding out for the right person can be really empowering, so try and fight the urge to lower your standard just for the sake of being in a relationship.
Enjoy a date here and there, maybe even set up a casual arrangement if you fancy it, but definitely do not get into a relationship with someone who isn’t right just because all of your friends are coupled up. We know it’s tempting, but settling down with someone for the sake of it has disaster written all over it.
Don’t measure yourself with someone else’s yardstick
Sometimes it can feel like everyone else has hit some relationship-shaped target that you can’t even see. The idea that other people have got it all figured out while you’re being left behind can be really damaging.
We can all be guilty of comparing ourselves to others, but when we do so we’re usually acting out of insecurity, which is never a good place to be coming from. Letting go of this comparison will make being single a whole lot easier and will allow you to focus on yourself. Try to focus on your own goals and aspirations and how you can improve on them as opposed to comparing yourself to other people’s goals and timelines.
We all have completely different timelines and life goals, so wherever you’re at is just fine. Remember not to compare yourself to other people as you navigate your way through singledom.
Make the most of your free time
One day, you’ll probably look back on these single years fondly. They are some of the only times in our lives where we really have the agency to be free and independent. Right now, you have all the time in the world to dedicate to yourself.
If you’re the only single one in your friendship group, lucky you! It’s time to embrace the single life and enjoy everything it has to offer. This is your time to do you - enjoy it!