Being the Single Friend

One day, I looked up and realized that I was the single friend in my group. I had never noticed it, but a large portion of my friends were in serious relationships. Being the single friend has never really bothered me. But, I’d be lying if I said some days I don’t sit around and wonder if I’ll end up dying old and alone.

I feel like with all the hype surrounding having a “bae” and seeing everyone’s cute Instagram posts of their #realtionshipgoals, it’s hard not to get caught up in feeling bad about being single. On top of that, holiday season is right around the corner and can feel a bit lonely when you don’t have a special someone to keep you warm.

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If you do happen to be that single friend who feels a bit lonely, or is wondering if there’s something that’s personally inhibiting you from finding your own bae, stop. The reality is that there’s plenty of time left to find your future “soulmate”, and if you haven’t yet then maybe this isn’t the time for you to do so.

Being in your twenties is about much more than settling down and getting married before hitting 30. Take this time to enjoy bettering yourself and figuring out who you are as a person. At least that’s what I’m trying to do while I spend my time in singledom. Here are a few reasons why I’ve learned not to fret about being a single twenty-something.

You don’t have to deal with relationship drama 

When you’re not in a relationship, you often forget about all the drama that comes with it.

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You can take time to work on yourself 

Rather than seeing being alone as a negative, view it as a time where you can better yourself. Develop new passions, learn new skills, stack your money or whatever you feel you can do to improve yourself. After all, I strongly believe you attract the energy you put out. So, why not work on developing the attributes you want in a partner within yourself first?

There’s plenty of time to get into a relationship 

If you’re not married with kids by twenty-five like you thought you would be, it’s not the end of the world. I’m a strong believer in timing and that everything happens for a reason. So, don’t put a rush on settling down. Instead, enjoy where you’re at right now in life and focus on creating a better you. That way when you do finally meet your bae, you can hopefully attract someone just as great as you are.

 

 

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Cutting Off Dead Weight- Knowing When to Let Someone Go

More often than not, we keep people around us who are dead weight. They can be the ex who keeps popping in and out of your life, the frenemy who serves you backhanded compliments or even the family member who passive aggressively belittles you. My circle used to contain one or more of those people. By keeping them around, I noticed that I began to feel mentally and emotionally drained. I’ve come to a point where I’ve realized that if someone isn’t positively fueling the energy around me, there’s nothing wrong with distancing myself away from them. 

It’s easy to become what you surround yourself with. If you’re constantly surrounded by people who promote negative energy, you’re bound to feed off it. Although we’re aware that someone may be detrimental to our overall wellbeing, it can be difficult to cut them off for several reasons; emotional attachment, feeling obligated because of familial ties, or even the simple fact that you’ve known them forever. The truth of the matter is that if the person you’re questioning cutting off brings more harm than good to your life, should it even be a question at all?

Here are some surefire ways to tell if it’s time to walk away.

They’re making you unhappy 

I feel like this is the most obvious reason to let someone go. If a person is clearly sucking the happiness out of you, it’s not worth keeping them around. Everyone deserves to be around people who spread positivity and good vibes.

They don’t support your goals 

You tell them about a dream or goal you’ve had forever and they immediately shoot it down, and make you question if it’s worth doing anymore. I’ve come to learn that people who shoot down your aspirations are simply too afraid to chase their own. If someone is stunting your growth by encouraging you to remain stagnant, it could be time to cut them off.

You can’t be yourself around them 

If you have to change who you are to continue a relationship with a person, then it’s likely that it’s time to let them go. You should never have to compromise who you are to make someone else accept you.

You always have to put their needs before your own

If you’re constantly having to put someone before yourself, it could be a sign that it’s time to let them go. Relationships should be give and take, not consistently one sided.

Why oh why do We Love to Self Sabotage?

A friend of mine was recently complaining to me about how much she misses her ex. They weren’t together for very long and their relationship was going perfectly fine, but she decided to end it. She’s made attempts to get him back, but unfortunately for her it seems he is now content with having a strictly platonic relationship. Now, if you’re anything like me, the first thing you wondered after hearing her story was why would she end the relationship if everything was going well?

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I needed answers immediately and proposed this very question to her. To my confusion, she had no clear answer. This caused me to ponder all of the times I abruptly ended relationships, I could have been happy in, for no apparent reason. Was a I too afraid to have a healthy functioning relationship? Or was I just too indecisive to begin settling down? I wasn’t sure.  Because I was unable to solve the mystery of why we enjoy sabotaging  our relationships, I sought out answers from who other than my friends.

After surveying many of my friends, it seemed the common reason why we self sabotage is fear. Fear of commitment, fear of becoming emotionally attached, or fear of dealing with the pain that comes with a breakup. Before our relationships have a chance to develop, we make an attempt to beat our emotions to the punch and end things before they have a chance to truly begin. Although this was the most common reason, I found, why we continuously sabotage ourselves, everyone’s reason for holding themselves back may be different. I decided to do more research to discover why we continue to self  sabotage. Here’s what I found out:

We self sabotage because we enjoy being in control 

I have a friend who admitted to sabotaging her relationships for this very reason. She hates the idea of not being in control of her feelings or what is going on around her, so she takes matters into her own hands even if it doesn’t bring the outcome she initially desired. If you are a person who enjoys being in control, a reason you may end up sabotaging yourself is because you’d rather have control of the outcome than be unsure of what’s to come next.

Feeling like we need excitement 

Now, this one I’ve been guilty of. I ashamed to admit it (mainly because it’s not the most logical way to deal with things), but when I get bored in relationships, I end up sabotaging them. I’m not exactly sure where this need for “excitement” comes from, but it’s definitely caused me pick a couple of fights with my S.O. for no reason.

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Feeling unworthy

Another common reason I found that we self sabotage is feeling unworthy or like we don’t deserve positive things in our lives. I’ve fallen victim to this as well. Maybe you haven’t forgiven yourself for something in the past, or maybe you’ve been struggling with building your self-confidence. Either way, when you’re feeling unworthy or undeserving of the positive things in your life, it’s important to remind yourself that everyone (including you) deserves to have positivity in their lives.

We all deserve to experience the joys of success whether it be in the form of reaching a goal, or achieving a strong healthy relationship. When we find ourselves unhappy in a situation, it’s important to reflect on how we got there. At times, we can fail to realize that, the only thing standing in the way of our own happiness is ourselves.

Is It Worth the Emotional Risk?

You know those relationships that end because the same fight continues to happen over and over again? I was in one of those. We constantly argued, because I felt as if I was putting in far too much effort. Whenever it came time to initiate any kind of interaction, I was always the one to do it. I eventually came to a point where I was tired of feeling like I was reaching out to someone who couldn’t even give me the time of day. If the person on the receiving end of your effort isn’t willing to fight for whatever type of relationship you have, in the end it isn’t worth the exhaustion on your part. It took me some time to realize it, but a few things became crystal clear after I ended things.

People make time for who and what they want 

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not keen on reaching out to people. At one point in my life, I had horrible social anxiety which made it difficult for me to even communicate with people. I found that when I avoided speaking to people (specifically the ones I was romantically interested in), I lost out on a lot of opportunities. I never even gave myself a shot with them, because I was too afraid to speak up. After realizing this, and getting sick of being passed over, I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone to talk to people I liked. Was I scared out of my mind when doing so? Yes, but I knew I was taking a risk for something I wanted. This story was only told to illustrate the point that when people want to do something or speak to someone, they will make time to do so. If a person you’re investing your time and energy into isn’t reciprocating your efforts, they may not want the relationship as much as you do.

Passing over the issues doesn’t make them disappear

Like I mentioned earlier, my partner and I would run around in circles having the same conversations over and over again about the issue at hand. Eventually, we just started avoiding it. Did avoiding the situation make it any better? Not at all. It only prolonged an ending we both saw coming, but didn’t want to admit. If there is one issue that isn’t getting resolved between you and your partner, don’t simply overlook it. Overlooking problems and conflicts doesn’t make them go away, it only worsens them. Find alternative ways to resolve your issues, and if you can’t, it may just be time to end things.

Is this person willing to fight for you?

Of course, not physically fight, but emotionally. Is this person willing to work on the issues you have together so that you can build a stronger relationship? It’s not only important to ask yourself this question about your partner, but also yourself. Are you willing to fight for them? In my case, I was and my partner was not. It’s not the end of the world if one partner’s answer is no, however, it is a time to reevaluate. I like to think of everything as an investment. Is this relationship benefiting me? Or, will it ultimately be detrimental to my self-growth and esteem? If the cons outweigh the pros, then is it even worth the emotional risk?

 

Settling And Why You Shouldn’t

“She has the audacity to act like the queen she is.”

I’ve been called a prude, stuck up, high maintence, and any other term you could possibly think of because I choose to stick to my standards. I read this quote and it made me think about every time I’ve lowered my standards in order to date someone I was interested in. In high school, I remember being told that dating in college would be better because, the guys would be more mature and not be as driven by physical desires. Boy, was that wrong. I found that when I dated in guys in college, they were pretty much the same as guys in high school, just a tad bit older.

Often, first dates would go nowhere because the guys I dated were very expectant. For every small, somewhat, chivalrous act they did, they immediately expected me to eagerly hurry back to their dorms or apartments with them. Ironically, the more I found myself sticking to my standards the more unsuccessful my dating life became. Because of this, I began lowering my standards or accomdating them to fit whoever I was dating at the time. Although my relationships with those who met my “new and improved”standards lasted longer, I was still unhappy. The people I found myself dating weren’t aligned with what I truly wanted from a relationship, which essientially made us doomed from the start. As young people, we can feel pressured to settle or lower our standards when dating for a number of reasons. Before even considering throwing out our standards, it’s important to realize a few things first.

Sticking to your standards does not make you a prude, high maintence, etc.  

I cared way too much about what people thought about me. I was being told by friends, the guys I dated, and other people that I should lower my standards so that my options could be more open. I did this, and was still unhappy. Sometimes we get caught up believing that  we need to be in a relationship to be happy, so we begin to settle. The truth of the matter is, a realtionship does not guarantee happiness. I had to take a step back and look at the conditions of the love lives of those that were telling me to lower my standards. They were all in unsatisfied relationships because they chose to settle. Sticking to your standards ends up being worth it in the long run because you can end up finding the person that’s best for you.

Being single doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world 

As I mentioned earlier, we can get so caught up in the idea that we have to be in a realtionship or have a significant other in order to be happy, when in fact, we don’t. It is nice to have someone to go out with and be affectionate with, but if we’re choosing to do so with someone we’re settling with, is it worth the time and emotional investment? Rather than wallowing in the percieved sarrow of being single, why not learn to make the most of it? Get to know yourself better and grow personally so that when someone who meets your standards comes along, you’re ready fot them as well.

Have the audacity to act like the queen (or king) you are 

I knew my standards weren’t unrealistic. I wanted to be respected, valued, and have trust with the person I was dating. We all deserve the basics that push towards building a healthy relationship, anyone who denies you less than, doesn’t deserve you. Plain and simple.

Opening Up in Relationships

I read something the other day that said being in a relationship today is like being in a competition to see who cares the least. I found this to be extremely true. It seems as though the relationships I, and many of my friends, get into don’t amount to much. We end up in some unspoken competition to see who will catch feelings first and be the first to leave. These types of relationships occur for a number of reasons, I discussed in a previous post, but it mostly has to do with the culture of dating that exists today. I see more and more of us ending up in situationships (basically a relationship, but without the title), rather than relationships, and getting our hearts broken time and time again. We’re too afraid to assert our true feelings, wants, and needs in fear that the other party may back out after revealing them.

I’ve decided to abandon that fear and speak up. I would get caught in many situationships, where my partner and I would do everything that consisted of being in relationship, but we wouldn’t have a title. As the “relationship” progressed, we found ourselves becoming more emotionally invested, but neither of us wanted to express our feelings out of fear of being rejected. Every situationship I’ve been in has not ended the way I’ve wanted them to. I’ve decided to stop allowing the walls I’ve built, from fear of rejection (amongst other things), to prevent me from growing in my relationships. Expressing yourself and opening up emotionally is scary, I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t, but what you gain from opening up amounts to so much more than what you can lose. Before deciding to become emotionally open it’s important to first…

Be honest about what you want 

We get easily caught up in friends with benefits situations and similar relationships because we’re not honest with ourselves about what we want with someone. I’ve ended up in plenty of unsuccessful flings with people because I settled on terms that weren’t aligned with what I actually wanted from the relationship. It can be easy to settle for conditions you don’t want just because you want to spend time with that person but, if you’re going to be hurt in the long run, is it worth it? If we’re honest about what we want from the start, and stick to the relationship standards we set for ourselves, the less likely it is that we’ll end up hurt.

Be ok with being emotionally vulnerable 

I used to hate talking about emotions, especially with someone I was romantically involved with, but the more I open up, the better I feel. It’s hard to be emotionally vulnerable, especially when you have walls already built, but breaking down those walls can open the door for self-growth. Holding on to emotions, or hiding them, can become unhealthy or build tension. I know that when I hold emotions in or don’t express myself, it eats away at me. I fear getting emotionally vulnerable with partners but, most people aren’t psychics. How can they tell what you’re feeling if you don’t express it?

Stop expressing yourself to everyone except your partner 

We feel most comfortable opening up to the people we’re closest with. Although it’s natural for us to want to talk to our friends and family about emotions we’re feeling towards a partner, try talking to that person about it first. You and your partner know your relationship better than anyone else so why not speak to them about it first? Sometimes we do need time alone to collect our thoughts to accurately express how we’re feeling, but once that’s done, take those thoughts to your partner and talk through them together.

Don’t fear rejection 

I believe the biggest reason we fear opening is up, is rejection (at least it was for me). We sometimes become afraid that if we reveal our true feelings or thoughts, others may not feel the same way. Rejection can hurt, but it comes with the risk of putting yourself out there, in any circumstance, including emotionally. We end up stuck in situationships because we don’t want to express our true feelings and get rejected for them. From what I’ve learned, in past relationships (and situationships), if what you’re seeking from a relationship is not aligned with one another, most times, that isn’t the right person for you to begin with. I’m really working hard to become emotionally open and sometimes it hasn’t turned out the way I hoped. Even though it’s been tough breaking my walls down and being honest about how I feel and what I want, it’s helping me learn more about who I am and what I want from a partner. Relationships may not always go the way you want them to, but every   opportunity you have is a chance to learn from your experiences so things can be even better the next time around.

 

Keeping the Spark Alive

Lately, my twenty-seomthing friends who are in relationships, have been complaining that their significant others have not been making them feel special. Yeah, sure they were courted in the beginning of the relationship, but now they feel as if their partners have gotten too comfortable. I know that dating as a twenty-something is difficult, you’re young, don’t have much money, and sometimes it’s hard to come up with things to do that are creative, exciting, and inexpensive at the same time. Here are some easy ways to keep the spark alive in your relationship so that every date doesn’t become a Netflix and chill session.

Get outdoors

This is something easy and completely free to do for us young and broke people out there! If your partner complains that they’re tired of staying in all the time, take them to the beach, go on a hike, or suggest going for a walk in the park. Each of these are fun and easy activities that don’t cost anything to do. To spice it up a bit (even though it may seem corny to some) have a picnic on the beach or at the park. If your partner likes being outdoors they’ll appreciate your effort.

 Get creative indoors 

Now on the other hand, if your partner is someone who enjoys staying indoors but wants something more than watching movies and falling asleep on the couch every night, you can get creative indoors. If you like having movie nights, make them special. Get popcorn, some of your partners favorite snacks and candy, maybe some wine (if you’re of age), and light some candles so it doesn’t feel just like another night of Netflix and chilling.

Cook for them

If you find yourself too broke to constantly take your partner on dates every so often, cooking for them is a great alternative. Making a meal takes time and effort and can show someone how much you appreciate them. Find a recipe that you and your partner could maybe even make together. It’s a fun way to spend quality time and you get to eat after. It’s a win-win in my book.

Put a spin on the classics

If you and your partner do go out a lot on dates, switch them up a bit. If you’re a couple who always goes to dinner and movie, maybe try going to a drive in theater instead. Finding small ways to put a spin on a typical date will make your partner feel that much more special.

Make an effort to spend quality time together 

There’s a difference between spending time together and spending quality time together. You can spend time with someone, and feel no progression in your relationship with them.   Making sure you’re making an effort to have meaningful conversations, ask them about their day, what’s bothering them, etc. shows that you actually care. If you also find yourself spending time with your partner only with other people around, set aside time to spend alone together. This can make a big difference in your relationship.

Use the resources around you 

There are so many free museums, small inexpensive restaurants, cute book stores and coffee shops, free concerts, and so on. I could go on for hours about all the free cool things you can find around you if you just use Google. Planning dates can become that much easier when you use your resources. Once, you do, it can bring that spark back into relationship that seemed to fade away.