WORDS by Riahta Ranford

So you’re sick of having people ask you ‘how’re you still single?’ or ‘so, love, got anybody special yet?’. It’s god-awful when people are pointedly probing for signs of new love, as if they’re fishing for a way to make you feel less pathetic by suggesting the possibility of a relationship. Not helpful at all. 

You might not have commitment issues, maybe you’re pretty well tired of dating people who take longer in the bathroom than you do or are solely focussed on figuring out who A is in Pretty Little Liars. Perhaps you’re trying to adjust to being single again. And while sulking might seem like the only way to deal with those filtered, perfectly hipster Instagram photos of your friends in mature, adult relationships-- it’s not. 

1. Do whatever you want, whenever you want

Think about it. There’s no need to ‘check in’ with that special someone and have to explain who you’re with, where you are, how long you’ll be out, when you’ll be back or if you need to get them anything. If there’s a festival or open-air opera showing on the weekend, heck, nobody’s judging. 

2. Spend quality time with yourself

Appreciate the fact that your hair is too curly to stay in place despite having used a whole can of hairspray. This is a moment in your life where you can selfishly focus on working on yourself, like dealing with anxiety or that online shopping addiction you’re trying to kick. You can head out and meet new, different people you probably wouldn’t have a chance to in a relationship. Indulge in hobbies that have taken a backseat, and start to feel comfortable and confident with who you are. Nothing’s sexier than someone who is at ease with where they are in life. 

3. Re-evaluating what you want in a partner

Now that you have all this spare time, it’s an opportunity to list all of the things you’ve either revised from previous relationships or what you’re looking for in another human being with the potential for romance. This could easily become a whole fantastical daydream, but if done whole-heartedly, when you’re out there in the big, bad world you can remember that amazing list and begin the heavy-duty job of sifting. 

4. Restore your faith in humanity

Relationships shape people, whether for the good or the bad that’s really for you to decide.  Some break-ups can be clean and others--not so much, but whatever the reason, now is a great time to have that break-up help you grow, instead of resorting to bitter nights in bed, scrolling through your ex’s Facebook page and cursing every time he/she may look like they’re enjoying their life. There’s no point wasting time on things that you can’t change. Go out with your friends, create a blog, get involved in a charity and grow from the experience. 

5. Getting ahead in your career 

You won’t need to choose between a relationship and a mega awesome promotion in Alaska. There won’t be any of those awkward beginnings of a soon-to-be conflict: ‘So... I’ve got this chance to work a bazillion miles away. Actually, it’s in a different time zone.’ There’s no tension that lies thick over every meal because you know that they know that you’re thinking of really taking that job. Today you are without obligations. You can take that dream job with both hands without any additional heartache over the fact your significant other just isn’t happy about it. 

6. Compromise no more

Go buy that stallion and become a horse breeder, nobody’s stopping you. What’s that, you’re shopping? Nobody’s telling you what you can or can’t buy. Compromise is like a polite match of ping pong. One night you agree to eat Chinese. The next you get to have Mexican. Then one fateful day, one of you rebels and it turns into a mess with seething glances of criticism when you want to watch the football or The Bachelor. But no more! You can binge watch as much of The Bachelor as you so wish. 

7. There’s no need to pretend to like something you just don’t

Let’s be honest, dancing isn’t for everybody. Nor is watching Formula 1. You won’t have to pretend you’re into something you’re not even remotely interested in anymore. In some ways, this is an opportunity to really explore what you’re interested in because there are plenty of people I know who have become consumed by their relationship, to the point that when they come out of one they feel a little lost. So be sure of who you are, where you want to be heading and don’t take it too personally if someone comes along and doesn’t like all of you. It’s okay. There’s somebody out there who will absolutely adore your quirks. 

8.  You don’t need to answer for anyone but yourself

You don’t need to monitor your decisions or reschedule your entire week for anybody. Go ahead and lounge about in your underwear or do other things people may not find entirely ‘socially acceptable’. When you get invited to a dinner with colleagues or friends, there isn’t that pressure to bring along your significant other because everybody thinks you two are ‘adorkable’ and glued at the hip. You’re able to go and enjoy some champagne, without having to worry if he/she is feeling lonely or left out. 

9. Freedom to travel

If you’ve been dreaming about traveling or backpacking through Europe and many other countries, this is your chance to go when you’re free from responsibilities and obligations. Because before you know it, you’ll be in a cemented long-term relationship with a Yorkshire terrier and spend late nights on the phone consoling your married friends.  Just spontaneously book a flight somewhere and go, no need to talk it over or ask for permission. Never been snorkelling? Have a go. 

10. Be open-minded

Who knows how long you’ll have to deal with this single shin-dig, but enjoy all the wild experiences that come with it: eating sautéed bat meat on a tropical island. So while you’re here, in this particular phase of life, be open-minded about people, life and everything in between. Not everything is black and white, in fact a lot of areas in life are grey. Being able to accept that is a huge advantage and may help you when you are in a relationship with someone who is worthy of your time. You will be much more willing to understand him/her, and that is an attractive quality. 

What do you do to really take advantage of being single?


WORDS BY:  Riahta Ranford

Riahta is currently studying Counselling and Family Therapy. She enjoys baking on rainy days and going for dips when the sun is out. This naturally gifted wordsmith hopes to one day publish her own book and cycle around Italy.