What It's Like Being Single in College

How many times have you downloaded and then deleted Tinder? How many times have you had a successful match on Tinder? How many times has this successful match turned into a wonderful date and a budding relationship?

It’s hard, isn’t it? Just trying to date in college is difficult for most. However, for some it’s easy. They find someone they like, strike up a conversation, and walk away with their number. How do they do that? The answer is simply that they are confident. They know who they are and what they want in someone and they have the confidence to go after it. For others, like me, it is not that easy. Even ordering food at a restaurant is something to be nervous about because the waiter is a stranger. Not to mention the subtle, “enjoy your food too,” reply once they deliver your food only to realize that they are not eating. With such a buffoonish comment, you beging to ponder your own existence and become incredibly embarassed. Being a shy and introverted person, it’s hard to even say hello to someone sitting right next to you, so forget about talking to the very attractive guy sitting in front of you.

Photo from Jennifer Wong.

So, what is it like to be in college while being single? If I’m being honest, it isn’t that bad. Sure, you have to be on campus during all those holidays where apparently, couples are extra in love with one another. (Say hello to Valentine's Day Sonnet Sales and endless displays of PDA.) Most days of the year, though, it’s nothing to worry about. Being single means you can stare at all the cute people you pass on the street and relish in those few moments of mutual eye contact when you swear to yourself that you both are in love. You can fantasize about the hot guy or girl you sit near in your English class and flirt with everyone you meet at parties if you can work up the nerve. You’re not tied down; you are your own free person. Being single also means you can build stronger relationships with your friends. When you aren’t focused on a relationship with a significant other, you can focus on your friendships. You and your friends will be able to bond on a higher and closer level than you might be able to if you were in a relationship. Sisters before misters, right?

The downfall however, is that you eventually want to be able to commit to someone and want someone to commit to you. Being able to flirt with anyone is fine, and it’s even better if they flirt back, but that’s usually as far as it gets. Flirt, maybe get a number and a date the next week, but then it ends. Unless you somehow have an amazing bond with the random person you met on the dance floor in the dark, there's really not a lot there. Sooner or later flirting will get boring and you will just want someone you can talk to every day and have conversations with that don’t circle back to what your major is or what classes you are taking. It’s not fun sitting around and dreaming or fantasizing about someone hoping that they might like you back enough to start a relationship. Your friends talk about the ways they met their boyfriend/girlfriend. Meeting them in a class they took together, spilling coffee on one another, or any other cliché. Sure, people tell you that to find that someone you should make yourself available and to put yourself out there, but it's extremely difficult to do that when you're shy and introverted.

Yes, being single sucks sometimes. Being single in college is worse because you are now an adult and your entire family can and will ask you about your dating life. It’s a never-ending topic. It’s so awkward coming back home and having to tell everyone again and again that there is no significant other in your life and that there might not be one for some time. Being single is not all that it’s cracked up to be, either. People make it seem so luxurious - the media portrays singles going out to parties every night or completing things off their bucket lists. Sure, in movies and TV shows they show single people crying, drinking wine, eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and watching a rom com, but by the end credits they always end up with The One. That’s not real life.

To all my single ladies and men out there, we got this. It’s ok. We will somehow manage, one ice cream pint after another.