Observations from the Single Friend

Dear Friends,

I’m sure your eyes have already reached the back of your skull, just as your sigh has been exacerbated. But I can promise you, this isn’t a tyrannous rant of envy or discouragement. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. This is simply a collection of my thoughts and observations throughout my experience as the “forever single” friend.

I will begin with a brief disclaimer: I have never been in a relationship. 19 years on this earth and I have never found myself involved with a significant other. Of course at times it is lonely, and occasionally I allow society’s expectations to creep into my head and convince me I’m not worthy, but most of the time, I consider this experience of independence to be a beautiful and enriching experience. Specifically, I love to observe and take notes of others’ relationships in order to prepare myself for my own… hopefully.

The most common issue that I’ve encountered with my friends throughout the years is the mistreatment they’ve endured. This could be as simple as a discouraging statement to physical harm.  Yes, I’ve witnessed the latter. It is horrifying. Hearing those that I love most saying that they have to diet, participate in recreational activities that make them uncomfortable, compromise their confidence, morals, or intellect for another human being who claims to “love” them is devastating. These scenarios left me speechless, truly. I offered advice, suggestions that I considered to be practical. But then again, I imagined fleeing the relationship to be simple, easy. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. If you can take nothing else from this article, please listen and understand this: physical, mental, or emotional abuse are NOT acts of love. They’re signs of power and control. You are so much more than a number on the scale or the clothes that cover your skin. You should never be forced to compromise your happiness in exchange for “love” from another. Always remember that you are all royalty. You are deserving of the moon and the stars and every tiny molecule in between. Never sell yourself short of every incredible opportunity this life has to offer.

Next, distance. Numerous friends have confided in me that distance is a driving wedge in the closeness of their relationships. I can recognize how that would things difficult. If you love someone, you are going to yearn for their presence and affection. That’s entirely normal, but so is distance. Although you are two people thriving as a single unit, it is important to remember that you are still two separate individuals, searching for your own answers of life. Spending time alone to read, explore, write, reflect, or whatever hobbies you prefer to further the growth of your mind and soul. Those strengthening exercises can certainly benefit your relationship, as well. What better way to share love and life than learning about one another’s introspections? However, if you truly do struggle with accepting the cliché saying, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” I can empathize with you. Personally, I love  efforts, especially when I am genuinely missing another. So, (depending on distance) write letters to one another, go for early morning walks, watch the sunrise/set, talk about books, discuss your future travel plans, schedule regular visits and more! Distance can be tasking, but it doesn’t have to be boring! If you’re geographically close to your significant other, try to schedule mini-dates throughout the week, just to check in between classes or sports practices. If you’re further in distance, plan a surprise or two and be sure to have a photographer/videographer ready! Either way, you will have meaningful memories that will last a lifetime.

Lastly, communication. Have you ever heard the saying, “Communication is key”? As redundant as this may sound, it is incredibly true. In any kind of relationship, conversing with one another is vital for successful maintenance. If you want to express your happiness or your frustrations, you have to communicate the feelings you are encountering. In addition, you both need to work together in order to create a comfortable and accepting, private environment for core communication. This should be a safe and quiet place where you both feel as if you can be completely open with each other. Moreover, the primary mode of communication is probably through text and/or calling, which makes sense in this technologically expanding age. But do not overlook the importance of face-to-face communication. It is so easily for miscommunications to occur via cell phone. If you make time for face-to-face communication, especially alone, you can ensure that both of you are expressing yourselves effectively! Although this can be a complex aspect of your relationship, it doesn’t have to dull your fire. Be sure to always communicate messages of encouragement, support, kindness and love!

Final reflections: Relationships are unique and euphoric experiences. They often serve as critical milestones in our lives. Our first kiss, first date, so on and so forth. If you’ve experienced these things and are currently single, I hope that you have personally taken the time to evaluate your “taken” life and ponder the areas that demanded improvement. If you are currently devoted to another in a serious relationship, I hope that my advice helped you in some way or another. Or perhaps you are similar to me - someone who has never been in a more-than-platonic relationship. That’s perfectly okay! I hope that you searching souls find contentment in observing, learning and growing.

 

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”