The Happy Trail

How to Be Single?

Holding up a sign that announces Kaya’s relationship status at her mom’s wedding. Photo credit: Jade Heimowitz (author’s younger sister)

By Kaya Heimowitz

  So you’ve consulted your friends, your mom, a tarot deck, or maybe even a psychic to figure out what you “should” be doing while single. There are a lot of “shoulds” you are told about. If you’re single, you should be putting yourself out there. If you’re single, you should just focus on yourself. If you’re single, you should be hooking up with lots of people. If you’re single, you should be processing your emotions and finding yourself. You get the gist. You may have heard those pieces of advice before, and they might be good ideas for you to try out, but I’m here to say that you don’t have to listen to the “shoulds.” 

  With the end of the school year approaching and either summer vacation or adulthood on the horizon, it is very easy to get caught up in the “shoulds.” Especially the ones related to milestones you think you should have reached. Maybe you think you should be in a relationship by now. Maybe you think you should just focus on yourself. Maybe you think you should know what you want to do with the rest of your life. I don’t know what your personal “shoulds” are. All I can do is say we all struggle with them, but they don’t have to consume our thoughts. 

  When big transitions are on the horizon, it is important to take a moment for self-reflection and decide what you want, not what you “should” want. 

  So you decide you want to be in a relationship? Great. Now, you can decide what level of putting yourself out there you are comfortable with. You may want to join a dating app, ask your friends if they know anyone they can set you up with, or join a social club. Your relationship status is, unfortunately, not up to you alone and does depend on meeting the right person at the right time, but you can take some actions to enhance your opportunities for meeting someone. I personally recommend setting boundaries for yourself in terms of how often you think about being single or wanting to be with someone, and focusing some time on figuring out what your other “wants” are. Do you also want to find a job/internship? Do you also want to try new fruits? These big and small wants deserve your attention too! 

  So you decide you want to take time for yourself? Great. You may want to focus on spending time with family and friends, reading new books that sound interesting, or just spending your free time however you choose. 

  So you decide you want to hook up with lots of people? Great. We have a bunch of Happy Trail articles you can read about safe sex, orgasms, polyamory, and hookup culture. Go out and have some fun, and stay safe! 

  So you decide you have no idea what you want? Totally fine! You don’t always have to know exactly what you’re doing or what you want. Focus on your small wants, like “I want to try a new drink at Diversions today,” or “I want to try meditating,” and then work your way up to figuring out your bigger wants. 

  The wonderful thing is that you can change your mind at any time! As college students, we are constantly changing (hopefully for the better), and your relationship status is the least interesting thing about you. At the end of the day, we are all on our own paths and timelines; you just have to put one foot in front of the other and you’ll end up where you’re meant to be eventually.