I often oscillate between being completely apathetic towards the idea of dating and wondering when I may meet someone. At this point in my life, not being in a relationship is normal. So normal that when I do end up dating someone I think it’ll come as a surprise to even me. When I discuss relationships with my friends and they discuss their own dating life, eventually the conversation turns to me and someone will ask, ‘have you met anyone?’ The question is probably asked to be polite but I always reply with the same thing, ‘if I was dating someone you would know.” Everyone is obsessed with constantly questioning the single friend.
I understand that one day my time will come and I can wait patiently for that day, but constantly being asked ‘have you met someone?’ can grate anyone’s nerves.
Being the single friend in a society that thrives off of promoting relationships and marriage can be difficult to navigate. There are whole industries and days marked on everyone’s calendars built on the success of romance.
The National Retail Federation revealed that spending on Valentine’s Day was up 32 percent in 2020, going from $20.7 billion to $27.4 billion. August 18th has even been declared National Couple’s Day. There’s not much to debate when it comes to deciding if romance is alive and well in this world, just look around. While this does excite the hopeless romantic that’s buried inside me, watching from the sidelines can become disheartening.
The hard part about being in this middle ground of wanting a relationship but also understanding that a relationship doesn’t and won’t define me. Is that I know that in the 21st century there’s a certain amount of effort that needs to be put in, in order to end up in a relationship.
But I am someone who has become increasingly averse to putting myself out there.
While everyone I know is on Bumble or Tinder swiping away in hopes of meeting someone I have already decided online dating is not something I’m comfortable enough to do.
When my friends go for a night out and invite me, instead of thinking that it could be fun, my brain raises red flags. Although I only went to a handful of college parties there was anxiety around meeting someone. What might they expect from me? Will I end up in an uncomfortable situation? All of these things have made it difficult for me to put myself out there.
My mind has already decided that I want a romance out of a movie. I want to bump into someone at the grocery store and feel the spark. Or meet someone by chance on a vacation and then somehow run into them again.
I realize that these things are unrealistic and that when I do end up meeting someone it will probably be in a mundane way. Although I’m sure my brain will spin it into something a little better.
I’ve watched too many movies for things to go any other way. Yet, even with all of these ideas in my head and pressures from society.
After 21 years I have found comfort in being “the single friend” and for anyone else who finds themselves in that category, you should too.