"Do you like them?"
"Ehh, they're alright."
"Why not just end things?"
"Cuz, being single sucks."
I hear this all the time, amongst friends and people my age. They will settle with somebody, or even worse — be with someone who isn't even a good person — just because they don't want to be alone. I think it's a huge problem in our generation: that people don't know how to be alone. It's like the moment someone is single, they feel worthless. But it's impossible to be with someone 24/7, even when you are in a relationship. Being by yourself is inevitable. The trick is, you can't destroy yourself during it. You can't let the loneliness ruin you, but rather let the solitude help you.
Due to an unlikely circumstance (my boyfriend suddenly passing away in a motorcycle incident nearly two years ago) I was stuck in a phase of limbo. I was young, 19, and my relationship ended in a way all my friend's relationships didn't. They broke up with their boyfriend, my boyfriend died. They got dumped by a two-faced girl, I was happy with who I was dating. It was weird, having the same amount of love for someone as ever before, the difference being he was no longer there to receive it. With his death, I suddenly found myself being forced to be alone. It was hard at first, not having him to rush to the second I received good news, won an award, found a great new song, or wanted to go on an adventure. I was so used to movie nights, dinner dates, our inside jokes and even the stupid things we would fight about, that I didn't even know how to start getting used to being alone. But instead of trying to fill the void of his presence with another human or a hook-up buddy or a drug, I started to hangout with myself.
I think it's important for people to realize that another human being doesn't define one's worth. If you think you're a piece of shit, then a wonderful, popular, person can't change that. Of course they can help you and tell you all the great things you like to hear until they're blue in the face, but you're only going to believe it when you truly think those thoughts for yourself. And the only way to start thinking those thoughts? Start finding the parts of you that you love. Take yourself on a walk, cook yourself a nice dinner, pour your wonderful soul a glass of wine, or drink a beer, or a nice gin and tonic — I don't know your favorite drink, but you will, once you start letting yourself explore. (Side note: I discovered last week I can make some bomb sangria, hit me up if you want the recipe.) Do you like bubble baths? Fishing? Scary movies? Kayaking? Animals? Reading? Have you even let yourself try something new recently? Do you know what you don't like? What scares you? What you realize you sacrifice for others? It's okay when you're alone to discover the things you don't really love about yourself either, and try to improve upon them. The thing about being alone is that you don't have to match with anyone else's schedule. Also, there is no debate on whether you're going to eat Chinese or Mexican because you have no one else's taste buds to worry about but your own. Hell, eat both, I won't tell anyone!
Yes, my boyfriend dying was absolutely tragic, but being single for the past two years wasn't. If I can handle the love of my life dying, you can handle being ignored from the person you were sorta talking to, trust me. My friends bitch and moan about being "lonely" all the time, but I feel like that word is overused. Lonely is not going to a party with your friends upset because your tinder match decided to be a no-show. Loneliness is not being unable to see your significant other for a whole week because you both have been busy with other things. And, most importantly, lonely is not being bored because you simply are too lazy to entertain your own self and want someone else to. Loneliness isn't a feeling another person can cure, it just doesn't work that way.
So, if you're newly single, or have been single for a while — this is completely fine. And if you do happen to find someone with whom you fall deeply in love, great! But don't force something just for the fear of being alone. Don't settle, it gets boring after a while and the smell of inauthenticity reeks when you kiss.
If you're single or in a relationship or somewhere in-between, you should take time to be alone. Or for the people who have a hard time with this, simply practice being alone. Go to the grocery store by yourself, I promise it gets easier with time. Do something to make yourself happy. It's totally acceptable to go to the movies by yourself, or arrive at a party solo. Do something that no one else can do for you. Being single doesn't mean your life is over, it just means you can focus on yourself a little more than usual. And really, when has giving yourself your own, undivided attention ever really been a bad thing?