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[This post was originally published on hrmag.com as part of the First Person Singular blog.]

True or false? Being single is better than not being single.

It’s been awhile since my last post, and it’s not just because I’ve been really busy. Truthfully, this blog and its topics have finally come to a head. Looking back to my first post in September, I never imagined how much I’d learn about, well, everything—and especially myself, through this little outlet for my weirdest and ever changing thoughts on love and everything like it. I thought I’d put all my thoughts out there and maybe convince a few people to get out of bad relationships. That was my goal. I didn’t think I needed that much reforming. Really, what was I thinking??

First and foremost, I feel I have to clarify to anyone reading that I DON’T despise relationships as much as I might have accidentally gotten across. I can’t even count the number of close friends and family members who thought I was set on being single for the foreseeable future. Single as in not dating, not just single as in unmarried. That was never my intent, ever! The point I was so ridiculously trying to make is that being single is not to be hated. That was all. And yeah, in my “About” section (which has recently been revised) I did say I hoped I would stay single for a long, long time. I was trying to be funny. Har har? Honestly, here’s a confession, something I didn’t really even realize myself till very recently: I’m not trying to delay a relationship or love as long as I possibly can because I despise emotional connections or anything less than 100% independence. It’s just that I was trying to avoid being rejected or hurt. I’m the kind of person who will fortify her feelings and emotions at the tiniest hint of a letdown. I guess I was in denial that that was still true. I think I figured if I delayed not being single as long as I could, or pretended to delay it, I could find the perfect formula to find what I wanted and skip all the uncertainty and heartache…

So there you have it. I tried to fight my very nature, but your heart can’t tell a lie for very long. And many events since September have culminated in the realization that I can’t deny who I am: a romantic and a sap to the highest degree. Sigh. I say that without cringing. And I think I figured out the answer to the question I was asking: when is it better NOT to be single? Anytime. Like now. Right now. There’s no magic amount of money to have in your savings account (although having more certainly helps, in general), no specific point on your career path to reach, no prescribed amount of feeling of “readiness” where the circumstances will align, no number of recipes to have mastered, and no set point on your individual path to enlightenment. It will probably always be inconvenient, but you just have to be aware of a key things: know your boundaries and how/when to assert them, don’t force things to happen or not happen, and it’s okay to wear your heart on your sleeve a little bit.

I’d be lying if I said that the change of heart was sudden, or that it was not influenced by someone in particular. There’s no need to get into details here, but quite frankly, I’ve never met anyone quite like him. And perhaps most importantly of all: I can’t even explain why, but I’ve never felt the way I feel about him about anyone else, ever. And even though things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to, some lessons you just have to learn the hard way.

Anyway, I just had to get that all of this out there. So the point of this post? Don’t do as I’ve said, and don’t do as I’ve done. You can always recover from a relationship that’s gone on way too long or was bad for you…but if something or someone takes a hold of you unexpectedly and inconveniently and maddeningly, believe me, it’s an even bigger mistake to let that something get away…

This will probably be my last post of 2010, as I need some time to think about where to go from here. I am done with overanalyzing–because I’ve realized something: the universe has a funny way of answering everything if you just let it. Look, I still think being single is great, but I’m willing to admit that not being single can be even better. Neither one is the solution to everything. (And to clarify, I am still single.) And I’m definitely not in the mood to wax poetically about the awesome independence that is unattachedness. I don’t want to cling to my singleness as much as I have, even if unintentionally.

Until 2011…

– Pam


It doesn’t matter if you’re single or not; happy or sullen. People will ask:

Why are you still single? Not engaged yet? Not married yet?” Etc.

The question is super annoying, but it won’t go away. And it seems like this time of year, holidays in full swing and reunions with loved ones and old friends aplenty, the question comes at you from left and right. And yeah, it can suck. But it happens, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of asking it of friends myself, even though I know how exasperating it can be to be on the receiving end.

So, how to handle those awkward inquisitions that are sure to come your way?

Turn the question around
Ask the person about his or her significant other. Be nice–it can be tempting if you know the friend is kind of miserable in his/her relationship to lash out for their insensitivity, but be the bigger person and leave out any sardonic undertones. And if they’re happy, be happy for them. People love talking about themselves, so it can be quite easy to bury the question!

Be honest
“I just haven’t met someone yet” or “Things just haven’t worked out” or “I haven’t thought about it lately, I’m pretty busy with [school, work, other commitments]” are perfectly fine answers. Don’t make up a false significant other just to shut them up. 😀

…But be interesting
By the same token, the honest answer might be kind of trite. Melodrama that turns into a good narrative is always a better option (“I just ended it with the craziest person I’ve ever met. Funny story…”) Because there’s always a juicy twist, and even the politest friends will love to hear it! Just be sure you can actually quip about it, but hey, nothing like tears to make sure the other person NEVER asks you that question again…

And finally—

Just be flattered!
If your relationship status puzzles someone, it probably means they think you deserve the next logical step (relationship if you’re single, engagement if you’re dating, kids if you’re married…etc). So swallow your irritation, pick one of the methods above, and take the compliment!

How do YOU handle The Question?