It’s no secret that movies and TV shows don’t always display realistic representations of love, romance, and dating. The same is true of how single people are portrayed on screen. They’re often sad, desperate, or have given up on finding love completely. It promotes the notion that being single is something to be unhappy about. But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of reasons why you can be both single and happy at the same time. Being single and happy is awesome—here’s how to own it!
1. Embrace the fact that it’s all about you.
Let’s start with the obvious: When you’re single, you get to live life for yourself. You can do what you want, when you want, however you want. That might sound intimidating, but it’s actually great; if you want to settle down one day, life won’t always be all about you. So embrace the fact that you don’t have to answer to anybody else when you’re single—it’s one of the things that people in relationships miss the most.
2. Let your independent side soar.
In some ways, single people are inherently more independent than those coupled up in relationships. Having a partner doesn’t signify a loss of independence, but when you’re single, you might naturally have a stronger sense of self. “One of the risks of being in a close romantic relationship is that your sense of self can get merged with your partner’s, to the extent that you could lose sight of who you really are,” says psychologist Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.
3. Feel free to be more impulsive.
Want to stay out all night? Want to take a job in a new city? Want to quit your job entirely and travel the world for a year? You can! When you’re married or in a serious relationship, it’s more difficult to drop everything and go with your gut; there’s another person you must consider when making major life decisions. But when you’re single, you have the freedom to have fun without having to put roots down.
4. Be more selfish.
Want to do something? Do it! Don’t want to do something? Don’t do it! One of the best parts about being single is that you don’t have to make compromises with anybody. You only have to worry about your schedule, and you can do the things that you want to do without the guilt.
5. Date! Date! Date!
Being single doesn’t necessarily mean being alone. You can still go on dates and meet and experience different types of people. What’s the secret to keep dating fun? Keeping things casual and not feeling pressured to do anything you don’t want to do.
6. Learn to love yourself.
Ultimately, when you’re single, there’s one person you know you can rely on: you! Embracing your single status will teach you a lot about yourself. “In order to give selflessly to your partner, you must first have a secure identity that is not threatened by making room for your partner’s needs in addition to your own,” says Deborah P. Hecker, Ph.D.
Being happily single is easier than you might think, so embrace it! If you do, when a special someone does come along, you’ll be a stronger, smarter, and more confident partner because of it.