It’s about to get real up in here. This is a topic that’s been on my mind for a while (your boy is single too), and I think it’s super important to talk about how to be single in a healthy way. I feel like our culture defines singleness either as wild and crazy partying and random hookups or as something sad and depressing that you should avoid no matter what.
And I don’t buy it. I would argue that not only is being single totally normal and healthy, but it’s also a key part of figuring out who you are and what you want in life. And that will only make you stronger if and when you decide to get married. Let’s be real: Being single is really hard sometimes, but there are also a lot of positives. Here are a few things I’ve been learning during my single season.
Are Single People Happy?
The question of whether single people are happy is a loaded one. My answer would be yes, there are people who are totally content and happy being single, but we all have days where being single sucks.
I’ve also had to learn that it’s possible to be content and happy in singleness and still want to be married. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Marriage is an awesome goal and something worthy of working toward, but that doesn’t mean you’re not thankful for where you are right now.
But sometimes you just need some help and encouragement when you’re flying solo—I know I do—and there’s nothing wrong with that!
How to Be Single and Happy
If you do find that you’re having a rough time being single or struggling to see any good in the situation, here are seven tips for enjoying the single life.
1. Figure out who you are and where you’re going.
Maybe you’ve been in a lot of back-to-back relationships and haven’t ever really taken a breather, or maybe you haven’t been in any but you still feel like you have a lot to figure out with your career and other goals. Singleness is the perfect time to do that. Especially when you’re young, it’s so important to know who you are and what you want in life without the influence of another person.
Hint: Knowing this info will help you find someone you’re actually compatible with!
2. Figure out what you want in a spouse.
Listen, there are all kinds of schools of thought on this. Some people say you should make a list of every single quality you want in a spouse and to pray specifically for that, and other people say you shouldn’t limit yourself and to be open to whatever comes your way.
I say, don’t be too surface level with it. If there are qualities that you are dead set on your future spouse having—like kindness and humility—then take this time to set those standards, and don’t let yourself settle for less. If you’re a person of faith, you probably have “loves Jesus” on your list, and that’s one you shouldn’t compromise on. And make sure that you’re doing the work on your end to become that kind of person as well.
Figuring out what you actually want is just common sense, and you shouldn’t stray away from the qualities that matter. Attraction is important and preferences are real. But hear me on this: Don’t get so caught up in trying to find the perfect person who checks every box on your list that you miss a good, solid person who might be right in front of you.
3. Become financially responsible.
If you have the opportunity to get your finances in order before you meet your man or woman, whether you’re in your 20s or in your 70s, do it! Think about it: You don’t want someone you love taking on your debt. Yes, plenty of people get married and tackle their debt together, but if you can knock it out ahead of time, that’s one way you can love them in advance. Give your future spouse the gift of already knowing how to handle money. That means learning how to make and stick to a monthly budget and working those Baby Steps!
Plus, being financially responsible will help you swerve away from some bad dates. For example, if you’re on board the no-credit-card train and you go on a date with someone who takes out loans like they’re nothing and has five credit cards with no intention of ever getting rid of them, then they’re probably not a good match for you. Thank you, next.
4. Take yourself on dates.
Say what? Okay, I’m not saying your life should be all about you in a selfish way, but I do think it’s important to be cool with doing stuff on your own. I promise you, it builds confidence and social skills.
Go to the movies by yourself—there’s nobody talking in your ear the whole time or making you drop serious cash on an extra ticket and popcorn. Go get food by yourself and just read or people-watch. Go to a concert. Pick something fun that you’d want to do on a regular date and just do it alone. It’s weirdly relaxing.
5. Take care of your health.
When I say “health,” I mean physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The whole deal. They all affect each other—so when one is off, something else is probably off too.
So, taking care of your health could mean going to the gym more often, going to therapy or counseling if you need it, eating better, you name it. For me, it means all of those things plus spending time reading the Bible, getting into a faith community, and having a strong prayer life.
6. Surround yourself with good people.
Build friendships, serve, and put yourself in community with people who will have your back. Nobody ever met their husband or wife by staying in their house all the time. Just get to know people and love them, and who knows—you might meet someone in the process.
And while you’re getting out there and meeting people, take notes on people’s character and how they treat others, not just how they look. Physical attraction is definitely something to look for, but you don’t want someone who’s a 10 on the outside and a three on the inside, you feel me?
7. Set goals for your future marriage.
Take some time to reflect and set goals for what you want your marriage to look like one day. Do you want the kind of house where everyone’s always coming over for dinner or parties and the neighbor kids are always hanging out, or do you want it to be calm and quiet? Do you want to travel and go on mission trips with your spouse? Do you want to adopt kids? What kind of relationship do you want with your spouse? Do you value trust and open communication? Do you want to be focused on serving others as a couple?
Think about this stuff now so that you can start taking steps toward that lifestyle. When you do meet someone, you’ll know pretty quickly if they have similar goals and a similar vision for the future. There’s nothing wrong with compromise, but if you guys can get on the same page up front about what’s important to you, your relationship will be really strong.
There’s no better time to think about who you are, what you want and where you’re going than when you’re in a season of singleness. I sat down with a bunch of my single friends recently to talk about this, so check it out. They dropped some wisdom, you guys!
If you want to keep up with other series like this one, or if you just want to get some motivation and encouragement in your inbox every once in a while, I’ve got your back. You can do this. I know being single ain’t easy, but keep fighting the good fight!
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About Anthony ONeal
Since 2003, Anthony has helped hundreds of thousands of people make smart decisions with their money, relationships, and education. He’s a #1 national bestselling author of Debt-Free Degree and national bestselling author of The Graduate Survival Guide. He recently released Destroy Your Student Loan Debt. He travels the country spreading his encouraging message to help teens and young adults start their lives off right and people of all ages succeed with money. You can follow Anthony on YouTube and Instagram @AnthonyONeal and online at anthonyoneal.com or facebook.com/aoneal.