There is this growing trend (actually maybe it was there all along but I never noticed it until recently) of our generation seeking relationships with urgency and viewing singleness (or a lack of experience with relationships) as sub-par or undesirable.
There is just SO much wrong with this mindset.
I could go on for years about how much I think this mindset is flawed but for the sake of attention span in reading I will try and summarise. Here goes:
Let me give you a scenario which is all too common for both guys and girls in our young adult stage of life. The situation is two friendship groups of people of the same age and mixed gender for both groups meet for the first time. For the next few hours to weeks, all everyone is thinking of is “who out of this group of people would be compatible with me?” Everyone is out there checking everyone other person out. Welcome to what is our social experience.
YES some of this is unavoidable. With hormones running through our body like crazy and a knowledge that we might actually be in relationships in the future, looking out for potential is all well and good. However if we start viewing everyone through the lens of: “Does this person have potential” then we mess up any possibility of initiating real, genuine and meaningful friendships. We mess up the whole friendship building stage. We miss out on the amazing times we have when we seek to get to know someone just for the sake of getting to know someone and with no strings attached whatsoever.
Singleness is actually an important thing. There’s a friend of mine who wrote this recently:
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love; it may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.
It couldn’t be truer. We need to be able to get to a point of complete comfortableness by ourselves and in our own skin before we can seek to love another person completely and allow them to do the same. Toxic relationships are built when we seek to find someone to ‘fill a void’ within us. Becoming dependent on anyone just isn’t healthy.
In addition, by being single we inevitably get to extend our friendship circles and be close to a wider range of friends than if we were in a relationship. Having a girlfriend or boyfriend means that a large part of our emotional, thinking and time tank is devoted to that special person. Not being in a relationship means we can spread that out with a greater variety of people.
Being in a relationship isn’t for everyone. Even in saying that I feel as if I’m saying something that is taboo. But it’s true. Equally, that isn’t to say that wanting a relationship is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is a good thing. It’s just that before we can get to that point we need to seriously think about ourselves and whether we are ready for that step.
A good relationship is complimentary. It works because two people love hanging out with each other, know each other well and understand each other’s values and what makes each other tick. It’s never perfect because we all have our own problems and niggles that annoy us but it is a work in progress that is worth the effort.
With that vision in mind though, let’s be content in working on who we are as single people and building strong friendships in which we can genuinely care without needing to become possessive or dependent.