Being single, like everything else in life, has its pros and cons. It’s easy to feel lonely if you’re the only single person in your friend group. When your Instagram feed is flooded with pictures of perfect couples, it might make you pine for a relationship that you don’t have right now. That’s OK, and you're definitely not the only one in this boat. Even though relationships have long been considered the “ideal” by some, there are dozens of lessons you can learn from being single and reasons being single makes you more independent.
This is not to say that people in relationships aren't independent. You can absolutely be an independent person and still be in a loving relationship. Not being single doesn't mean that you depend on your partner for everything. It doesn't even mean that you depend on them at all! You're totally capable of standing on your own two feet when you're in a relationship, and that fact alone may even make your relationship stronger. But there is something to be said about spending time single can make you more independent and teach you valuable life lessons about how to be your own person.
1. You’re The Only One Responsible For You
Although you should always be your own number one priority (whether in a relationship or not), being single means that you don’t have to worry about anyone else as much as yourself. While you'll still worry about your family and friends when you're single, (because, of course, you care about them), being single also means that you're the only one taking care of you. If you had a wild night out, getting home and being smart is your responsibility. You can't blame anyone else for any bad behavior on your part, for being late to brunch, or for not paying the bills on time. Everything is on you, and that makes you more accountable for your actions.
Having full control of your decisions is a double-edged sword. While being free to make your own plans without having to consider anyone else is great, it also makes you solely responsible for the outcomes of your choices. Of course, you can always ask your family and friends for advice, but not having anyone else constantly weigh in means that the consequences are on you.
2. It Makes You Realize You're Capable Of Doing Anything You Want, Even Things You Don't Like
Being single means you might have to get comfortable doing annoying things that would totally be easier with another person. For example, if you're at a social event where you don't know anyone (and you didn't bring a friend along), you're forced to make good conversation and socialize by yourself. Say no to standing in a corner by yourself. That's weird. Go out there and simmer in the awkwardness. Once you start talking to people, you'll learn that you can really stand on your own.
This also applies to more unpleasant situations, like killing bugs, building furniture, and grabbing things from the top shelf that would be so much easier to grab with someone else around. Although there’s no doubt it’s nice to have someone to help you with the small, yet tough things in life, being single can force you to do those things yourself and teach you to stand on your own two feet when you need to.
3. You Learn To Enjoy Your Alone Time
Instead of fearing the silence around you, being single gives you the opportunity to really bask in your solitude and appreciate it for the R&R it offers. You quickly realize that you don't need anyone else around to have a good time. A sheet mask and a bubble bath on a Friday night in? Ummm, amazing! And you don't need anyone to do that with. Going through something rough? Not having anyone around to make you feel better or distract you pushes you to learn to console yourself, whether that's a marathon Netflix session or a good cry. Learning how to be there for yourself when you don't have a regular partner to do that for you can make you a much stronger person.
Of course, you can always lean on your family and friends during hard times — that's what they're there for! — but being single can help you realize that you don't always need anyone else, and that's invaluable.
4. You Have A Clearer Vision Of What You Want Your Future To Look Like
When you're able to pursue the things you want without hesitation, it gives you a clearer vision of what you want your future to look like, because there's no one else to consider in the process. Spending time single lets you envision what you want, without anyone else's input. And this can help you actually take the steps to make your goals happen more quickly. Plus, when you're clear about what you want for yourself, you can better convey that to a partner if or when you get into a serious relationship in the future.
Again, when you're single and not really thinking about anyone else, you're held accountable for your own decisions. If things don't go as planned or if you have to adjust your vision, it's your own responsibility to do so and to make the necessary changes in your life. Another cool thing is that, when you're single, you have the full liberty of studying abroad or taking a job in another city, without having to consider another person's wants in the process. This way, all of your energy and responsibility goes toward your amazing new experience, instead of keeping love alive.
5. You Get To Know Your Body Really Well
Being single doesn't mean that you don't have regular sex. Whether you have a regular sexual partner when you're single or not, being single gives you more opportunities (and responsibility) to explore your own body on your own time and determine exactly the kind of pleasure you want and how you want it. This allows you to learn more about yourself, to learn how to vocalize what you want in the bedroom, and as a result, you may find it easier to talk about sex with another person, or a future boyfriend/girlfriend.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!