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10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

Being Single

Being single can be tough, especially for someone who really wants to be in a relationship. When I was single, I could be so envious of those in committed relationships and thought that if only I had someone, all my problems would go away.

The ironic part is that even if those relationships were full of drama and problems, I still thought I’d be happier. I just wanted someone to love me. I wanted it right now.

I used to rationalize the reasons why I was single and would convince myself that it was because of some defect in who I was. We can be so hard on ourselves.

I wish I knew more, when I was younger and single, than what I know now. It would have saved me many years of struggling to be happy as a single guy who really wanted to find true love. Now happily married, I look back at all the stuff that worked and all the things that didn’t when I was single.

In my mature single days, I’ve found that these 10 lessons to be the most helpful.

Love Yourself and Love BEING AROUND Yourself

This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. You may have heard this before, but the only way you can truly love somebody else is if you love yourself first. It really is true.

However, it continues to be a common belief that finding true love will somehow complete you. Remember the movie Jerry Maguire? I remember when I first watched that scene when Tom Cruise rushes in and boldly exclaims, “You complete me.”

I actually thought to myself, “Who can I complete? There has to be hundreds of women who need me to complete them!” I was so cool.

It’s as if we are a complicated puzzle and if we just find that one perfect match, all our problems will go away.

The truth is, nobody can love you more than you can love yourself. A relationship won’t save you or fill some empty part of you.

It’s easy to think this way because we all want to be loved by someone. It feels good to be loved.

But, true love comes when two people love themselves first and can share that intimate love with each other. Love yourself first.

Here is something you can try.

I used to do this a lot when I felt uncomfortable being alone. In fact, it might make you uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it.

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Go out to eat and treat yourself to a nice dinner. Yep, that’s right you and YOU only. Proudly request a table for one and sit by yourself. Don’t worry about what others think and make sure it’s a sit down restaurant. It can’t be at an airport either! Enjoy the meal and spending time with yourself. Savor the meal you have. Feel uncomfortable? That means you need to do it again.

Love being around yourself.

Find Ways to Lift Up Your Spirit

Ask yourself this, what sort of things get you excited? In other words, if you had a free afternoon to do what you enjoy, what would it be?

You can also think of something that really excites you that you may have neglected when you were in a relationship. Often, in toxic relationships we tend to lose some of who we are and what we enjoy doing.

It can even be as simple as catching up with some old friends.

I used to make “singles mix tapes” (MP3 or Playlist for the younger crowd) of songs that really would lift up my mood.

Find songs that really lift up your mood (I will not go into all the songs I picked but one of them was by a band called Chumbawamba)

Already do things that lift you up? Do more of them. Try something new.

Stop Wishing What Could Have Been

It is so easy to think about the past, especially the good stuff. The good memories take up way more head space than the bad, or at least we don’t remember all of life’s minutiae (life’s minutiae = awesome rock band name).

Many of us figuratively go to that “happy place”- a faraway land where we hope we can live some day.

Have you ever told yourself,
“If only I was still in love with (ex or at all) things would be different. I would be so happy”

I know I have.

When you find yourself thinking about the “what if’s” in life, try the following:

Ask yourself, is this actually useful in helping me be happy right now. Is it helping in any way? Probably not.

It is very easy to think of ideal situations and what could have been. But, when we live in the past, it cripples us from living in the present.

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We begin to hold ourselves back feeling stuck in another time.

Take this Time to Figure Out What’s Really Important

This is the time where looking back at past relationships can be beneficial. Try to look at it as objectively as you can.

What really didn’t work in past relationships? What was something you thought you really wanted but realized that it wasn’t really that important?

Decide for yourself what you truly want out of that relationship. You’ve heard the old saying, “don’t settle for something less”. But, what does that mean for you?

Write it out if it helps. It’s helped me become more objective because it is no longer trapped in my mind.

One caveat.

PLEASE, don’t be the person with “the list”. You know who I’m talking about.

They’ve made a checklist of their “perfect” mate and if that person doesn’t meet exactly every one of those 27, it’s a hard no.

If you tend to do this, I encourage you to ask yourself why all of these are important- the deeper meaning. You may find that it may have something to do with you instead.

Spend some time on this.

Stop Idealizing Your Ex

Your ex is not perfect. Accept it. We tend to associate this person with all of the good memories when we are feeling lonely. The hard truth is this:

Your ex is a person that you are not in a relationship with any more. That is it.

They are nothing more, nothing less.

Your perception of your ex is in fact YOUR perception of who you think that person is. They may be a great person. That’s fine. There are people in my life who I think are great but don’t put them up on pedestals.

Try and let go of the idea of what this person represents and simply acknowledge their place. It also can be useful to ask yourself what you learned from that person. I’ve even written down why I’m grateful for that person and what they taught me about myself today.

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The more you start viewing your ex as who they are, the easier it will become to let go of what you think they should be.

Feel Genuinely Happy for Others in Relationships

This includes your ex. It’s ok to feel jealous, but it’s important to really understand what jealousy is really masking.

It is human nature to feel jealous. But, next time you feel jealous, stop and ask what is that feeling all about. What is it in me that is missing that I am seeking externally? Am I insecure about something?

One way that has helped me get over some of this feelings is to verbally tell friends how happy I am for his or her relationship. In turn, they are happy to hear it and that energy will only bounce back to you.

The best part? The more you tell people how happy you are for them, the better you will feel about relationships. You begin to associate relationships as something positive even as a single person.

You also stop comparing yourself to others because it isn’t about you. It’s just about telling people how great you feel about them.

Your Life Isn’t Over

After a breakup or a long time living in the single world, I used to think I would actually be single forever. There was no hope.

All I could think about was my life as a long and lonely single one, because it was all I could see. We often put these blinders on and can’t see past what’s in our minds.

Someone once showed me a very simple tool that really helped me keep things in perspective. Draw a long line with a beginning and an end point with the day your were born as 0 and the age you think will be your last, respectively.

Then, draw a square from points representing ages when you have actually been single. You can even break up the square to smaller spaces when you’ve been dating or in a relationship. Or, when you believe you could have been in a long term committed relationship and/or married.

You will find that the space is actually quite small compared to your potential lifespan.

This is just to get you to view this moment in time as only a sliver of life.

Get Out and Meet People

The best time to do this is when you’re single- at ANY age. There are plenty of ways to find and meet new people. Join a meetup.com group or join a free dating site and meet other singles in your area. You may not find a relationship right away, but it’s always great to practice.

Go out drinks with some coworkers after work.

Earlier we talked about doing more things that excite you. What are some things that excite you that other people may also enjoy? Then, think about where you might find like-minded people. Maybe it’s an online group or local club.

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You don’t have to make it your mission to find your soulmate but just go out and meet more people. When people want to be around you, you may find you start attracting more people you may be interested in, without even realizing it.

I don’t even suggest setting expectations for yourself. The point is to not try too hard and to just have fun with it.

Get out there!

Find People You Can Relate To

In my hardest times, I’ve always found it helpful to reach out to someone I trust. A friend, family member, or someone going through the same thing as you, can really help you make sense of how you feel.

It is a lot easier to joke about the challenges of single life with someone who is also single. In fact, it’s helpful to know that you aren’t the only one thinking some of those crazy thoughts.

Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” just popped in my head. You can even relate to that!

I also find it helpful to watch comedians talk about their failed relationships. They often have a great way of presenting their own lives as something all of us can relate to. Some of them are so open about their shortcomings. Even better, they make you laugh!

I caution you not to get too wrapped up in the negativity of others. There are some single people I know who constantly complain about their single lives. This doesn’t help you.

Find people who you can relate to but also can lift you up, not put you down.

It’s OK to be single

Embrace this time in your life. Don’t beat yourself up about being single. It is much better to be happy alone than miserable with someone else.

Just because someone is in a relationship, does not mean they are happy. It’s helpful to remind yourself of this.

Every day brings a choice as to how you can live the single life. Remind yourself that it is ok to be single and choose to live a happy single life by loving yourself first.

Despite what all of the sappy country songs tell you, you don’t have to be miserable, lonely, and desperate when you’re single.

I’m going to get a little mushy here- if you do feel bummed that you are single, just start to acknowledge those feelings. It’s better to feel them then hold more of them inside.

Actually, being single can be a lot of fun. Embrace it!

Come back to these lessons as a reminder that everyone is single at one point or another, and it’s how you choose to live the single life that is up to you.

Featured photo credit: Ryan Mcguire via gratisography.com

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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