A couple of years ago, Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show, asked people on Twitter why were they single. He immediately received plenty of replies and they were so entertaining and insightful, even we at Bored Panda did a piece about them.
Thinking there might be more good stories out there, Fallon decided to revisit the topic. On April 27th, he tweeted the same question and the Internet proved him right. Once again, he got loads of hilarious and honest answers, and once again, we just have to show them to you. Enjoy!
According to relationship coach Alisha Fisher, some of the biggest challenges of being single come from expectations. Particularly those that tell us being in a relationship is something that makes us happy. So when we're not in one, we must not be happy. However, "being in a relationship is a cultural standard that is slowly being pushed against," Fisher told Bored Panda. "Singlehood is seen by some as a curse, so it now becomes a battle of internalized shame and external judgment. The dating world has and continues to shift dramatically from week to week. It is not only heartbreak and STBBI's (STDs/STIs) that we need to be concerned about, it is also the threat of our and our family's health from the COVID pandemic."
Official numbers agree with this. Adults in the US are increasingly delaying saying "I Do". The median age at first marriage in the country has continued to rise in recent years from 27.1 and 25.3 years in 2003 for males and females, respectively, to 29.8 and 27.8 years in 2018, the Census Bureau reported. In addition, as many as 35.7 million Americans live alone now, 28% of households. That is up from 13% of households in 1960 and 23% in 1980.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing. "Being single can be a great time for personal reflection, it all comes down to how you choose to balance exploration with self-care," Fisher explained. "There are relationships of all kinds in our lives that we can work on, relationships with friends, colleagues, family, extended family, nature, spiritual world, even the relationship with your social media followers."
"With that being said, being single can feel very lonely, so learning about what gets you motivated every day (this could include learning about your personality type), how to effectively navigate your mental health with mindfulness and grounding strategies, and, of course, learning about what brings you pleasure, both inside and outside the bedroom."
Author, psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, educator, and speaker Kendra Cherry wrote in Verywell Mind that even though there is a wealth of research pointing to the psychological downsides of loneliness and social isolation, there is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that a certain amount of quality time alone is critical to well-being. This research suggests that some things are just better off being done by yourself without the distractions, opinions, or influences of other people.
"It is important to remember that being alone and loneliness are two very different things," Cherry explained. "Loneliness involves being isolated despite wanting social connections, where being alone means taking time for yourself between regular social interactions."
Marriage & relationship coach Suzanne Venker thinks that living solo and "doing what you want when you want fosters a life that becomes so self-serving that when people eventually do get married, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to shift gears and take into account other individuals who have needs and desires of their own."
"At the end of the day, it's via commitment that we grow as human beings. Being single doesn't ask people to look in the mirror and face their weaknesses in order to become better people," Venker explained her point of view. "It doesn't require someone to derail his or her plans to accommodate the needs of others. It doesn't expect people to learn the art of patience because they won't need to. Being single doesn't ask much of anyone. Singles can live however they see fit, with zero compromises. That's not growth; it's inertia."
Venker believes the answer to the question of whether or not a single person should date lies in marriage. Or rather, what they think of it. "If you're open to marriage, date. And if you're not open to marriage, don't date," she said. "Dating without purpose is a waste of time. Also, learn and accept what marriage is before dating anyone seriously. Marriage is ultimately about raising a family (most couples have children) and about building a life with someone who shares your goals. Don't waste your time with anyone who's not on your same page. You cannot make someone into the person you wish he or she to be, so move on to the next person when you realize your values aren't aligned."
Alisha Fisher, however, says the number one relationship you will have in your life is the relationship with yourself, and forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations and relationships may initially alleviate some initial discomfort, but the effects on your mental health may be draining. "I use a sundae analogy for this, you are a glorious sundae, with all the succulent toppings, the meaning of a relationship in your life should relate to an extra cherry, or drizzle, thus, adding to the amazing sundae that you already are. Relationships should not complete you, but rather, enhance you."
Regardless of how you feel about being single, we have no guarantees of time with anyone but ourselves. And it's something we have to make peace with.