Top 10 Do's and Don'ts for Single Women

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I started thinking about life as a single adult and the many experiences that occur during this time. Granted, we ultimately learn from these experiences, however, there comes a time when exhibiting the same behaviors starts to hold us back from becoming the best single gals that we can be.

This is not to say that you should cease said behaviors for the expressed purpose of snagging a man. Having witnessed, treated, and been guilty of these actions myself during various points in life, I have learned that a lot of these habits are detrimental to a woman's self-worth, piece of mind, and/or ability to grow as an individual. So what are these behaviors you ask? Presenting:

10 things single girls should stop doing... and what you should do instead.

1. Living by a timetable- Growing up, we learn to develop dreams. Dreams help to shape expectations. Some expectations are healthy: dreaming to find true love; expecting to one day get married, have a career, etc. Then there are the expectations that morph into inflexible requirements, and subsequently begin to haunt us if they do not occur how and when we want them to. For example, saying "I need to be married by the time I'm 26 and be done having kids by 30." Setting up such a rigid requirement for oneself can be extremely stressful and on your 25th birthday when the anxiety starts rolling in, you may feel that you need to find someone {anyone} quickly (i.e. settling) or start feeling inadequate and in despair because you reached that set age without having met the requirement.

What to do instead: Leave yourself open to finding and receiving love at anytime. Hold on to your healthy expectations, but turn off that mental alarm clock and focus on living life as fully as possible in the present.

2. Waiting for company- This is for all the single ladies who ever wanted to travel abroad, skydive, or take a class of some sort, but hesitate to do so because they have no one to go with. Life.Is.Too.Short. Period. Yes, experiencing things with friends and lovers can be great, however, passing up these things because you are trying to avoid the awkwardness that may come with being seen somewhere alone means you are ultimately putting your life on hold.

What to do instead: Time to fold up and put away that security blanket. It's time to take that trip or class or whatever it is that you have put on the back-burner. Alone. Solo. Sometimes the best experiences come from doing thing on your own. You are forced to put yourself out there in a way that you might not if you have a familiar person to latch on to. Often times you meet new people whom you wouldn't have otherwise engaged. Pushing yourself towards this type of independence builds courage and building courage provides a sense of accomplishment that heightens your self-esteem. Nike said it best: "Just Do It."

3. Saying “there are no good men out there”- As frustrating as dating can be, this statement is untrue and counterproductive. There are good men out there and they come in all shapes, sizes, and creeds. However, when you are not meeting this person on your timetable (see above) or if you feel like you are filtering through a constant barrage of d-bags, it is easy to write it off as "all the good ones are taken." Be truthful with yourself. Does this statement make you feel good or does it just leave you more discouraged?

What to do instead: a) Continue to work on loving from the inside out, starting with yourself and then moving on to others. b) Enjoy life as it is, so that eventually your +1 is someone who enhances your happiness, instead of creating it. c) Be open to finding the love that you may not have prescribed for yourself. We all have a picture in our heads of what we want this person to be, and sometimes in reality, the picture looks slightly different than we imagined... and that can be one of the most pleasant surprises of your life :) Every person we date brings us closer to meeting the right one, so stick it out.

4. Sleeping around- Granny had a point when she touted that standard anthem of “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” You know the sitch: You hit it off with a guy, he meets all your requirements, you reeeallly like him, things seem to be going great, so you sleep with him in order to feel closer or ensure exclusivity. A guy is more likely to pull away quicker and not want an exclusive relationship if you sleep with him quickly. In his mind, the work is done and he barely had to put forth effort or engage in any restraint to get it. Also, guys have a mindset where they want to believe that they are the only man or one of few men you have ever slept with. Engaging in sex quickly tends to make men think that it is something that you do all the time.

What to do instead: Make 'em wait awhile. Especially if you reeeallly like him. You know how every season there are one or two coveted fashion must-haves that are impossible to acquire? You may have to search for months, be put on a waiting list, or be very, very well liked and respected by those on the inside to gain access. It can be daunting and frustrating, but that just makes you work harder. Then, when you finally get it, you find the wait was worth it and you treat that item better than any other random bag/shoe/dress that you got from a bargain bin. While this type of strictness in fashion may seem a little ridiculous, it makes perfect sense to use this type of preservation and restraint when it comes to first time sex with a mate. Let's start viewing ourselves as precious commodities, beauties of substance that are worth the wait. It's a wait that will be well received by the right guy. And if he can't wait... let him walk.

5. Sleeping with your ex- In the case of an ex, you may think you can get him back by giving up the goods or perhaps you think have no prospects at the moment and have a desire to feel wanted. Halt, my friends. This DOES NOT bode well for the single gal psyche. In the first case, if you are trying to get your ex back, having sex with him is essentially like letting him have his cake and eat it too. He's single (or sometimes in a new relationship) and you are allowing him the freedom to live life only on his terms and rewarding him for it. There has been no change or meeting half-way or improvement of the core issue that broke you up. In the second case, if you are down on yourself because you have not found anyone else, sex with the ex is only going to make you feel worse about yourself, because at the end of the day, you are still single. It is even harder to move on and open yourself up to the possibility of dating others if you always have a fall-back. Plus this often leads to hyper comparisons of every guy you go out with to your ex.

What to do instead: Cut the cord. Have a talk with your ex and let him know that you've decided to make healthier life choices in order to move on and be happy and that quitting the f-buddy relationship is choice numero uno.

6. Tearing down other women- Ever found yourself saying "He only likes her because she's ____", "She wouldn't be so pretty if she didn't have _____", "SHE only gets to have____, ____, and_____ because she's____!" I think the technical term for this is hater, but let's keep things casual and just say that it's a negative behavior and thought process that speaks to one's own confidence level. Life's hard enough for the single woman navigating through a world built for pairs without being torn down by our brethren.

What to do instead: Embrace the idea of self-improvement. This behavior is usually associated with personal insecurity of some sort, so identify that insecurity and focus on bringing about increased self-love and inner improvement. Also, we should be building each other up as single women. Instead of mentally and/or verbally devaluing, why not go over and say something nice. Focus your energies on positivity and you will bring about positive change in your life.

7. Trying to be perfect- There are few other forms of self-inflicted anxiety that are as damaging as the quest for perfection. We all know or have heard that nobody's perfect. It is an interesting thing, because this quest inevitably leads to constant worry. And if someone was "perfect" then they would never worry, right?? So it is an unattainable and irrational goal that leaves you feeling exhausted and unable to truly enjoy anything...ever.

What to do instead: You have to work on this thinking of you’re not pretty/ smart/ funny/ rich enough and learn to stop comparing yourself to others. Engage in a little self-reflection. Think about what perfection means to you and why you feel you need to be this way. Then question what's the worst that could happen if you did not achieve this perfection. Learning ways to manage your constant perfectionist thinking is important too and you can start here.

8. Stalking your ex-boyfriend- If you find yourself looking at your ex's facebook, twitter, linked-in account, or any other form of access to his personal information... STOP NOW. It never leads to anything good. And what are you looking for exactly? Most likely, signs of whether or not he's moved on or reasons to validate your break-up or break-up regret. All seems well when everything stays the same in his life, but one day things will change...and you may not like what you see.

What to do instead: If you are having a problem prying yourself away from seeking out this information, then it is best to bar yourself access to it. As taboo as it is, go ahead and defriend, unfollow, disconnect. It will make the transition a lot easier and will help you to move on. If he deletes you first, it is likely for the same reason. He deserves to move on as well without the constant temptation to analyze your every word and thought.

9. Turning your nose up at online dating- Ok, so when we had our first taste of the World Wide Web nearly two decades ago, yes, the premise of online dating was more than a little sketch. However, even with advances in technology and the normalizing of controlled voyeurism as a result of social networking, some people still find internet dating to be out of the question. This mentality is usually coupled with thoughts of internet dating being strictly a resource for the desperate, the lonely, the insane, and/or those affected with unfortunate looks/ personalities/ mannerisms.

What to do instead: If you are looking for a way to get back out into the dating world, consider this as a viable option to meet new people who have similar interests. These days there are lots of different options and opportunities to find the right site for you. A big fear with online dating is security. While sites such as match.com are updating their security features to help their users feel safe, it is always advisable to be safe, cautious and trust your instincts. Creepers and predators exist everywhere, whether you're meeting them online or not. Protect yourself by meeting in very public place for the first few dates, using an email address that leads to no personal info, and looking out for warning signs such as extremely outdated looking photographs and lewd, inappropriate language too soon into the vetting process.

10. Thinking that marriage will solve all your problems- Marriage can be a beautiful thing. The merging of two individuals, their lives, and their love. However, as many will tell you, marriage does not a happily ever after make. As said many times before, happiness starts from within you. If you cannot be happy in your unmarried life, you will not be happy in your married one. Marriage is work, a partnership, an iron-man competition. It's not easy and if you have issues that you think marriage will resolve, you must remember that marriage brings more to your plate, not less.

What to do instead: Before you say "I do," make sure you utilize your single years to your advantage. Use them to get a head start on the journey towards finding yourself. Become a more self-aware, compassionate individual. Do the things you always wanted to do. Learn from periods of dismay and work on your happiness like it's a full-time job.

Alright ladies, time to stop doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Today, make a commitment to move forward from the habits that have been holding you back and adopt fresher, healthier way of confronting daily life!

xo
~M

Like what you read? Check out my site at: www.psychandthesinglegirl.com.

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