Being single is always a mixed bag. On the one hand you have the freedom to find yourself and explore the world uninhibited by the responsibility of a significant other, and on the other hand feeling the isolation and longing that inevitably emerge intermittently. But of course the aim is to embrace being single, to enjoy it and to thrive in the freedom and the potential for self-exploration. And to help us to embrace this independent lifestyle, we have many sources of inspiration in the media. Mostly, these emphasise the fun lad or lass on the town sort of lifestyle that we seem to associate with being free and single. We are constantly told of the benefits of being “young, single and ready to mingle”, we are told how to relish the partying lifestyle and how to plan the perfect night out. But what about those who are single and introverted?
A friend of mine recently told me of her own personal tensions in this area. As a single woman she felt an enormous pressure to conform to the socio-cultural expectations, arranging nights out whenever possible. Ultimately, as a natural introvert, she found herself unable to maintain the kind of lifestyle that she felt was expected, and started engaging in guilt-tripping behaviour. She felt that if she couldn’t be an extroverted single, not only was it a sign of her natural desires being somehow defective, she would also be unable to find a new partner. This is the struggle of the introverted single.
It seems that if you are not the stereotypical single person, you are encouraged to fall into this kind of distorted thinking. And this kind of thinking neglects the very best thing about being single; you don’t have to fit in to any mould, nor do you have to preoccupy yourself with the pressure to settle down. Realistically, you are not defective. You are not in danger of being forever single unless you want to be. You do not have to go out every night, nor should you feel bad if you don’t.
Being single is all about embracing who you are. Introvert, extrovert or something in between, this is the time to accept and nurture your authentic self, unashamedly.