It’s been a while since I blogged about something personal… 1 year and coming 10 months, to be exact. HA. And yes, if you’re reading this, you probably came because you’ve read the title and clicked – and yes, I will get to that. But before I do, a little back story is in order. (Or you can skip and go straight to the main content below.) Why I say 1 year and 10 months, is because back in January 2015, I wrote this article <9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be The Third Party In A Relationship>. And if you’re lazy to read it, the TL;DR version reads: it won’t end well. And the funny thing is, this article has recently been attracting a lot of views, like consistently 20-30+ page views a day, so much so that I was intrigued and then I found out… If you google “third party relationship advice” my blog article comes out top. Not second, not third, but freaking number 1. Case in point:
And a blogger friend (hi Tay ying!) recently commented in a group chat how she was casually reading our blogs and she came across that post and how it was really good. And occasionally I go back to read the article and am also quite impressed (#noshame) how I actually formulated all of that post in one seating, with no prior planning. I guess that’s why they say experience is King because that’s really all you need to actually give credible advice. And so, this recent development of that post really got me thinking – people are searching for relationship/life advice, and I do have a knack in giving them – even if I’ve never had a proper/official relationship and am single right now. And looking back, I was really frustrated with why I was “attracting” all of these attached guys when I just wanted to date a single guy and be in a proper relationship. And it really just dawned on me as I was reflecting / mentally preparing for this post earlier that maybe God intended for me to experience all of those frustrations (nonsense, really) so that I could craft that sincere and heartfelt message and that it would impact 8355 people who viewed the article, as of writing. To give you an idea of how many people 8355 is, it would seat 1.5x of The Star Auditorium which houses only 5000 seats. Additionally, in my recent conversation with a friend (Hi Larry!), I also realized that even though I’m single; I’m not apologetic for that, I’m happy being single. Even without being attached, I’ve had my fair share of dating experiences to share with both guys and girls alike on how to be happily single but still be open to relationships. And that’s what this post is about.
Ok, that was a long introduction, now let’s just dive straight into this post’s main content proper!
10 Practical Advice If You’re 26 and Single (like me)
1.Face up to reality.
Let’s face it, at 26 years old, we’re no longer young, wide-eyed and innocent – as much as we might want to be. For girls, you’ve probably starting working full time at least a good 3 years and for guys, at least 1+ year. Some of my peers who had kids at 21 years old, their baby is no longer a baby, but a fully grown, walking 5 year old kindergarten-going child ,some even already had their 2nd and/or planning/expecting their second. (I know, at this point, you might be wondering what we’re doing with our lives, huh). I realized that before 25, to have a friend who’s married or pregnant really was the minority and a huge Whatsapp chat topic – but past 25, it begins to be a norm. “Oh another one” is what I think when I see another wedding announcement on Facebook, and no longer Whatsapp hot topic worthy. SO, to say that “Aiya, I’m still young.” ain’t that true anymore, we really could be parents at this age. But the silver lining is that we’ve only passed the mid 20s – we’re still 4 years shy before we hit the big 3. So yes, we’ve got time, but now ain’t the time to be shy – if you’re single, you shouldn’t be desperate to be married (really) but you should start to be concerned especially if marriage is something you’re planning for – because you know, finding the right person and dating is required before marriage, right?
2.Be open to meeting new people of the opposite gender in your life – and actually show interest.
I know this sounds like a freaking “duh” statement. But you know how some people are so absorbed with the issue/problem at hand that they don’t see anything else? If you’ve been single all your life and you’ve never or really rarely go on dates, how do you expect yourself to be attached if you let your life just remain status quo? People you’ve known all your life should/would have asked you out if they were keen. It’s true that it’s hard to make close friends with old friends. Please don’t tell me that you expect God to drop you The One from the skies. Or that you hope to knock into him/her on the way to work (speaking of which, there’s this dating app Happn (not linking them cause this is not a sponsored post, lol – but if you find The One from said app, please come back and report). BUT the probability of those are low to non-existent, so please don’t bank on them. Whether it’s joining and attending a cell group in church, volunteering for a charity or the Resident’s Committee (RC) in your neighbourhood, picking up a new hobby like taking up guitar or dance classes – you’ve got to put yourself out there, and why not choose to also spend your time meaningfully while at it? And the “actually show interest” part – I’ve got to address the girls and guys separately for this one. Girls, guys can be really quite dense and/or shy – so if you like him, and in any of the setting I’ve described above (cell group, volunteer work, classes) there WILL be opportunities where you can send a smile/sweet/tissues his way. I’m not saying that you should buy a bag of sweets and store packs of tissues in your bag and start giving them out to all the potential bfs you meet – but if you’re really interested in the guy, you’ve got to actually interact with him, so he can 1. realize that you exist 2. feel your presence 3. have the chance to talk to you, to get to know you better. Now for the guys – Guys, girls are supposedly the more sensitive gender, I know. But girls can also be very shy – and rightly so, especially when it comes to the guy they actually like. So try to engage conversation with the girl in a group setting where possible, to break the ice and if she shows positive interest, then take and continue the conversation to a private setting.
3.Know your worth.
I know this sounds like it’s more for the girls – but it’s really for both girls and guys. It’s easy to tell the girls/easier for girls to relate about knowing your worth because we tend to think that girls are more insecure and less assertive. But the truth is that insecurity hits both genders, isn’t it?
For the girls, I want you to know that you’re a woman of value – God thinks so and your parents think so. If you don’t realize and acknowledge your own worth, you can’t make others realize that – and when they don’t, they will not value you. Hence it’s important that you first know your worth – and act like it. What is your worth, you ask? It’s your time, your words (speech, texts, messages), your actions, your body. Everything that’s got to do with you – it doesn’t define you, but rather you define your worth. It’s when you know you are a woman of value that you behave like it, and everything about you becomes valuable and precious – people want to spend time with you, they want to hear you speak, they appreciate your actions and your being/existence. Humans love what’s limited edition and exclusive – it’s a lie that the world tells when it tells you to give in easily because “true love” is about passion and physical expression – let me lay it down for you, it’s not. Love is more than words, actions and physical touch – it’s about being committed – it’s a conscious decision to remain loyal to another, despite time and aging, all odds and temptations, which WILL come.
If you’re the type that always responds to a late night date/ rendezvous after one message or call and finds it hard to be attached – it’s because people don’t appreciate you. I’m NOT saying you should play hard to get. But if you’re always readily available at 26 when one naturally has to balance work, family and friends, people might think maybe you’re just too free (read: your time is not very valuable, it’s easy to date you out.) Hence, you’ve got to explain to them that you don’t do things and spend time with just anyone – you’re making time, only because and for him/her – then they will start to see you in a different light and treat you better, try it.
For guys, if you’re 26, maybe you’re not anxious – because you’re focused on your career. BUT if you’re actively looking and getting anxious – let me explain that girls always fall for the cool guy. If you’re chatting/WApping this cute girl and she friendzoned you or if you asked a girl out and she rejected you, pls don’t swear off all girls and vow to never speak to said girl again. Firstly, you’ve got to know your worth as a man – nothing oozes more confidence than a man (same for girls) who is confident in his own skin, really. Know that if a girl rejects you, it’s nothing personal. It’s the same if you got rejected for the job, it’s just not a good fit, nothing’s wrong with you. BUT there are ways to make yourself shine – if you know what the girl likes/sees in a partner, find ways to highlight your strengths to her so that she can see those traits in you. Know that if you’ve tried asking the girl you liked out (and hopefully gone on dates with her), it’s all that matters, at least you’ve tried! She’s not the only girl in the world, if she passes you on, know that you’ve got a better girl coming your way (don’t trust me on this, trust yourself on this!). And here’s a piece of more radical (not for the fainthearted) advice – most girls can be won with perseverance – the truth is guys these days give up too easily (you can quote me on this). IF you legit like this girl, and you think that here’s no one but her for you, without bordering on being a psycho/stalker/harassing her, there are ways to continue to show interest as friends until the day when she is finally touched and you’ll have won her heart. I can’t give you exact details or tips on this, but I’m pretty sure there’s a part of the internet that will expound on this topic – found it, it’s here (caveat: I only skimmed through it, but trust that it will be helpful).
Which leads me to this topic, if you know your worth, you won’t settle. We settle for something/someone when we worry that we won’t find something/someone better. Because we feel we are not good enough. But please, don’t settle. I’d rather be single in life than to be attached and have to seat through dinner with someone I have no feelings for (I’d rather be watching drama at home). Don’t, don’t settle. I recently met a friend who broke up with her bf of 9 years (they were slated to marry next year when their BTO is ready). But because she couldn’t foresee a future with then bf, she initiated the breakup. The good news is that she’s now happily attached to someone new. Don’t take my word for it and break up for the sake of breaking up – what I’m saying is, you determine your decisions, consequences and life. So take charge of your life, take charge of your relationships, take charge of your life and don’t settle.
5.Be ready for the one.
So many times we hear people saying “when will I meet Mr/Ms Right?” but have you every stopped to ponder if you will be that Mr/Ms Right for that someone? Well, I have and that’s why I’ve intentionally chose not to rush into relationship. The best “record” I’ve had was having a “friend” asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend after a grand time of one week when I was 16. Spoiler: I said no. And yes, he scared me away. And also, he threatened to jump down the building when I wanted to stop a phone conversation with him the day before Chinese O levels – I was so scared, I continued that conversation for over an hour. Looking back, it certainly wasn’t fun then, but now it brings me and my bff much laughter. And since him, suicide threats by guys have no effect on me. “You want to commit suicide? You’re kidding me.” Digressing aside, perhaps at this age we are already emotionally and mentally mature (I certainly hope you are) to be in a committed relationship sans drama and suicidal threats. Maybe you’ve got a bad temper or a bad habit, now’s a good time to work on it before meeting Mr/Ms Right. That said, ultimately, we got to know that we’re not perfect – so we’re not going to find Mr/Ms Perfect, but we can still be the right one for that right person. 🙂
6.Have a check/prayer list.
This might be debatable, but I subscribe to it and let me explain why. Like finding a house, you need to know what to look out for before house viewing and then signing the contract. If you have NO IDEA what to look for, then you may never know where to start looking, never find a place or the right one. (Unless you end up in an arranged marriage, it’s like moving in a house your parents bought for you, I guess.) And like buying a house – there is no perfect house. But if you can find someone that matches 70% of what you look for, it’s a green light! Also, if you have no idea what to look for, you won’t even know it if your Mr/Ms Right walks right by you! But if you do, it opens your eyes to know if someone potential is near you as he/she will check the boxes on your list! It’s also helpful to pray about the list you might have – like, “dear God, I hope my significant other (SO) is good with managing finances because I’m bad at it.” – not only because God hears our prayers, but also because what our mind asks for, we receive. My friend Su once said, after salvation prayer, our prayer for our SO is the second most important decision in our life, because the person will be the one whom we will spend the rest of our life with. Also, pray for favour! That when others see you, they will naturally like you. 🙂
7.Go on dates.
And yes I mean it – try Tinder, OKCupid, CoffeeMeetsBagel – because, why not? Fun fact: I tried Tinder and OKCupid for the first time in March this year. I deleted both within 3 weeks. Went on 1 date from Tinder who picked me up in a Maserati (dude got married in June, LOL, obviously he wasn’t single in March, tsk), 5 dates from OKCupid and still friends (good friends in fact) with 1 guy. If it’s your first time trying online dating apps – it may be a little overwhelming and definitely time consuming. Tips: fill in your profile with nice photos of yourself and a descriptive profile (get a friend to help if need). For girls, go ahead and ignore, block and delete all sexual related messages. OKCupid is a lot more specific in match pairing then Tinder (swipe left or right). I have a friend who met her fiance on OKCupid and they’re getting married next March, so dating apps definitely work. I’m not recommending dating apps because I think you will definitely find your happily ever after there – but rather I think it’s an effective way of matching busy working adults who have no other avenues of meeting new people if they are too busy for social activities. And also, I think it’s a great way to figure out who you are (if you haven’t already realized this) and what you’re looking for in your SO. Also, the motivation of looking for a SO on these apps can be both a boon and a bane – on one hand, singles are motivated to find someone, which is great. But on the other hand, it might be a challenge to develop a strong friendship (which I think is really important) before jumping into a relationship. For girls, please practice safety and always be the one to decide a safe place and time to meet up with a guy – brunch, lunch. tea time coffee sessions are recommended – avoid night time and alcohol lest said guy becomes frisky and you have a hard time getting away.
8.Read up about dating, relationships and pick up helpful life skills (where time allows, lol).
So much talk about finding Mr/Ms Right and being Mr/Ms Right, there are practical ways to improve and becoming more of a Mr/Ms Right. I’m starting to feel that a guy is really attractive when he shows traits of potentially being a good husband and father, like leadership skills and being good with kids. In the same way, I reckon a guy who wants to settle down and have a family, would look for a girl who enjoys spending time with her family and likes kids. Although my cooking skills are very basic, I’m pretty sure cooking skills are much appreciated, both from guys and girls. So don’t fret if you’re single! Instead of whining and worrying, start investing your time to pick up life skills like doing house chores, cooking and taking care of kids (practise with other people’s kids, LOL). While you’re at it, it doesn’t harm to post about your experiences on FB, maybe your potential SO will notice these positive traits/posts and initiate conversation naturally. 😉
9.Talk to friends from both genders and learn from their experiences.
Again, this might seem like a very “duh” thing again. But either we’re too shy about asking for relationship advice or we don’t have the habit to ask about this kind of personal stuff. (Or maybe it’s just me, I stick to my very small social circle of super close friends that I share my personal life with, lol) The thing is, you’ll be surprised by how much people are willing to share over coffee/meal! It’s good to speak to friends from all spectrum; single, attached, married and just pick up and KIV tips as and where relevant. And also, it’s good to ask for relationship tips from a platonic friend of the opposite gender who will shed insights that a friend of the same gender doesn’t have/can’t give! 😉
10.RELAX and just be yourself.
There’s a phrase that goes “Love comes to those who least expect it. For those of you still waiting, just be a little more patient.” There’s nothing more attractive than a person who’s comfortable in his/her skin doing what he/she’s best at. So continue to work hard in your career and give your best in the things you do and do what you do best – you’re bound to attract your special someone your way! 😉
In case you’re wondering, yes I am single and available. Recently I’ve been texting and went on dinners with a particular guy which I have positive feelings for – not gonna share more on this cause it’s private and will just let nature that it’s course. As to why I’m still single, well in a nutshell, just haven’t met the right guy – maybe I have now, but I’m really not sure about that at this stage… I prefer guys who take the initiative. Thanks for reading the post, just sharing from the heart… hope it’s been helpful! 🙂