By Madison Oxx
In college, people are obsessed with finding someone to be with. Whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, students often find the idea of spending time alone inconceivable. You might have a friend or two that you can always count on to be in a relationship at any given moment. And you might think that some people are just made for relationships — sometimes they just function better that way, right?
You may have even heard the term “cuffing season” as a friend’s excuse to be in a relationship. This is basically any time in the fall or winter when someone becomes lonely or depressed due to the cold weather and feels like they need to be with someone or “in a relationship” to lessen the burden of loneliness. Personally, I’ve seen how being in college and subsequently being stressed about classes, exams and the end of the semester can make this feeling worse for some people.
Here’s a tip: college is the time to find yourself. If you don’t spend any time alone, you won’t be able to get to know who you are as a person. I have a friend who wakes up in the morning, goes to work and class, spends time with her friends in between, goes to meetings and events, and then goes out and hangs out with whoever her boyfriend is that week.
I often ask her when she takes time for herself and if there is any point in the day when she is actually alone for more than 10 minutes. During freshman and sophomore year, when you share a confined living space with another person, you should take an hour or two out of every day to spend time alone and reflect on your thoughts and feelings.
The secret about people who are always in relationships is that they are probably afraid to be single. If they are used to being in relationships, they just don’t know how to be alone, which has the effect of making them jump into relationships with people they wouldn’t normally see themselves with long-term. They’re settling for the fear of being by themselves, either because they are scared to be alone or because they think they’ll be judged for being single.
The truth is, being single is not scary, wrong or weird. In fact, it can be a really great opportunity to get to know yourself as a person. It’s really important to know everything you can about yourself before getting to know other people on a more serious level. And if you’re getting into a relationship just because you don’t want to be alone, then the odds are that you’re going to end up being more unhappy than you were before. It’s important to learn how to be comfortable with being by yourself because it’s not bad to be alone.
Personally, I find that I’d rather be alone than be with someone not worth my time or someone that doesn’t make me happy. In fact, when I’m with someone and find that I’m happier being with them than spending time alone because I genuinely like them, that’s how I know the relationship is legitimate.
Don’t be afraid to be single. Take some time to experiment with being independent and you might find yourself happier and more settled than you were before.