Why am I the only single friend?

Graphic shows a young single person hugging herself, surrounded by loved up couples
A white banner with text that reads 'young people's voices'
I’m Izzi Clark (25) and I work at a GP surgery supporting lonely and isolated patients. I have been a GenNow Ambassador for over a year helping with the NOW campaigns. I would love to continue working with The Mix, connecting with young people to support their health and wellbeing 🙂

Coping with being the only single friend

Navigating through your teens and 20s is an exciting, turbulent yet confusing part of your life. Everyone is making different decisions during this period as we all try to work out how to adult. But have you all of a sudden found yourself surrounded by happy, loved-up couples and wondering, ‘why is everyone else in a relationship and I am not?’.

Feeling lonely

Being the single friend can be isolating, particularly if your friends seem to always be busy with their partners or struggle to make time to hang out with you. Places can become quickly associated with being activities for couples and you find yourself scrolling past yet another Winter Wonderland story on Instagram. You may feel jealous of your friends finding the ‘love of their lives’ or perhaps jealous of the partners who have taken your friends away. Either way, sitting round watching NOW whilst your friends are busy starting their love story can be difficult and make you question if there is something wrong with you (spoiler – there isn’t).

Visit The Mix’s loneliness page to get support for loneliness.

Why not me?

We’ve all been there, usually late at night, where we wonder if we are good enough, question whether we will be lonely forever and we go through every single one of our flaws one by one, wishing for a miracle to cure them. We start to wonder why all our friends can find love but not us – are we doing something wrong? The pressure to find the perfect relationship is added to by unhelpful input from family members. Whether it be parents trying to set us up or grandparents asking when they are getting their grandkids. This can make holidays and festive periods particularly awkward, especially if a sibling gets engaged too!

Being judged

So, to go from being single to a relationship means putting in the effort to find the perfect partner… right? We take the advice from everyone, we swipe through the apps, go on dates and maybe even mistakenly wake up in someone else’s house the next morning.

But telling these stories to our friends who are coupled up can result in feeling that they are judging you or that they are being patronising about your antics. You accept their advice on how ‘easy’ it is to stay open-minded to meet people and to try to be more confident to speak to people through gritted teeth, knowing that the single world can be brutal.

However, a true friend should be supportive, understanding and have your key interests at heart. If you do feel any of these ways, then have an honest conversation with your friends so they can be more aware of their actions.

It is ok to be single!

Despite the difficulties mentioned, if you are the single friend then honestly there is nothing to worry about! Being in a relationship does not magically solve all your problems and in some cases can be a key source of stress. I, personally, found out the hard way and decided to stay in a relationship for way longer than I should have. It was only after months did I realise the reason I wasn’t sleeping or eating right and why I was feeling anxious 24/7 was because of the relationship itself.

The second it ended I felt a weight off my shoulders and had an instant desire to find out who I really was and what it was I wanted in life. Becoming dependent on someone can be hard if you are not ready, so if it feels wrong or you aren’t happy – then either the partner is not for you or you are better off being single for now! Don’t enter a relationship for the sake of it or just to be ‘taken’ like your friends – you have your whole life to instead find a solid, healthy relationship, so enjoy this time to have fun!

Time to focus on YOU

You can make all the decisions in your life without having to involve someone else or consider a partner’s needs. Practicing self-love and self-care means that if you do stumble across love, you will know exactly who you are, what you want and more importantly what you don’t want. It is so important to know how to love yourself and stand independently before entering a relationship. Self-awareness is key to knowing our own flaws and identifying when perhaps we make mistakes or are in the wrong (after all, nobody is perfect!).

Read The Mix’s article on being single and happy.

Everything will work out exactly how it is meant to

Being in your teens-20s can feel like a constant pressure to be at a certain stage at a certain age. Social media is bombarded with photos of engagements, babies and buying houses and it can be hard not to play the comparison game. We may grow up expecting to be married at 25 and to have kids by 30, but there is no right or wrong timeline. With an ageing population and women being able to BOSS our career, it’s all changed!

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is don’t wish for the next stage of your life when you are currently living in the one you previously wished for. You are exactly in the place you are meant to be and whatever is meant to happen will. Whether that involves finding a partner, getting your dream career or being able to find happiness! All goals are amazing to achieve. So, hang on in there being the single friend, let your friends know how you are feeling or go meet some other people like you! We have all got this.

Next Steps


Updated on 17-Jan-2022

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