Single Girls GuideFour Weddings and a MeltdownErin Foster

Nothing makes you take a look at your current relationship status than people around you getting married. One day you’re all high-fiving and living la vida loca together, independent bitches on the prowl. Then all of a sudden, one of your own is all like, “You haven’t purchased anything off my registry yet and the choices are getting down to napkin rings.”And you want to say, “Screw your napkin rings and your happiness, I’ll be sleeping in till twelve tomorrow cause I don’t have to answer to no one!” But once your tantrum is over, you find yourself feeling like maybe it’s time to move on from this kind of behavior.

Someone else’s story always dictates how you feel about your own. The pace they’re setting in their relationship can make you question why yours hasn’t moved as fast, or hasn’t even started. We compare ourselves so much to everyone else and basically live in fear that we’re either missing out on something better or being left behind. I feel like half the people at a wedding are scrutinizing every reason why the couple exchanging rings on the alter will be throwing them at each other within five years accompanied by divorce papers. The other half are trembling with pain and envy that someone up there once again has been given a happy ending, only magnifying her their lack of one. We’re either using someone else’s life to pick it apart and make ours seem better, or propping it up on a pedestal to make us feel inadequate.

You felt fine before the wedding. Content and grounded. But that need to compare ourselves is so strong. It’s almost like we can’t decide if we’re happy or not until we’ve assessed the people around us to see how they’re doing. Then we evaluate if we’ve measured up, if we could consider ourselves worthy. It’s a dangerous game and has the success rate of a dog chasing its tail. The closer you get, the further you get. You know this logically, but that tail is just so close and looks so fun to catch! The best part is that If you were to catch it, you’d be like, “Okay, so I’ve got a bunch of hair between my teeth now and am in an uncomfortable position, this wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.” I may be taking the whole dog and tail reference a little far. You get what I’m saying.

There are a lot of books that say they can tell you the secret to happiness, or that they have the key to keeping a perfect relationship or the path to heaven or the way to get rich, and I know they have good intentions and some of them even have good advice. The downfall is that they make us feel like there is one answer out there for each of our problems, and someone else has it and if we don’t figure out the thing they know that we definitely don’t know, then our whole life is just going to lack meaning. No one has a secret. We all just have opinions. And our opinions are based on our experiences. Which are different than your experiences. And I would say that nine out of ten people I know aren’t secure enough with themselves to actually give real advice that isn’t projecting their own problems onto someone else.

Get your eyes off their plate. No one gets to decide if your life is good or if you are where you were supposed to be at this age. As long as you’re still curious about things and willing to evolve a little, make an adjustment on yourself here and there, you’ll be fine. So, they’re getting married. Or having a baby. Or crazy in love. Well, then it’s their turn to have that, and it’s not taking away anything from you or speeding up any imaginary timeline you’ve decided for yourself. You put it there without reason and you can take it away too. No one else’s story has anything to do with your own. And if they’re uncomfortable with the choices you make, then it’s a bummer that your interesting life is keeping them up at night while you settle into a tantalizing episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and fall asleep with a smile on your face.

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  1. Erin, it is like you are in my brain picking up these thoughts and writing exactly what I need to hear! I am the last girl standing in my group of friends, we all started single “independent bitches on the prowl” and 3 yrs later, everyone’s married and there’s babies! Don’t get me wrong, I love the babies and the weddings (who doesn’t love an open bar and a huge party?!) but all of it definetly threw me into a frenzy about my life and why I was still single and got me thinking about my biological clock ticking away!! Your entry just allowed me to take a deep breath and realize, it’s ok to be the single girl still! Thank you, please don’t stop writing :)

  2. OMG WITH THE WEDDINGS! I went to four last summer, and EVERY TIME I felt like Slowpoke Rodriguez in a Speedy Gonzalezs world because I’ve been single forever and 3 girls from my first-year class got married within 6 weeks of eachother. But I don’t want to be married right now. I don’t even know anyone worth marrying (oh my blog, with the unmarriageables). THANK YOU ERIN! For the next batch of weddings, I’ll keep this post in mind :)

  3. LIKE. :)

  4. @Kassandra: Thank you so much, you’re the sweetest. Tiny meltdowns are always around the corner, that’s just life. But it always gets better after a while. I hope you’re doing good and having a great time! Thanks again for taking the time to be nice to a total stranger. You totally made me smile =)

  5. Story of my life as well. Thanks for your insight. Great column!

  6. Erin this was a great post.

    Anonymous | 11/09/2011 03:11 pm
  7. second Caitlin’s statement.
    you are a gahdamn genius

  8. Are you a trained counselor for single people? Or perhaps just a genius?

  9. One of my biggest fears has been of being the last man standing but the more I read this site, the more I find people in very similar boats. I love that there are so many smart and funny women writing and commenting here. Thanks for a great post and for saying what lots of us are also thinking!

  10. AMEN SISTER! I am getting married in three weeks, and am feeling all of this pressure to adhere to a self-imposed timeline to have children and do all of the other quintessential adult duties. This has really helped me keep it in check. My life will happen on my timeline! always has and always will.

  11. “We’re either using someone else’s life to pick it apart and make ours seem better, or propping it up on a pedestal to make us feel inadequate.”
    I thought it was just me. It doesn’t have to be a wedding; seeing someone have what you think YOU should’ve already had as well, is enough. I’ve been trying to wrap this whole “Don’t compare urself to others” theory around my head, but I can’t seem to make it. I have this constant, annoying notion that everyone else is having so much more fun than I do. Why? Search me. This is so useless and stupid, we make ourselves feel bad for no reason. Anyway, it helps to see that others feel the same way, too, I guess. It’s a sort of relief, that I’m not completely insane.
    PS. I’m SO in a bad mood (CAN YOU TELL?) I watched “Something Borrowed” last night (don’t know what got into me, I thought I was sick of romantic comedies) and for some reason, that movie totally messed me up. See? I told you. I’m having so much fun

    • Amalia, I just read your comment and literally thought it was me. Girl, we are in exactly the same place… even down to watching Something Borrowed. I watched it last week and I was like, who wrote this crap??! It really messed me up as well. People consider that a romantic comedy? Ugh. Anyways, just thought I’d chime in to let you know… you are NOT alone. We all do this. I’m at a point where all my friends are getting married and having babies. I am newly single (was in a 6 yr relationship that ended horribly) and I’ve found myself questioning and comparing my life to everyone elses around me. I battle my rational and irrational thoughts everyday, and I’m finally starting to focus on just me for a change. It really does feel great, but it’s a constant stuggle. We are responsible for our own happiness, so I try to remind myself every single day the reasons I should be happy, not sad. It definitely helps me get through the bad days. :) Anyways, hope your day gets better!!

    • *so much more fun than I am.
      Sorry for the fit. You rock, as always, Erin. Proud fan right here

  12. I am so in love with this and all the guides. It’s like you’re in my head, Erin. Well done. Heading to a wedding next week and I am so looking forward to dancing rather than the “poor me’s” of being the only single girl of my college friends.

  13. This is the best thing I’ve read in months. Thank you for keeping it real.

  14. love it erin! this is so true, we just have to remember that this is their time and our time will come as well :) can’t wait for next weeks!