I had many relationship failures in my twenties, from long-term cohabitation to friendships with guys who were looking for more than I was. Since getting married, there have been many successes too. I learned a lot of things the hard way, here’s what I would go back and tell my single self.
1. Be clear about your intentions from the beginning.
I know you’re comfortable with and at times even prefer men as friends. That’s (mostly) ok (See #4). Here’s the thing about single guys though, they almost always have intentions different than your own. I know you don’t believe this, but it’s true. There’s nothing wrong with having friends of the opposite sex, BUT be clear about your intentions from the beginning. It doesn’t have to be awkward or formal, just a simple, “Hey, I’m really glad we can be friends, but I just want to be clear that that’s all I’m looking for here.” It’ll save you from some awkward conversations and hurt feelings later on. Trust me.
2. Wear more clothes.
Another thing about guys you haven’t quite figured out yet, they are super visual. Super visual. And you’re right, you aren’t responsible for their thoughts but it wouldn’t hurt for you to wear more clothes. The attention you’re garnering is not the kind you want.
I know you are proud of your body, but one day you’re going to regret those cut off shorts and cropped tank top. You’re confident enough to pull it off, but you want guys to see more than just outward beauty. Embrace all of you who are—mind, body, and soul—because that’s who you really are and what you ought to flaunt.
3. Love, by definition, is free.
If someone doesn’t want to be with you, the best thing you can do is let them go. Forcing someone to be with you by just being around all the time isn’t love. And it’s kinda creepy. In order for love to be genuine it has to be freely given. True love is free; it can’t be taken or coerced.
4. Find your female tribe.
I know you are a guy’s girl, but do not discount female friendship. Not all chicks are shallow and petty. There are some really cool ones out there. Women who speak life to other women are worth their weight in gold and being one of them is a high calling. If you can’t find a man to date, find some women to lock arms with and do life together. Build each other up and invest in one another. We ladies need each other.
5. Don’t resent your single life.
You’re single! It’s awesome! I know it’s hard now, our current stage of life is always the one we wish would pass but don’t resent your life. LIVE IT. Live it to the fullest. Read books and go on hikes and take road trips. Get really comfortable with yourself so you know who you are when it’s time to commit yourself to a spouse.
Many lessons in life are learned through experience. But I’d like to think if I had the chance, I would heed the advice of an older version of me. I’d tell my younger self to be the best she can be. This is the only life you get.