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‘Being single means nothing. Having fun means everything’

It is a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes, just sometimes, people start relationships at university which end up going the distance and ending in marriage, babies and a happy ever after.

SwansPhotograph: shine-brightly.

Unfortunately, because of this occasional occurrence, in the eyes of our parents meeting a future spouse is just as important during time spent at university as getting a decent degree. It would be easy to put this under the category of things that our parents expect of us that are unlikely, along with drinking minimal amounts and always looking tidy, but the stigma surrounding being a single young person runs deeper than that.

During six whole seasons of Sex and The City, the show’s protagonist Carrie spent roughly one episode enjoying single life and doing whatever she liked. For the other 93 episodes, she was either chasing men who treated her badly or bewailing her single status to her long suffering friends.

This generalised view of singletons as people to be pitied splits young people, and women in particular, into two groups – the defensively single and the smugly taken. This is downright horrible and leads to all sorts of awkward social situations, whether it be a group of single people shunning their friend with a partner, or a few friends with boyfriends or girlfriends desperately forcing their single friends upon each other in an effort to couple everyone up.

Relationship status, rather than being a feature of an individual’s lifestyle, is now regarded almost as a factor which changes the personality of a person. Even just looking at phrases such as “free and single” or “settled down” hint that relationship status is more than just whether or not you have someone to buy a card for on Valentine’s Day.

Of course, when with a new boyfriend or girlfriend a person changes to some extent, whether it be the music they listen to, the clothes they wear or even just picking up habits from their new love interest. In the same way, a newly single person may go out more and want to socialise more after spending an extended period of time in the company of only one person. But is it really fair to assume that every single person who is single or in a relationship is going to behave in a certain way? Of course not, it would be crazy to think so.

Being single does not mean that you have to be a sassy, outgoing person. Neither does it mean you have to be stuck in Bridget Jones-style purgatory until a potential love interest comes along to save you. To be honest, being single doesn’t really mean much. It doesn’t change your personality, or what people will think of you. For many students, the biggest impact being single has on day-to-day life is which box you tick on your Facebook settings.

Instead of seeking the perfect relationship, or the dream single life, why not just do whatever it is that makes you happy. Play some Xbox, read a book, go for a bike ride or eat something really tasty. If you can just take time to enjoy being yourself, you will soon realise that your relationship status does not matter.

14/02/2013

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emilytucker