Think being single is difficult around the holidays? The summer can feel a bit worse. While it’s acceptable to lay low during the winter months, it’s harder to justify just hanging out when the rest of the world seems to be enjoying every last UV ray of sunshine. This is especially the case if you lived in parts of the country where snowstorms never seemed to end.
Yet we all know people who seem to have solid summer schedules, no matter their romantic status. They’re grilling by the lake, hopping on stand-up paddleboards, fishing with nieces and nephews, organizing brunches or happy hours, visiting old high school friends, trying out yoga in the park or joining running or cycling groups. They realize that watching fireworks or an outdoor film is much more fun on a blanket with a sweetie, yet they still manage to set up satisfying single lives.
Then there are people who tend to float through lazy summer days. Of course, some people don’t over-plan on purpose. But this column is for people for whom long unstructured weekends that stretch on forever feel like low-level torture. They might be content with spontaneous visits to a café with a gripping novel, but one whiff of campfire fills them with longing and reminds them what they’re missing out on.
This is the time of year when the world is sunniest and most alive. The weeks fly by quickly, so be mindful of how you want to spend your time – with or without a significant other.
Here are some tips on how to savor the season:
1) Find activities where you can meet other people.
This advice is pretty standard, but it’s worth repeating. Find things to do where there will be other single people. Check out Meetups, religious organizations, community associations, recreational leagues, alumni groups or the bulletin board at your local sporting goods store or café. After recently moving from New York City back to my hometown of San Diego, I was terrified about leaving my social circle. After a couple hours of searching online, I realized I could book up an entire week with wine and cheese tastings, girls’ nights out, a college game-watching at a local bar, cooking classes, book readings, and group swim workouts. There is a shocking amount of things to do out there, and it doesn’t take much effort to learn about them.
2) Find activities where you don’t have to meet other people.
You don’t hear this advice often, but sometimes I think it can be more important than approaching a cluster of eligible singles with nametags. If you’re looking for love, sometimes it’s exhausting always being in a “looking” state of mind. If you think of going on a date as having to put on a “game face,” then it’s time to take a break and reconnect with yourself. Go swimming with your college roommate and don’t worry if your roots are showing. Have a few beers with your cousin at an outside café and really listen to the family gossip without constantly checking out who else is there. Or find an activity where you’re just looking to meet friends. When you’re relaxed and happy, you’ll have a better chance of connecting with someone special later. Bonus points if you swear off eye makeup or dig out those old paint-splattered cargo shorts that no one thinks look good.
3) Create your own adventure.
Maybe you don’t have vacation days or a group of pals available to hang out with. You can organize your own events by asking people you do know to join you at a local concert on the lawn. Or maybe you resolve to try out a new café or craft brewery every week. Want to try out sailing but don’t know anyone with a boat? Add your name to a local yacht club’s bulletin board for skippers looking for crew. My favorite Meetup story is about a guy who invited people to join him at a beach bonfire to celebrate the full moon. A few full moons later, the gathering grew to a huge community event made up of more than 100 people and multiple bonfires.
Take charge of your single life and makes some plans. Go on a road trip to visit a special aunt or old friend. Take some pics and post them on your online dating profile. And bring back some good stories to tell your dates.
About the Author:
Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate and Salon.