Why You Should Embrace Being 'The Single Friend'

If you're the type of person that finds yourself as the third (or fifth) wheel more often than you'd like, you certainly aren't alone.

There seems to be an unspoken pattern in friendships that lays out that when one of your friends ends up in a relationship, so do the rest. And yet, some of us continue to remain "the single friend"—the one who keeps getting either excluded from cute couples' activities or who gets invited, but winds up with the feeling that your coupled-up friends are pitying you the whole time.

A teenage couple cuddles on a couch while their friend sits at the other end alone and looks unhappy

(via Shutterstock)

Here's the thing: being the single friend isn't a bad thing! In fact, this is a status we should actually embrace, as it comes with quite a few unspoken benefits. Here's why being the dreaded "single friend" isn't so bad after all:

You Learn How to Be Independent

Independence is one of the most important characteristics you can have, but it's something that has to be gained through experience rather than being taught. The problem is that becoming independent isn't always easy, and it certainly isn't always fun. But through your time spent alone or with friends, family, pets or anyone other than a romantic partner, you're actually learning more about who you are as a person. Maybe you develop new skills you could turn into a career one day, or discover a passion you didn't know you had. Being single forces you to learn how to do things on your own and enjoy yourself while doing them, and that is one of the best skills you can ever have.

Shutterstock: Woman in sunglasses happy and smiling at the beach

(via Shutterstock)

You Discover What You Do and Don't Want Out of a Relationship

When the rest of your friends (or at least a good number of them) are in relationships, you end up with a front row view of all their ups and downs. Whether your friend's boyfriend or girlfriend acts differently around their friends, forgets about their partner's birthday, texts back super inconsistently, makes rude or insensitive jokes or displays any other behavior that strikes you as upsetting, being the single friend means that you get to see these behaviors up close and personal and get to decide how you feel about them. When your friends in relationships come crying to you about what's going on, you get to council them and later bring their experiences into any future relationships of your own.

You Have More Time for What Really Matters

While there are couples out there that have successfully stuck it out since they were teens, they are pretty far and few between. Most people we hear from say that looking back, they wish they hadn't "wasted so much time" on people and relationships that caused them so much pain and anxiety and left them with mostly bad memories in the end. By embracing being "the single friend,"you have all the time in the world to better yourself and make great memories that really will last a lifetime.

So the next time someone tries to pity you for your single status or you find yourself wishing you could be in a relationship just like your friends, remind yourself that this is a title worthy of wearing with pride.

Shutterstock: two friends looking at phone and smiling

(via Shutterstock)

Single and proud? Click HERE for our favorite Instagram captions to celebrate being single.