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Erika Ettin column: You’re not 'still single'

Erika Ettin helps people navigate the world of online dating.

Erika Ettin

A client sent me a text recently asking, “Can I ask you? Why am I still single? In your opinion? Maybe I’m not putting enough effort in? I want love to find me! Arghhh!”

I actually get questions like this more often than one might think.

I replied, “This sounds like a question that can’t be answered over text! You’ve obviously had relationships, so you’re not ‘still’ single. I have no doubt you could be with someone right now — many people. But you’re not looking to just be with someone; you want someone great. And that connection takes time.”

When dating — whether you’ve been single for a month, a year or 10 years — it’s important to remember a few key things:

1. You’re not “still” single.


Let’s abolish “still” from our thinking, meaning you are lacking or somehow behind in life. You are not. Instead, let’s try “single and available” or “single and looking.” That has a much more positive connotation. Along those lines, it’s important to stop viewing being single as something to fear or fix.

2. Love will not just find you.

Just like when searching for a job, a new job will not come knocking at your door. Neither will love… unless there’s a cute UberEats delivery person. Finding a great partner takes time and effort — and often money.

3. The goal is not to find just any partner.

The goal is to find the right partner. Don’t be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship. I can’t imagine a worse fate than committing to someone just to be with someone or to overcome societal pressure.

4. Stop comparing yourself to friends.

Your friends have different criteria and standards than you do. I love my friends, but I probably wouldn’t have picked most of their spouses! This is not a race to be won.

5. Try to enjoy being single.


No one is meant to complete you; someone should only complement you. And being in a relationship will not make you happy. That’s your responsibility. So try to look inward, do the things you love, and become the best version of yourself. That, in turn, will make you a better catch for someone in the future. And remember, when you’re single, you can kiss anyone you want… barring omicron variant risks, of course!

All that said, let’s go back to point No. 2 — dating, and subsequently, finding love, takes time and effort. So what should you be doing with that time in order to get yourself out there?

While it seems obvious, online dating is a great place to start. And I don’t mean just slapping up a profile and expecting great things. I mean taking your time to choose the best pictures you have (I recommend five total on all sites but Hinge, which requires six), crafting a profile that represents the unique person you are (and never leaving the profile section blank!), and proactively swiping, sending messages, etc.

You could also join a Meetup group for something you’re interested in, like hiking or painting or dining out. Or ask your friends to start telling you when they find interesting events in the area so you can tag along.

In the end, being single isn’t an enemy or a curse. Rather, it’s an opportunity to better yourself, figure out what you’re looking for, and then set out to find it.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge , where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter, , for updates and tips. ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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