It’s true that social distancing is hard for everyone, but I’m just going to say it: It’s harder for single people. If you were like me, previously enjoying your single life by having situationship after situationship, then you’re most likely shit out of luck now. It all went down like a game of musical chairs: There you were, bouncing from chair to chair, when suddenly the music stopped while you were making a switch. Now, you’re chairless for who knows how long and forced to pretend you’re interested in pickling or crocheting just to pass the time.
The new reality that we’re living in has given us singles the ultimate test, and most of us find ourselves going through the following five stages of social distancing. As someone who’s experienced all of them several times, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some coping skills.
We’d all prefer to go through these stages with a little dignity, but if instead, you find yourself snuggling up to a box of cereal and calling it Dave, you can rest assured that at least there’s no one around to witness you on an emotional rollercoaster.
Upon learning your cruel fate, you begin to panic. You start making decisions solely based on your desire to not be alone, and find yourself dressed to the nines for your weekly grocery store trip and actively pursuing the sweet old man who bags your groceries. Take a deep breath and remember, you are not really alone, because we’re all in this together.
Sweet, sweet regret. Why didn’t you get married after college? Why didn’t you stay with your high-school sweetheart? Was there anything really wrong with dating a juggalo? (A juggalo, for the uninitiated, is a person who dresses up like a clown and follows the rap group Insane Clown Posse. Don’t look it up. It’s terrifying.) And suddenly, that dude you went out with that’s way too into Dave Matthews Band isn’t sounding so bad. Get a grip — you know how you feel about clowns and birkenstocks. Write down all the reasons you’re grateful that you aren’t with those people and feel good about your decisions.
You know you’re halfway through the stages when you start to get jealous of everyone around you in a relationship. Suddenly, what your parents have isn’t looking too shabby, and your friend who’s dating a CrossFit junkie seems as happy as ever. Just remember, while some people are wishing they were in a relationship, other people are wondering why they’re in the relationship they’ve found themself in during quarantine. The grass is always greener on the other side.
You’re digitally out in these streets like a Kardashian. Posting thirst traps on Insta, trying to reactivate your Tumblr account, and downloading every dating app. You need attention and there’s no shame in that, but at what cost? It’s time to use one of your lifelines: Call a friend. Trust me, they’d much rather hear from you than see you twerking in their Feed for the third time today.
Alas, it’s you against the world, kid. This is the phase where you take a step back and realize no one is worth leaving the house and risking your health and safety for. You’re talking to people on Tinder without the desperation of needing to find someone to hunker down with. You’re finally able to sit and watch your ex’s IG story without sending them heart reactions. Things are under control, and you’re going to make it after all.