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Advice

Why you shouldn't panic when everyone starts dating but you

It seemed so much simpler back in elementary school when boys had cooties, didn’t it? Somehow everything feels more complicated and scary when all of your friends are getting their first kiss and starting to pair off—especially if you aren’t.

It’s hard to be the only one at a sleepover who doesn’t have a "first kiss" tale to tell, and it’s even harder when your best friend is gushing about her new BF and you can’t relate. But despite what movies, songs and books might lead you to believe, it’s perfectly okay to not be interested in dating, no matter how old you are. Not everyone is even interested in dating at all, and that’s okay, too. What’s not okay is being hard on yourself about it. If it feels like cupid is shooting everyone but you, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. It’s not a race. It’s okay to have your first kiss when you’re 10 and it’s okay to decide you never want to kiss anyone. Your dating experience doesn’t change a single thing about you. There’s no score, there’s no winner and no one is keeping track. Everyone is learning from their experiences just like you are, and everyone learns at different rates. It’s not a competition.

2. It will be worth the wait. If and when you do find someone who’s right for you, you’ll be more mature and might be more ready to be in a relationship. When you rush into something just to cross it off the checklist, all the magic goes away. You’re far better off just letting it happen on its own instead of trying to force it.

3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. It’s perfectly normal to start wondering why you’re the only one who hasn’t had these experiences, but the truth is, there are more people like you than you think. You are not defined by who you’ve kissed, who you like or who you’ve dated. You are you, and you are a complete person without these experiences.

4. It doesn’t matter what your friends are doing. Your decision to wait or date should be entirely based on what’s right for you, not what will help you fit in. If you want to talk to your crush, then by all means, go for it! Just don’t rush into anything you aren’t ready for simply because you feel like you have to. Even if your friends are dating now, it’s extremely unlikely that those relationships will be #endgame.

5. It won’t be a big deal forever. Of course it’s a big deal right now, and it might still feel like a big deal when it happens, but at some point in your life your first relationship will just be a story you tell at dinner parties and nothing more. Someday you will find the person who’s right for you, and by then you won’t even remember why you cared how old you were when you found them.

Your relationship status does not define you no matter which way you spin it. Blast some Beyoncé and party with the single ladies—'cause why not?!

How many of your friends are dating? Are you yourself dating? Tell us in the comments below.

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by Alexis Ancel | 2/21/2018
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