“So … are you single?” It’s a question we expect people to have one of two answers to: Yes, or no. You’re either single or you’re not.
But what about all the various degrees of singlehood? Some single people I know haven’t been on a date in years; others are on a date every night; still others haven’t officially declared themselves paired off, but spend most of their free time with the same person. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
1. The Single Still Mourning Their Last Relationship
Your last relationship was a doozy: a Nicholas Sparks-worthy tale of passion, love, and resentment. You might feel like you need a few years to tend to your depleted emotional wells after that break-up. In the meantime, you may find yourself half-heartedly dating, but your heart’s just not into it yet. Instead, you’d rather talk about your last relationship to your (very patient) friends. Don’t worry — we’ve all been there.
Related: 15 Perks to Being Single
2. The Single Who Is Painfully Aware of Being Single
You see yourself as being single above everything: in your mind, it’s your defining characteristic. You’ve started to fixate on the couple sitting in front of you at the movies, rather than on the movie itself. Maybe you resent your paired-up friends. Maybe you start to avoid the topic of dating altogether. You start to feel like the prospect of dating is hopeless — and it will be, unless you turn your attitude around, and start seeing yourself as a person, not just a single person.
3. The Single Who Is Eternally Single (And Content With It)
Work life? Check. Friends? Check. Cool hobbies, interests, clothes, apartment? Check, check, check, check. You seem to have everything in your life, except, for some reason, a relationship.
There’s no good reason why you’re single, that’s just how things sort of are for you right now. Maybe you go on some dates now and then, but for the most part, you find yourself happily settled into your solo routines and habits. Someday, you might make room in your life for a relationship, but for now, it’s not a priority.
4. The Newly Single Person Who Doesn’t Really Mind Being Single
Ah, single again. Well, no big deal: you know the routine. For you, being single is just a time to recalibrate after a relationship. Hang out with friends more, start that project you’ve been putting off, get back to the gym.
After all, it’s sort of nice to be on your own for a while! To have quiet nights in by yourself, and wild nights out with your friends. You totally appreciate the positive side to being single, which is good, because you’re usually not single for long.
5. The Single Person Who Loves The Thrill
Single? Of course you’re single. You wouldn’t dream of being tied to just one person, not when dating is this exciting!
The thrill of the chase, the butterflies, the flirting: you are good at the dating game, and you know it. Maybe someday you’ll settle down, but not while you’re having so much fun.
6. The Single Headhunter
There is an opening in your life, and you’re looking to fill the position of Significant Other ASAP. You take a serious, almost business-like approach to finding a partner (which doesn’t mean you don’t have fun on dates!). You date consistently, and use any method available to you to find dates, whether it’s getting set up by friends, dating online, or meeting people in bars. You’re not willing to waste your time right now on someone who you don’t think has long-term potential, so it’s a lot of first dates with no follow-up. Yeah, it’s been frustrating, at times, but whatever: you’re not easily daunted. And you know that when you set your mind to something, you usually get what you want.
7. The Single Who’s Suddenly Sewing (Oats)
You probably spent your formative years A) completely following the rules at all times, or B) in a serious, long-term relationship. In other words, you’re ready to make up for lost time.
Like a marooned desert wanderer upon reaching an oasis, you have an appetite for dating that can not be easily sated. Drinks with this person, dinner with that person, and text-flirting all night with a third. This is the first time in your life that you’ve felt so sexy and capable, and you’re drunk with power.
The thing is though, you actually want to settle down, and see it in the not-so-different future. So with every flirt-text, you’re measuring someone’s capabilities as a potential partner. But you’re not going to settle for just anybody, and until you find the right somebody, you’re going to make your dating life as exciting as you possible can.
8. The Single Who’s Not Really That Single
Yeah, technically you’re not dating someone, and your Facebook status might proudly say “Single.” But secretly, you’re completely wrapped up in someone else, and you’re not really interested in playing the field. Whether this is an unrequited love that you can’t seem to let go of, or an on-going “maybe we will, maybe we won’t” dalliance, calling you “unattached” is an affront to people who are actually single. This neverland of singlehood is not a good place to hang out in for too long, so either make the leap with the person you’re into, or let them go for good. You’ll probably be happier in the long run.
This post originally appeared on How About We’s blog The Date Report.