In my teens, everyone seemed to be in a relationship. The most unlikely people, people who had though love was gross till a few months ago, were suddenly blushing at the prospect of their first love. It seemed like the whole world but me, was pairing up. Being single seemed an anomaly and was almost a crime! But it taught me important lessons, that I will remember lifelong.

1. I learnt who my true friends were.

My true friends were those who stood by me through my single-hood, who never made snide comments about my lack of a boyfriend, or made me feel any less of a person for being single. People can be mean, particularly teenagers, and it takes a strong person to accept someone for who they are. My single years made me realize that a lot of people are just not worth your time and company; only true friends are.

2. I learnt to be happy without a significant other.

There is immense pressure on people nowadays to find a partner and settle down. Everyone seems to be paired up, even the animals on Noah’s Ark. But the art of being happy with yourself, of not needing a partner to fill the void in your life, isn’t an easy one. It isn’t easy but it is important and crucial to one’s happiness.

3. I learnt not to judge people.

To judge people based on their romantic status, or on the kind of person they are dating, is something only an immature teen would do. It’s mean and hurtful. People are always together for a reason, because they saw something special in their partner, and to deride them, and mock their choices, is beyond mean.

4. I learnt that love can happen between the unlikeliest of pairs.

People who seem most unsuited for each other, who are poles apart, can fall in love. And sometimes, two people who seem perfect for each other on paper, might not hit it off. Love is like that. There is no predicting it, or planning it. It just happens, when it wants to.

5. I learnt that love happens when it does.

Love cannot be rushed. You cannot decide to be in a relationship and wake up to find yourself in one. It will always creep up on you, surreptitiously, sometimes when you least expect it. Love will happen in the most inconvenient of situations, at the worst possible time, and with the most wildly inappropriate people, but that’s what love’s like!

6. I learnt why bad boys are appealing, and how to stay away from them.

Throughout my teens and adult life, I watched so many of my friends, fall for a player, get their heart broken, and learn a lesson. Some learnt it, some didn’t. Some still continue to let douchey fuck -boys, mess them over and get away with it. Being the shoulder to cry on for so many friends taught me to spot a bad boy a mile off, and realize that it’s not worth the pain. Pick a guy who treasures you and makes you happy over a bad-boy any day!

7. I learnt that relationships aren’t everything.

At various points in your life- your teens, so called “marriageable age”, and when you start getting older, will you be under immense pressure to have a serious relationship. It will come, at first from your friends, then from your parents, and when you get older, from behind-your-back whispers! But never give in! Never let someone else dictate when you are ready to fall in live. Pressure can be hard to resist, specially if it’s peer pressure. But if you learn to master it, you will be happier than anyone else.