Who is Alex and what is this? This is an advice column where I, Alex, answer your questions about dating and about life. Got a question you want to see featured? Submit it in the comments below!

“I’m a recent grad and I still live at home. I want to date, but I’m really embarrassed about this aspect of my life. What should I do?”

Plenty of young people live at home these days. Rent in most major cities has skyrocketed and wages haven’t caught up to that. Roommate living situations aren’t for everyone—and I think we’ve all heard the horror stories that can come with that. So my advice to you is to just own it. 

You’re living at home, so what? You’re working to improve your situation, you’re actively planning for the future, you’re figuring your stuff out—these are the things that quality prospective partners will look for. Jobs can be terminated unexpectedly, circumstances can change. If and/or when those things happen, you’ll fare much better if you’re with someone who’s with you for who you are and what you represent—not what you have.

“Hello. I am fairly young and have a very high paying job in tech.  Growing up, I was very socially awkward and didn’t receive much attention from the opposite sex. This has left me very inexperienced when it comes to dating. My success has afforded me new opportunities in this realm and I’m struggling to navigate them. What advice do you have?”
Group of single friends sitting at a table
Group of single friends sitting at a table

Ideally, you have some friends. Friends are important for anyone who’s dating, but, for you, they’re especially important. When we as human beings meet someone we’re particularly attracted to, we tend to become blind to the red flags presented by that person. That’s why it’s important to confide in friends about the way a new relationship or potential relationship is unfolding. And it’s doubly important for you because you might not be experienced enough to recognize some of those red flags yourself. Triply important, actually, because it sounds like there’s a bit of room for someone take advantage of you.

“My life is really busy right now. I’m in school and working full-time and I just don’t have time to date. Sometimes it’s really hard to stay focused, though. It seems like everyone’s got someone except for me.  What should I do?”

Our society places a lot of emphasis on traditional monogamous companionship. Single people get asked about it constantly—“So are you seeing anyone these days?” And our media supports this emphasis by putting a romantic subplot in just about every movie and television program that comes out. All of these things work together to make it really hard to just feel content while single—I get it. But you don’t need to be miserable about this just because society thinks you should.

From the sounds of it, you have a lot going on. I’m hoping some of what you have going on includes some meaningful friendships and hobbies. So ultimately, if what you have going on in life is fulfilling to you, you should stand up for it, so to speak. When your single friends are commiserating together about being single, be the voice that says that you don’t mind it and that you have plenty of good things in your life. If you aren’t fulfilled by what’s going on in your life, however, then maybe it’s time to make some changes that will afford you the extra time you need to find things that will fulfill you. Easier said than done, I know, but you’re only young once and youth is a terrible thing waste. So go to the gym, take yourself out to dinner once in a while, and remember to drink enough water.

Have a question for Alex, our dating expert? Visit his blog Ask Jeff’s Dad or leave a comment down below!

This article was originally published by GREY Journal.