I have spent the last two and a half years in Sheﬃeld in a long-distance relationship, and I am spending my final year and a half here out of one. If you’re newly single (like me) and fancy doing something other than wallowing in your own heartbreak and misery (like I’ve been doing), Sheﬃeld is the perfect place to test out your newly found singledom and get back on your feet.
Here’s a list of a few things I’ve done during my time in Sheﬃeld that I think could help all my newly single friends out:
Cafés: I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent in the cafés in Sheﬃeld. Steam Yard and 200° on Division Street are my favourites, but there’s nothing wrong with staying a little closer to uni and trying out all the amazing treats Coffee Revs does (they do waﬄes now?!?!?!). Going to a café alone with a book or laptop to do work is one of my favourite things to do in Sheﬃeld, but going to a café with friends for a good chat is infinitely better when it comes to taking your mind off your ex (or at least highlight all their bad qualities so you don’t miss them as much). Do this over a hot chocolate and vegan dough-not (Steam Yard is the one for these bad boys) and you’ll forget all about your heartbreak. Ambulo, a new cafe that’s been making waves, is also a cracking place, but only if you dare venture into deep Hallam territory over in the Millennium Gallery.
Parks: I am hugely fortunate, in a strange gothy sort of way, that my house backs onto Sheﬃeld General Cemetery, the Victorian cemetery/park just off Ecclesall Road. If you’re a dog lover like me, I suggest walking round this park, or any of the many, many others Sheffield has to offer (Endcliffe Park on Eccy Road is one of the best) and watching all the dogs on their walks. If you’re really lucky they might even come over to you for an ear scratch, and then you have a temporary furry little friend to cheer you up. Aren’t dogs great?
Volunteering: If you’re a cat person or general animal lover and don’t fancy lurking in cemeteries in the hopes of meeting other people’s dogs, Sheﬃeld Cat Shelter is often looking for volunteers. This is the purrrfect way (I’m not sorry) for an animal lover to take their mind off their heartbreak whilst helping some very neglected cats get used to people again. They also have two shops you can volunteer in if you’d rather help a charity out in other ways, and there are so many other worthy causes around Sheﬃeld you could donate your time to if neither of these take your fancy.
Gigs: Sheﬃeld has an amazing local music and arts scene (there’s so much more than Arctic Monkeys and Pulp) that’s crying out for your support. Spectre Burlesque and Cora Pearl have put on some of the best shows I’ve been to in Sheﬃeld, and I would deﬁnitely recommend seeing either (or both) of them at their next performances. If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sheﬃeld is the place to be. I’ve recently seen Alaska and Sharon Needles (my all-time favourite) in town, and so many more queens will be performing here over the next few months. Aside from RuGirls, Sheﬃeld has a fabulous drag scene that is definitely worth checking out and supporting, because drag is so much more than what we see on TV. Finally, we are lucky enough to have several amazing music and comedy venues in our city, as well as some wonderful theatres. Catch Alex Horne and the Horne Section at City Hall, or Catfish and the Bottlemen at FlyDSA arena, and laugh/sing your heartache away.
But most importantly: remember that your past relationship does not define you. You are more than enough as you are, and you are never alone, no matter how lonely you may feel. Yes, it hurts and yes, it’s rubbish. Yes, it’s absolutely fine to do none of the things on this list if everything seems too much. Yes, you can cry and scream and give the cuddly toys they gave you to your dog, and relish as they rip the wing off a once treasured Porg. But it gets easier. Each day will hurt a little less until one day you’ll graduate and realise you didn’t need them after all. Hang in there friends, go out and fall in love with this beautiful city instead and let me know where the best dog spotting sites are so I can make some more friends.