Call us lone wolves — I prefer badass unicorns — but we’re a special breed of women who prefer being single to being in a relationship. It’s not that we’re commitment-phobes; it’s that we are so committed to our own audacious, awesome lives that we don’t want to needlessly waste our time (and heart) on someone who’s just passing through.

But just because we love singlehood doesn’t mean we’re not open to sharing our lives with someone. If you’re interested in a perpetually single woman, here’s what you need to know:

We’re Not Looking To Take Care of Someone

J Lo said it best: We ain’t your mama. If we’ve held out for this long, you better believe we’re not looking to be your personal chef, maid or psychotherapist. Self-sufficient, responsible, reliable and emotionally healthy and happy dudes need only apply.

We Don’t Like To Rely on Anyone 

We’ve been making major life decisions and opening jars of pickles independently for most of our lives, so you’ll need to understand that asking for help or letting you do stuff for us is going to be a struggle at first. We’re hella headstrong. Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” is basically our anthem. It’s not that we don’t want your help; it will just take some time for us to get used to someone offering it in the first place. (Well, actually, I have no problem with you opening that jar of pickles because I have lousy upper body strength.)

We Love Our Freedom and Alone Time

Being single forever has certain advantages. Like, taking spontaneous trips to Disney World, or watching Netflix all weekend and only getting out of bed to pay the pizza guy. We live for this shit. Asking permission to do our thing does not sit well with us. We understand the value of compromise, but incessant contact (read: needy texting) is not our cup of tea. Also, our alone time is our natural comfort zone. It’s not that we don’t want to see you — we do — but we refuel our energy by having our private downtime. Respect that, and, inversely, we won’t be able to get enough of you.

We Have Our Own Life; You Better Have Yours 

We know that the Jerry Maguire line “you complete me” is B.S. A person cannot be responsible for another person’s happiness. We understand that only we can make ourselves happy, which is why we love our career, have our squad on speed dial (ok, on group text) and why we have as many crazy hobbies as we do. We view relationships as a way to enrich our lives, but it’s not the end-all and be-all to our ultimate fulfillment. So the more interests and friends you have, the better our relationship will be.

We’re Straight Shooters

We hate the game and we hate the player. We don’t like dramatic ploys for attention, or insincere compliments (our “phoney baloney” metre is ON POINT). We like honesty and truth because our lives are rooted deeply in authenticity and personal integrity. We’ll tell you like it is and how we really feel, and we expect the same (although we do have a soft spot for witty banter).

We’ll Doubt Your Intentions — At First 

Because we’ve been single for so long, it’s sometimes hard to believe that someone is romantically interested in us. We’ll doubt your intentions. We’ll brush off your advances. We’ll say, “Oh, we’re just friends.” It’s not because we’re not into you (we probably are); it’s just because we’re not used to dating, so we’re a little rusty. Your patience is very much appreciated!

We Take a While To Open Up

Even though we’re super self-aware individuals, it takes a while for us to share our feelings and experiences with you. We can be pretty private people. Also, because we tend to be deep thinkers/feelers, we don’t adore chit-chat; we much prefer probing convos that last all night long, and those only occur when we totally trust you. And, trust, my friend, is going to take time. But hang in there. We’re enjoying our time with you, and once we do trust you, you’ll never shut us up.

We (Sometimes) Jump into Bed Right Away

I mean, just because we like to be alone doesn’t mean we’re nuns. In fact, we like sex. A lot. (And, depending on our dating rut, we might be a little hard up.) But if we do jump into bed with you, that DOES NOT mean we’re ready to make things serious ASAP. Don’t get it twisted.

We’re Going to Take a While To Commit

It’s not because we don’t like you, or that we don’t enjoy spending time with you. And it’s also not because we don’t want to commit. It’s just…well, when we commit, we fucking COMMIT. It’s all or nothing, baby, and we don’t take that lightly. If we’re with you, it’s because we choose to be, and not because we’re lonely or scared of dying alone with a bunch of cats. In fact, dying alone with cats sounds like a DREAM COME TRUE. So, if we think you’re worthier than that feline fantasy, know that you’re pretty damn special.

You Better Be Damn Ready To Commit If We Are

Don’t be the asshole who’s so impressed that he was able to snag one of us that he spouts all sorts of sweet nothings (read: bullshit) to make us stay. If you want to be with us, you better mean it. Because once we say we’re with you, we’re truly with you. Be real with your intentions, and we’ll all benefit, because a relationship with one of us is one that: a) will last forever or b) you will remember forever.