For some people, being single feels worse during the holidays. One reasons is likely the number of get-togethers. From Thanksgiving Dinner all the way through to New Year’s Day brunches, there is a lot going on. If you don’t like going alone to one cook-out pool party in July, then November through January can be really tough. Especially for the newly single, it can really provoke anxiety.
If you aren’t looking for a potential date, you might worry about feeling pressured. If you are “single but looking,” you might consider that this season offers the best chance of meeting someone. But it works better if you’re in a decent mood. To help you make the most of it, here are some tips for optimizing your fun as a single this season:
- Just go. It’s the time of year that it’s sometimes easier to meet people in person than online. So many people are out and up for fun this time of year. Join them!
- It’s about mind set: Notice you’re in good company! Count the single people (not just the attractive ones). Keep a tally until January First. You might be surprised how many there are. This will counter the tendency to complain that “everybody else is in a couple.”
- Scared of being the proverbial “third wheel”? How exactly would you be more entertaining if there were two of you? Hint: you probably wouldn’t.
- Remember what you dislike about being in a couple (one wants to stay out late, the other wants to go home early, or tells bad jokes.)
- Dress up! Be a good listener! Get to know other people. Be the change you want to see in the world.
- Don’t be afraid to converse with couples. (See number 3). Couples are most likely to set you up with a friend, but not if you’re a drag. They’re sick of each other. Entertain them!
- Don’t just talk to potential dates. That grandma eating all the Oreo balls at the food table? She may have a nephew who looks like Bradley Cooper.
- It’s a great time for volunteer work, which is a very good way to meet people. Tons of organizations need help. (Coat drives, wrapping gifts, delivering food, cooking, etc. ). Pass out water or cocoa at a Jingle Bell 5K. Meet fit people in spandex while you sit and sip.
- Host a party. The holidays provide a ready-made reason. Plus it’s probably a good excuse to clean and decorate.
- Invite a friend out for a movie, Christmas shopping, or to watch a game. It’s okay if they’re a member of a couple. Partnered people like to get out with others too. Important: if they say no, try again, and let them know they should call you if they have an idea. People tend to remember only what’s right in front of their faces.
- Get a mistletoe hat. Don’t get a mistletoe belt buckle. One is super cute; the other is gross.
- Buy yourself something fun, like a bike, or guitar lessons. Use the money you would’ve spent on another person.
- Spend time with your family — and if pressured to be in a relationship, pressure them to get a colonoscopy.
- Wear something jolly — buy some red pants or a fun dress. My neighbor bought himself a snowflake suit. Go big or go home.
- Host a Christmas movie party. Debut your signature cocktail — have you tried the Merry Marge, anyone?
- Do a “scare yourself” advent where you do one thing a day that scares you . (Invite a new person to lunch. Compliment someone. Sign up for one of those freezing lake swimming events for January. Skip dessert. Oooo! Scary!)
- Get some darn exercise. Get a jump on new year’s and go to the gym. Health is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Think about what you want in a partner and BECOME MORE LIKE THAT. You like intelligence? Read a book. You like someone who smells nice? Buy a new scent. Don’t be a hypocrite.
- Steer clear of toxic people who scare you about finding a partner right now! Sometimes misery loves company. Happily coupled people won’t pressure you because they know finding the right person, and becoming the right person, is way more important than pairing up.
- Ignore all impulses to reunite with the one who’s wrong for you! Fear of being lonely will steal all of your opportunities to meet great single people. I repeat. DON’T CALL HIM. Block, block, block. No, that song on the radio is not a sign from God to text her.
- If you can’t bring yourself out of Grinch mode, then treat yourself to a holiday movie marathon, pull on some pajamas with feet, and enjoy the peace of the season.
Margie Wheelhouse is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She provides couples and individual counseling in her office in Springfield, Illinois, and throughout the state by phone and web.