Sorry about taking a few months off there from my column duties. Bad Dina! *gentle wrist slap* I’d love to give a belated thank you to everyone who attended the first meeting of SGLA: Single Geeks in LA a few months ago. The event was quite successful (minus a few glitches) and I’m planning another pre-Valentine’s event in February, so stayed tuned if you’re one of my southern California readers.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day, today we delve into the tricky problem of how to survive the long holiday season as a single person without going completely insane or making some very bad decisions. I had a friend once who refused to date anyone between Halloween and Valentine’s Day and I didn’t personally agree with it, I could certain understand the sentiment. The holidays can be a joyous time full of family and friends, but it’s also a time for parties you have to attend alone, being grilled by your grandmother as to why you’re still single and holidays custom-built for couples. Here’s a few things that might help you not only survive, but flourish this time of year.
1) Embrace your life and don’t allow others to make you feel bad about the current state of your dating life.
-We all have those people in our lives that like to make you feel bad for being single, even if they don’t mean to. Many coupled people forget what it’s like to be single and they can make you feel like there’s something wrong with being alone at this time of year. I’m here to tell you that there’s not. The situation is what it is and feeling bad over your current status won’t help you to find someone. If someone asks why you’re still single, be honest and tell them you just haven’t met the right person, but that you’re definitely looking for that perfect person for you. You never know, Aunt Marge or your boss’ wife just might know an amazing guy or gal who could end up being your date for next year’s party.
2) Acknowledge that starting a relationship over the holidays can be tricky.
-I’m not advising that if you meet someone the week before Thanksgiving that you shouldn’t ask them out. Never give up an opportunity to date someone because they may not still be single come January. Make sure you manage expectations so you can avoid any hurt feelings. Don’t feel pressured to bring them to any special events at work or with family if it’s too soon. Best to avoid any talk of office parties and if they ask you to an event that you’re uncomfortable with, don’t freak out, just politely decline and say you’ve got other plans that evening. Make sure the other person knows you’re interested, but perhaps take things a bit slower than you would at other times of the year.
3) If you’ve started dating someone and you get swamped over the holidays, don’t disappear.
-I have seen this happen more often than you’d think. You form a connection with someone in October or November and then your schedule becomes completely insane for the rest of the year. There’s barely enough time in the day to finish your work and shopping, let alone go out on dates. If you truly don’t have time to see someone you think you’d like to date, let them know and continue to communicate with them, even if it’s only online or on the phone. Don’t just disappear because you’re too busy. Be honest about your schedule and pick up right away after life gets back to normal in January.
4) Volunteer your time for a local charity.
-Charitable organizations are always in desperate need of volunteers during the holiday season. Go out and do something good for an important cause and you might be surprised at what can happen. Not only will you be doing good for others, you will feel better about yourself and you will meet some high quality people in the process. If you’re looking for a nice guy (or girl), it’s hard to imagine a better place to meet them than during volunteer work.
5) Make sure you have a good wingman or woman and keep an eye out for other singles.
-Holiday parties can be depressing being surrounded by mushy couples, but try and approach it as an opportunity to meet other singles. The advantage of all of those obvious couples is that it’ll be easier to spot that cute guy/gal over in the corner without a date. Go talk to them and if you need help, bring along a wingwoman or man who can help you approach them. If you’re at an office party, ask your married friend to help you out if need be. If they work together, it could be the perfect opportunity to make that first introduction.
6) Avoid first dates on major holidays (especially New Year’s Eve & Valentine’s Day).
-It may seem quite romantic to ask someone out for New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day as a first date (or very early on in the relationship), but this can put way too much pressure on things. All the restaurants will be packed with couples, things will be expensive and it’ll be hard to have a relaxing evening on such a big occasion. Wait a week and ask them out then.
7) Be careful not to make bad dating/relationship decisions because you’re feeling lonely or you need a date for a party.
-We’ve all been there, the company Christmas party is coming up and you get an email from HR asking if you’re bringing a date. You know everyone is going to be there with their significant others and you dread showing up without a date. Hopefully you’ve got a friend at work who you can hang out with that night or a good (platonic) friend who can accompany you. If not, don’t be tempted to call up your ex or anyone else that you wouldn’t ask out under normal circumstances. Don’t do anything that you’ll regret later just because you’re feeling stressed or lonely. Be confident enough go alone and be okay with that. This can be a very lonely season, but don’t give up hope. That perfect relationship could be waiting just around the corner and you’ll want to be open and ready for them.
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That’s it from me today my extraordinary friends. Have a wonderful holiday season and I hope to hear from you soon with any stories, questions or column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org!