4 Struggles of Being Single During The Holidays, and How To Deal

The holiday season is officially upon us, friends.

There is so much to look forward to this time of year, right? Limited edition coffee drinks, omnipresent images of a dude with a killer beard and lots of weird-looking deer, cuddle weather…etc. It’s almost universally considered to be a pretty fantastic time of year.

But hold on, let’s focus on that “cuddle weather” part for a moment, shall we? Cuddle weather means weather specifically for being with others. An entire weather dedicated to appreciating intimacy. Honestly, the holidays can be a lonely time, even for those of us that are pretty okay with being single the rest of the year.

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Although there are undeniably few struggles that can come with being a singleton during this time of year, there are also many ways to deal with them. Let’s take a look.

Awkward explanations at family gatherings

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The Problem 

Holiday season is prime-effing-time for a barrage of relationship-centered questions from well meaning family members. “Do you have a boyfriend? Are you still seeing that one guy? Are you seeing anyone at all? Are you dying alone, surrounded by cats named after your ex-boyfriends?”

“Um, no. I mean, yes, I’m seeing someone, but he goes to school in Canada. He can’t come down here, actually, ever. Yeah. I’ll probably end things with him soon, which is weird, because he’s so in love with me and perfect…anyway. Will someone please pass the mashed potatoes?”

The Solution

Bring your best friend with you to every family gathering. Drink copious amounts of wine throughout the night. Loudly proclaim that you are “just not even interested in a relationship at the moment” and talk about your career instead. (Unless that’s awkward too, in which case, just stick to drinking wine with your BFF.)

Holidays equal presents. Presents equal happiness.

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The Problem

Look, we hate capitalism as much as the next person, but we also really like gifts, so it’s kinda sad that we’re going to end up with less of the meaningless objects that we so desperately desire.

The Solution

Put this spin on it: you’re saving money because you don’t have to buy your significant other a gift. Score, right? Alternatively: go buy yourself a gift. Treat yourself. (Unless, like a certain writer, you are incredibly, incredibly broke. In which case, do NOT treat yourself.)

No warm significant other’s outerwear to borrow/steal.

The Problem

Yes, an important aspect of a relationship is the fulfilling emotional connection, but hear me out on this: one of the best things about dating someone, hands down, is the feeling of wearing their hoodies/zip-ups/holiday jumpers. Being single is awesome, but also means that you cannot do that. Bummer.

The Solution

Eh, just buy your own, I guess. Step one: snuggle up alone and think about your meaningful connection to the deepest part of yourself. Step two: revel in the gentle warmth of self-love.

A cold bed is an awful thing

The Problem

That moment between crawling into bed at night and entering the frigid embrace of the arctic nightmare that is your cold bedsheets can be a sad one. There are pretty easy ways to warm up a bed that require another person to be there, if you know what I mean. (Read: forcing them to enter first and roll around alone for a few minutes to heat it up for your entrance, obviously.)

The Solution

Buy a heating blanket, they’re 100% fucking worth it. Or perhaps invest in an inexpensive space heater, if you’re scared of sleeping under the cause of a potential electrical burn. Target even has a guide to choosing the perfect heater! What a time to be alive.

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But in all seriousness; being single doesn’t have to be a lonely struggle during the holiday season. A solid 75-85% of it can be fixed with a run to your local Target, so there is no reason to worry about it for more than a hot second.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments, and remember:

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How To Not Get a Second Date

Is there anything more nerve-wracking than a looming first date with someone new? It is an event that is both thrilling and terrifying. The struggle to make a good first impression on a potential suitor never fails to flood the mind with a variety of questions.

Some of them are practical: it’s 2015, should we split the check? Some are delicate: should I invite them inside? Some are inane: should I tell them about my fear of elevators?

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And the list goes on. If you want to ensure that there’s going to be a second date, it can feel like every little thing you bring up could send the other person running for the hills. I mean, we want them to learn about us as people, yes, but we don’t want to shower them with all the bleak stuff about our lives just yet, you know?

Luckily, if you’ve already hit it off and are cruising through conversation sans difficulties, you’re probably going to be fine. But just as a friendly reminder – there are a couple of things that you should 100% never, ever do on a first date unless you’re trying desperately to get out of a second one.

Talking about your ex

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Don’t. Do. This. This is not the time to rant about how your ex-girlfriend “just didn’t get” you. It shows that you haven’t moved on yet, and is super off-putting. Force yourself to shut up and talk about how much you love The Wire or whatever instead.

Talking exclusively about yourself

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Do people know that they’re doing this? Because it’s legitimately awful and eye-roll worthy. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most interesting person on the planet, if you don’t occasionally shut the fuck up and engage with the person sitting across from you, you’re never going to get a second date. And you probably don’t deserve one.

Being rude to the waiter/bartender/anyone

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Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Seriously. Being a dick to someone just trying to do their job is uncalled for and a massive red flag for deeper issues. Until you acquire some basic manners, please do everyone else a favor and remove yourself from the dating pool.

Using your phone constantly

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Why do people think this is okay? Unless you’re texting emojis to Dominos to get you and your date a large pizza or showing them a picture of your cat, put away the goddamn iPhone. Checking your friend’s drunken snapchats can wait.

Making ignorant statements about sensitive/important topics 

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From vaguely sexist comments to Donald Trump-level declarations about race and gender, there is nothing worse on a first date than the moment where it dawns on you that the person sipping on an overpriced drink in front of you is kind of awful.

On the plus side, now that they’ve shown their true colors, you can feel good about never going on a second date with them and forever ignoring their texts.

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In short, to get a second date, you’re gonna want to aim to not be a terrible person on the first one.

So, do you think you can manage that?

Our Anxiety With Dating Apps

There’s no getting around the fact that how human beings interact on a romantic/sexual/emotional basis has changed remarkably in the last decade. While dating has always undoubtedly been a complex and annoyingly stressful phenomenon, now it’s becoming very differently layered. The old rules are still there, but they’re changing. Fast. And we’re all just trying to keep up.

I love technology, and dating is a thing I’ve been known to dabble in, but I honestly think I might just be way too fucking anxious for dating apps. I’m completely aware that a good majority of young people find staring at a stranger’s carefully chosen selfie to be a fun pastime and not at all anxiety-inducing, but I just can’t do it. It’s so much work. There are an insane amount of lonely (or narcissistic) people out there, and after a while they all start to run together in a witty-message-shaped-blur. It loses novelty value very fast.

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But I know that instant gratification can be a rush, too. Tinder is narcissistic validation in the palm of your hand. I have, however, used them for long enough to know that messages on dating apps inevitably fall into a few easily definable categories.

The genuine attempt at connection.

This person read your profile top to bottom sent you off something that addresses as many in-common things as possible. They are almost definitely new to the game. These are the ones I usually respond to before freaking out and app-deleting.

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The self-aware and burned out shout into the void

This person has hit the point of copy-and-paste, and whether or not they’re trying to conceal that, it’s painfully obvious. They have stared into the romantic internet void and it has stared back into them and left them like this.

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The “let’s meet up without ever talking!” message

This person doesn’t care that you (a complete stranger) might chop them up and deposit them in trash bags on the side of the highway. They do not care. They don’t know anything about you, but they do want to know if next Thursday is a good day for grabbing coffee or getting murdered or whatever.

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The boring and forgettable pick up lines.

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The horny serial killer approach

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The Point

But it wasn’t just the messages that made me anxious. It was also the discomfort brought on by a growing awareness of a weird contradiction between intimacy and personal detachment that I couldn’t shake even after seeing a 98% compatibility score. None of it felt real or meaningful in any way. It kinda felt made up, overly common, and bullshitty.  

And it’s all this effort expended for….what? To put a rush order on sexual/emotional/romantic gratification? That didn’t seem worth it. I wondered if I was alone in thinking that it was a lot of work for very little reward, so I decided to do research.

In place of conducting a legit scientific study on my too-much-effort-sucks theory, I surveyed a sample size of a whopping two guys at work how they felt about dating apps. They both agreed that while it was fun at first, it soon began to feel predictable and like a chore. It was, they admitted, a lot of effort for little reward. Relief trickled in. It was nice to know that I wasn’t completely alone in my laziness.

They didn’t 100% share my sense of existential anxiety about the detached nature of dating apps, but they did both admit that using the app didn’t feel super intimate, and neither of them indicated that they got particularly attached to anyone they connected with.

Also, I was the only one worried about serial killers.

Potential Ted Bundys aside, I can see why people using dating apps. Technology is great, and apps like Tinder serve a purpose (whatever that may be) for a lot of people my age. But I think there is an anxiety that comes from using these apps that reflects how we’re struggling to keep up with today’s ever-changing technology while still figuring out how to do the oldest thing on the planet – sleep with attractive people.

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As for me, I’ll just be over here, waiting for people to find my social anxiety endearing. Without swiping right.