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I’m Not Bitter, I’m Just Alone: A Guide For Being Single During The Holidays

The winter holidays seem purpose-built for lovers. So if you’ve ever sipped eggnogg and wondered where you went wrong while accompanying your mother to a neighbour’s Christmas party, read on. All others are excused.

In preparing this article I think I’ve read something like 25 blogs about being single over the holidays. I know what to expect, how I should feel, what I should wear, and how to prepare. And in researching all that, I started to notice a trend. Nearly all of those blogs start with, “I love being single.” That kind of intro only serves to make me feel worse about myself before I even start reading. So listen very carefully when I say, everyone is lying.

Does anyone really like to be single during the holidays? No. Can you tolerate it and maybe even enjoy yourself if you try hard? Yeah, sure, we might be able to pull that off.

Whether you’re perpetually single, just coming out of a relationship, or somewhere in between, there’s nothing quite like the holidays to make you feel cold, lonely and alone at the worst possible times. For example, whenever I’m single over the holidays my sentiment can usually be summed up like this…

Even if you’ve reached that point where you’re comfortable with your relationship status, there always seems to be some awkwardness when going out with another couple, or a group of couples, or even being with your family. So let’s explore some ways you can make your holidays less painful and maybe even have some fun.

Be open minded about going out.

Being single doesn’t mean you get automatic pass on all the holiday parties, get togethers, and nights out with your friends, family, or coworkers. It’s easy to want to avoid these events, but staying in can make you feel isolated and alone. Remember, the goal is to try to have fun. So get dressed and go out because you know Christmas Vacation will be on another 40 times before the new year.

Engage with friends and family.

Similar to the point above, the holidays are a good time to connect with friends and family because almost everyone has time off. It can be fun to try to get all your friends together at once, but everyone’s schedules are often busy at this time of year so sometimes it’s best to make plans one-on-one instead.

In addition to being hectic, the also holidays have a way of making everyone who’s in a relationship act like your personal matchmaker. You can either choose to pursue those conversations, or talk about something else, but try not to get defensive or angry with anyone who thinks they have the perfect match for you. Take the mindset that you’ve got good friends who are trying to look out for you — and if you’re not interested, just politely decline.

Hooray! You don’t have to worry about shopping for your significant other (or their parents, siblings or nieces and nephews).

We all know this season isn’t about presents but the giving tradition is almost inescapable. Congratulations are in order because being single means you have less people to shop for. You might even have an excuse to ditch the mall in favour of something else and that’s a reason to celebrate. Boyfriends, girlfriends and partners are extremely difficult to shop for because we care so much about making them happy that we need the present to be perfect. That’s a lot of stress you get to avoid. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about impressing their family with the most thought gifts ever, either.

Bonus tip: for your friends and family, what about a gift that gives back?

Take care of yourself.

One way of avoiding the pain of being single this time of year is to bury yourself with all the work your coworkers are bound to be ignoring, and try to forget everyone else is coupled-up and enjoying each other. But does that really sound appealing to anyone? Fortunately, there are better alternatives. Indulge: give yourself a night-off with your favourite TV show or a book you’ve been postponing. Get a massage. Play video games all day long. You don’t have to rush through any of these luxuries either — after all, the only schedule you have to be on is your own.

What are your strategies for making it through the holidays as a single millennial? Share in the comments below.


Christopher is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. He has a fondness for strong coffee, good books and foreign news services. When he was five years old his father helped him raise a family of chipmunks over the winter, you should ask him about it. Professionally, he’s spent time as a technology journalist, PR consultant, and freelance blogger. Christopher’s work has appeared in a lot of trade magazines you’ve probably never heard of and maybe some you have. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Media Foundations from Humber College in Toronto.