Sonya Thomas lcsw

Doing the Holidays solo

Here we are, on the eve of Christmas.  Many will be deep in the throws of family gatherings or spending time with their beloved.  For others, though, the season will be spent flying solo.  In fact, there are an average of 124 million single adults in America, so if you count yourself amongst that number, you most certainly are not alone.  Getting through the holidays when single can feel like running an emotional gauntlet.  Here are some tips to consider:

  • Inquisitive relatives:  There you’ll be, innocently sampling the eggnog when some well-meaning but misguided relative will say, “We’d love to hear news of an engagement” or “I bet your mom will be so happy when you make her a grandmother” or “You will be graduating and entering the workforce when?”  So how do you deal with this? A good approach is to be direct while deflecting. “Thanks, Aunt so and so, I’d love that, too! But right now I’m focusing on my career/friends/education/ hobby/solving world hunger/etc.” Voila, conversation about your singledom averted.
  • New Years Eve solo:  Here’s a great idea: Take a lonely single person and have them watch the clock as it counts down..  Tell them they are supposed to be enjoying themselves as everyone else smooches their honey as the clock stikes midnight. Yeah, that sounds like so much fun.  No other holiday has the capacity to make a single person feel deflated.  So, when it comes to this most dreaded of days, be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself under some insane amount of pressure (“I must find a random human to kiss by midnight!”) or enter into stressful situations (going out with your rowdiest friend when you’d rather stay home and eat Ben and Jerry’s). If you’re comforted by a crowd, go dance all night at your favorite club. But if you are not a party person by nature, it’s okay to nest with a book or Netflix and quietly say adios to the passing year and hello the new year.  Or perhaps find a close group of other non-partying friends and gently welcome the new year together in a low key fashion.
  • Your friends’ syrupy sweet couply-ness:  Perhaps you know this feeling: Your paired-up friends can’t help sharing tales of joint travels or Instagramming photos of engagement rings. You’re happy for them, but at the same time a little (or a lot) envious.  But wait—there are good things about spending the holidays solo!
    • Good Thing 1: No stress over finding the perfect gift for a partner.  Indulge in gifting yourself that thing you have been coveting!  Plus, no need to worry that you screwed up the gift selection royally.
    • Good Thing 2: You can skip in-law interactions.  When you’re single, you don’t have to smile awkwardly while your beloved’s dad gets sloppy drunk and starts ribbing your political preferences.  Nor must you endure your mother-in-law who passive-aggressively insinuates that you are a bad parent or that her perfect child could have picked someone so much better.  You also get to avoid the sister-in-law who just knows you would love being a part of their church family if you would just give your soul the chance to be saved.  You can celebrate with your own dysfunctional family instead.  Or not.  I hear Tahiti is lovely this time of year.
    • Good Thing 3: You get to do whatever you want.  Don’t feel like keeping the roads hot by splitting time between your and a significant other’s families? Or watching football with the inlaws? Great! You don’t have to. Do exactly what you want instead.

So, the key to getting through the holidays solo is figuring out how to be kind to yourself in the way that best works for you.  And just remember, this too shall pass.

Wishing you peace in the new year!

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