Being single at the holidays can be like navigating through a storm in open water. It can be treacherous waters with the potential to be shipwrecked at any moment. It could easily go from smooth sailing to A Perfect Storm with one wrong step.
No two holiday parties are the same. Some are perfectly fine, you can be yourself and enjoy the company of friends or family. In my experience I may get one of these easy parties per season, and they are usually really small with my girl friends.
Sometimes you walk in the door, glance around and realize everyone is auditioning to be on Noah’s Ark. Everyone is partnered up and the only conversation you have all night is about who is potty trained, who just learned to say what, who rolled over all on his own… You just let your eyes glaze over and smile and nod. Because there isn’t anyone that you’re going to flirt with you can just zone out for a bit.
And some parties start out just fine, like my family parties. But once you’ve loaded your plate at the potluck table that second time, your cousins’ kids start running around and screaming. And then that triggers something in your family, they suddenly remember that they wanted to ask you something they desperately wanted to know: “When are you having kids?? How is that boyfriend, is he the one? Oh, you broke up. Oh you didn’t have a boyfriend really, well when are you getting serious?”
So , what’s a single gal to do? How the hell does one start to navigate through this? Well, just call me Skipper, I’m going to show you the way.
I’ve been single through the holidays for the last several years. I seem to have relationships in every month but December so I’ve had a lot of experience at these parties. I’ve also started to train my close friends and family to stop asking about this stuff. But if your family hasn’t learn to respect your space, there are some ways to navigate through the holidays.
1. Have an out. Always have an exit strategy. Maybe it’s an early meeting and you need to get to sleep. Maybe it’s another party (one of the most believable excuses since the holidays end up being the busiest time for parties). None of this has to be true, it just gives you a fall back to exit when you need to.
2. Know who will be there ahead of time. You can’t always account for the people that just show up without RSVPing but if you know roughly who to expect you can prepare. Maybe there is another friend there that you know you can safely hang with her. Depending on the situation maybe even bring her in on what your plan is, and I am sure she would be willing to help. Better than following her everywhere she goes.
3. Avoid snarky comebacks. They always seem like a good idea at the time, but I can promise you that they aren’t. You are attacking with words because you feel that you have been attacked. But it is usually better to either be honest with the person that it’s none of their business, that it hurts your feelings when people dig into your personal life, or that you don’t when you’ll get married or have kids. I find that a simple “I don’t know” ends the conversation right then and there. And it isn’t a wimpy answer, it’s honest.
4. Have something to do. And I don’t mean keep your mouth full with delicious food. One of the parties that is always uncomfortable for me also has a ping pong table. No one asks personal questions because everyone is so focused on competing. Games are great, they keep everyone occupied and no one prying into your life.
Their words don’t have to hurt you. They are usually grappling for something to talk about and they’ve gone for the easy topic. It’s usually not a personal dig at you.
There are so many things to be thankful for and excited about at the holidays. Don’t let those few people ruin it for you.