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A holiday survival guide for singles

Posted by Karyn Polewaczyk  November 27, 2013 04:45 PM

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1130-single-during-the-holidays_sm.jpgCredit: iStockphoto

It's holiday season, which, for singles, can be one of the most joyous—and frustrating—times of year. “Joyous,” in that you can be selective with your RSVPs (and effectively halve the number of times you’ll have to wash ye olde ugly Christmas sweater) and “Not so much,” where dwindling questions about naked ring fingers pile up at turkey-ladden dinners hosted by well-meaning, but nosy, aunts.

As with all challenges in life, being prepared is half the battle (right? I mean, I dropped out of Girl Scouts, but I think that’s their motto), which is why I’ve created an easy-to-follow survival guide to keep on hand between now and December 31 (or February 15, if needed). In some cases, the other half of the battle is ignorance (that of the bliss-oriented variety), or in the very least, ignoring those pesky inquiries while slinging back a glass of holiday cheer.

The challenge: Your aunt/grandmother/cousin/other way-too-curious family member wants to know why your boyfriend hasn’t put a ring on it—or why you’re boyfriendless, period.

The solution: First, take a deep breath: this interviewer of sorts is probably well-intentioned (save for any snarky relatives you might have competitive airs with; in that case, a Beyoncé-style dance-off might be appropriate). A sweet smile, no matter how much rage secretly boils beneath the surface, is the best thing you can offer in return, followed by a simple shrug of your shoulders. “I’m not sure” or “I’ve got my eyes open” both work; trying to justify your singledom to someone from a different generation in particular, I’ve found, is often a fruitless effort and will fall on deaf ears. If patience isn’t your thing, take a cue from Jan Brady, and have your parents save a space for George Glass at the dinner table. Pass me a drumstick, will you?

The challenge: Who’s going to buy you that sweater/piece of jewelry/weekend in Puerto Rico/whatever big-ticket item is on your wish list?

The solution: Seriously?

Uh, you are.

If you’ve got the funds to spare, go for it—you don’t need the holidays as an excuse to treat yourself well. Get it gift wrapped if you’re feeling guilty. And not to preach, but this is a great time to exercise your giving chops and practice goodwill—volunteer, donate, and be kind to strangers when and where you can.

The challenge: Mistletoe for one, please.

The solution: Think you’re the only straggler in need of a steamy makeout sesh beneath a balsam-scented chotzke? Think again. Here’s a small but dependable list of places where you can find a willing partner to join you.

The challenge: Invitations to festive activities abound—where couples are sure to congregate.

The solution:
The cheese stands alone, but you don’t have to. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) First things first: get over your fear of going out by yourself. I’ve talked about it here, here and here, and if your goal is to meet new people (and potentially kindle a spark with a handsome stranger), any expert will tell you that it’s a lot easier to make connections happen when you’re not surrounded by a fortress of people. As for your other single friends—specifically, the kind who are feeling less than merry (and potentially bitter) about rolling solo this season: leave them at home. Misery loves company, and frankly, you’ve probably heard enough about how much it sucks that they only have their cats to snuggle with at night.

In other words: go forth and godspeed, soldier. You’ve got this.

The challenge: It’s New Year’s Eve, and all of your friends are with their boyfriends/husbands/babies/what have you. They love you, but you’re not invited.

The solution: Something similar happened to me last year, where my best friend and I got into a blowout argument just days before our plans to kick back with champagne, pajamas and chick flicks. Instead of wallowing, I got resourceful, and channeled my energy into a midnight yoga class. I met some amazing people—and thanks to living near the studio, I avoided the vomit-soaked floors of the MBTA.

So, yes: the “go out alone” principle applies as much on NYE as it does other days of the year. Or, maybe it means you fly with a different flock for the evening. The key here is to think outside the box. What’s something you’ve put off doing or trying? I’m not really a yoga person—Pilates is more my speed—but taking that class was a sweaty, therapeutic way to start the new year.

Readers, what are your tactics to surviving the holiday season as a single? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Karyn Polewaczyk lives and writes in Boston, and believes that heading out into that good night, like any adventure, begins with the first step. Let's Go Out is a conversation about dating and nightlife in our notoriously chilly city, with first-hand tips from the trenches. Karyn's writing, which focuses largely on women's lifestyle topics, has appeared in the Weekly Dig, Jezebel, xoJane, Northshore Magazine and, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @KarynPolewaczyk.

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