Laura Yates is a coach and writer specialising in helping people see the better side of breakups and heartbreak. You can find her at laurayates.org and pick up her free breakup audio.
For some, the festive season means love, romance, gifts, cosy nights in and celebration, whereas for others it can sometimes emphasise what might feel like a huge void in their life.
Let’s face it, being single at Christmas can put you on a less-than-merry downer if you’re unhappily single. It can spur feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and frustration and make the prospect of the holiday season something to dread instead of something to look forward to.
I want to share with you some tips on how to cope with any anxiety of being single at Christmas and offer some advice on how to handle a few specific situations that you might be facing:
The Comparison Trap
First of all, let’s talk about the comparison trap. Christmas can really trigger us when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. Especially if your friends or family members are all loved up and happy to express this at every opportunity during the festive season! It’s very natural to compare ourselves to others. But when you feel yourself going down the comparison road, it’s crucial to take a breath and remember that this way of thinking is ultimately unhelpful – it only makes you feel worse and isn’t a pleasant state to be in. Try and use the examples of love or relationships around you as inspiration and as proof of what is out there. Just because you don’t have that right now, that doesn’t mean it’s not on the way. If you can try and share in others happiness, that energy will make you feel far happier than beating yourself up. It will help you spot more dating opportunities and generally feel better about yourself!
Perhaps you’re dreading the Christmas dinner table conversations about why you haven’t met anyone yet or whether there is anyone ‘on the scene’ (a family favourite!). This type of comment can really make you feel singled out for being single, and even as an unkind dig at your relationship status, but ultimately they’re most likely to only have your best interests and good intentions at heart. So try and have compassion for that. The best way of handling this is to be assured and confident. Don’t feel like you need to lie as there is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. You can simply say ‘not right now’ and that you’re busy enjoying life, being proactive in meeting people and not rushing into anything. You don’t have to elaborate any more than that if you don’t want to!
This is all really about mindset. Occasions such as Christmas can heighten our feeling of despondence about being single but it’s just an event that will be over in a few days. There’s no reason to be sad just because you don’t have a significant other for this short period, and definitely not a reason to not enjoy it! If you’re feeling seriously low about it, use the holidays as an opportunity to assess your current dating strategy. Are you utilising all the resources out there and committing properly to online dating? Are you getting out and meeting people on a regular basis? Are you doing things in your own life that make you feel good and that enhance your own sense of self-love and wellbeing? Are you mixing with other single people who can remind you that where you’re at is totally normal and not something to feel bad about? This could be a great opportunity to make positive plans for the future.
Remember what Christmas is about
Christmas isn’t about being in a relationship – it’s really about being with people you care about, taking some time out for yourself and having fun! You’re also far less likely to meet someone when you’re feeling low about not being with anyone; focus on the positives on the season, and you’ll naturally exude a more appealing aura to everyone around you – and receive the same in return
Dating takes patience, regardless of any upcoming event or occasion that we’d love to be sharing with someone. Try and do what you can to stay positive and look for new ways to enjoy or appreciate Christmas. It could be helping out in some way or suggesting your family do something different this year to switch things up. Maybe it’s about you doing something totally different – because you can!
Like everything, it’s all about perspective. Re-focus your intentions to simply enjoy yourself this Christmas and you might be surprised at what unfolds!