A few winters ago, I was walking to class when I saw a couple making out on the sidewalk outside a coffee shop. Their beanies and scarves didn't exactly match — this wasn't a GAP ad — but they coordinated in the most jaunty way possible. The guy had one hand entwined in the girl's hair, and the other clutched a organic artisanal whatever hot chocolate. There were snowflakes falling onto their eyelashes. I was single, it was cuffing season, and I had never felt more alone than I did right then.
I don't know if it was the impending stress of finals, or the fact that the only song I listened to for weeks on end was "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on a loop for several weeks on end, but something about that moment stuck with me. I spent the next few days seething at young couples studying together in the library. I sent sad, sappy texts to my ex. I made out with dudes in bars I had zero interest in and loudly said stuff like, "Ha ha ha, have you heard about this thing called — LOL — cuffing season?" It was bad.
Back then, I didn't know how to get through cuffing season alone. But now that I'm a few winters older and wiser, I've started to figure it out. If you're single right now, here's your guide to surviving the next few months until the cold (and your heart) thaw out for good.
Time for some tough love. A winter cuff won't just fall into your lap. It doesn't matter if you're looking for a relationship or a fling — neither will magically materialize if you don't put yourself out there. If you're looking for a warm body to spoon with while watching Netflix, timing is on your side. Dating app usage peaks in early January — coming up soon! — and peak season for online dating runs from Christmas to just before Valentine’s Day,says online dating expert Julie Spira.
If you don't already have one on your phone, download a dating app, and commit to swiping and sending messages at least once a day. (Reminder: making the first move is hot; confidence is sexy. Go get what you want, girl.) Once you have flirty chats going and a few dates on the horizon, you'll fixate on all the fun possibilities bubbling up in front of you — not on how badly you want to strangle that kissing couple on the street corner with their own scarves.
Already got a groove going on dating apps? Then it's time to shake up your routine by trying other ways of meeting people.
I dare you to go to a bar by yourself, sit down next to someone cute, order a drink for courage, and strike up a conversation. I promise this move actually works outside rom-coms — this is how I once wound up playing beer pong with three awesome guys (and later, on a date with one of them).
Or I dare you to ask your friend to set you up with someone. It never hurts to be introduced to new people.
And I dare you to slip your number to the hot barista you flirt with every morning, to ask out the person you've low-key crushed on for years, to hit up a singles' mixer, and to RSVP yes to a party where you hardly know anyone.
Sure, all that stuff can feel a little scary at first... but so did shaving your legs for the first time back in fifth grade, and now you're a pro. You got this.
It's hard to keep your cool when it feels like all your friends are making out with people under mistletoe or holiday shopping for their significant others. But honestly, it's not worth rushing into a cuffing-season situationship just so you have someone to spend the winter months with. "If you’re only getting into it to avoid loneliness or to fit in with others, that’s not a good sign for the future success of that relationship," relationship expert Jonathan Bennett told Elite Daily earlier this month.
Really, it's no more important to be coupled-up this winter than it is during any other time of the year. Plus hey, if you're single, there's no need to trek through freezing slush just to see your person. I don't know about you, but I'd rather stay warm inside — with all the cozy blankets to myself.
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