How To Survive The Holidays When All Your Friends Are In Relationships & You're Single AF

by Annie Foskett

If I were allotted only one adjective to describe the holidays, I would settle on "complicated." Of course, words like "joyous" and "indulgent" come to mind, but so do words like "depressing" and "contentious." No matter how much you love your family, friends, or whomever you spend your season with, the holiday blues are real. Reflecting on the past year is like inviting your psyche to take stock of what, or who, might be missing from your life. If you find yourself single during the holidays, while you may feel alone, I can promise you that you are not.

Last December, just before heading home for Christmas, I found out that someone I was very much hoping to date again was in a new relationship. It a little bit destroyed me, and I was a bit of a sh*t to my family over the holidays. (Depression is funny like that, it impedes you from behaving in the adult ways that you know you should.) That same year, 80 percent of my friends in New York took trips over New Years with their SOs and I was relegated to a New Year's Eve party that barely left an impression.

Even if you aren't broken-hearted, being single over the holidays might make you feel left out, or just a bit more lonely than usual. I, personally, feel everything a bit more than usual during the run between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Here are some of my thoughts on how to keep your spirits bright until the clock strikes midnight in 2018.

Take Charge And Plan Holiday Activities

If your engaged BFF who just put a down payment on a townhouse is hosting the Yankee Swap party, she'll probably invite a lot of people who are in the same phase of life as she is. So... no single cuties. While there's nothing wrong with her doing that, it can be difficult to be the seventh wheel at an intimate dinner party.

Even if it's outside your comfort zone, take the initiative to plan that New Year's getaway with your friends. Then, you can invite singles and SOs and everything in between. Or, plan a cookie swap for all of your female friends, because everyone loves cookies and you'll be able to celebrate the holidays without worrying how it looks that you're the only one without a partner. (Although P.S.: it looks totally fine and normal.)

And if you do end up going to a party that's full of couples? (Yes, I'll be doing that this year.) Be the person to bring the fun. It sounds silly, but being the one to bring a game like Cards Against Humanity or What Do You Meme is a great way to liven things up.

An activity that gets everyone involved can open the entire group up to having an amazing weekend. I personally love making everyone at the party play a game called "Love It or Hate It" in which each person simply proposes a divisive topic, like mustard, and everyone goes around stating their preference. If you're in the group with less votes, you drink (so, probably "love" for mustard). It sounds simple, but it's always a blast.

Be Kind To Yourself

Did I mention that the holidays are stressful? Well, it's worth mentioning again. End-of-year celebrations remind us of those who are absent from our lives. This year, I'll be celebrating my first Christmas without my mom. She passed this year following a 10-year fight with breast cancer. I share this not to diminish being sad about being single — all sadness is valid, it's what you feel. But I do share this because my family planned a trip to Vancouver in order to skip the painful traditions of years past.

No matter what has you feeling blue, it's important to spend time with family and friends this season, but it's also important to be kind to yourself. Here's a radical idea: give yourself a gift. What do you want this season? A massage? A solo trip to Tulum? A nap? It's easy to beat ourselves up at this time of year, so treat yourself as you'd want a partner to treat you. (Added bonus: there is no way you'll pick out a crappy gift for yourself.)

Remind Yourself That Being Single Is Normal (And Sometimes Great)

During the summer, everyone wants to be single. When the holiday season arrives, everyone wants to prove to their Grandma that they're going to be OK. Neither relationship status is better than the other, and the only person (other than your Grandma) judging your singledom so harshly is you. And she might actually be totally cool with your single status.

When you are sitting at a party, talking to two couples over mulled cider, remind yourself this very simple fact: nobody cares that you are single. Those couples are not sitting there judging you for not having a ring on your finger. For all they know, you have a partner who lives in England. (The Holiday, anyone?) In fact, it's far more likely that they are jealous of your independence.

If you take one thing away from this article, I'd wish it would be this: It's OK to feel whatever you are feeling. You can be sad about being single as you light the menorah at your friend's house tonight, and that's OK and valid. Maybe in 2018, you'll put yourself out there on the apps again. Or, you can be pumped to be the only single girl at the bar after your friend's rowdy holiday party — no competition! Woo. Feel what you are feeling this holiday season, and take care of yourself. You deserve it after this steaming garbage pail of a year.

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