In my recent Meetup group get together we discussed how to have a happy and fulfilling holiday season despite the challenges that face singles. I appreciated their candid responses and insights. I also shared my feelings and gave my relationship advice about when I was single at this time of year.
To get the conversation going I asked them these questions:
1. What is challenging or hard for you about being single during the holidays?
2. What is fulfilling for you about the holidays?
3. What steps do you want to take to make this a happy time of year for you?
4. Who is the most meaningful person in your life and how can you best connect with him or her?
5. What intentions do you want to set and what would you be willing to try that is outside your comfort zone?
For the first question, the major challenges I heard was getting out to do things given that in the Mid-Atlantic, it is dark and cold now; one was not a party person so how should they connect with others given a more introverted personality; being sad that there is no one to share these holiday experiences with; the family pressure that ensues from expectations about dating and finding a marriage partner; and not knowing a lot of single people or where to find them.
The first step is to acknowledge what is difficult about the holidays for you so you can start planning some proactive steps for having a happy and fulfilling time for you. That gets to the next question: What is fulfilling for you about the holidays? Here you get to choose what you want to focus on. My relationship advice is to have close, caring friends around you or spending time with your children or family member's kids. I am sure they would appreciate the break!
Third, you need to be proactive and plan for those fulfilling activities or even create them. Perhaps you get a lot of satisfaction helping others. Is there a way for you to volunteer for others who would benefit from your efforts? I know there are several single volunteer opportunities in the DC area both on Meetup.com and through some synagogues and churches. Maybe a trip on a singles cruise would provide both most needed relaxation and a way to meet your true love.
I have always believed that you can create what you want. When I was single, I organized a dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day where Jewish Professionals could be together in friendship and camaraderie. We started with about 8 of my close single friends and in a couple of years it grew to over 35 people coming to the dinner annually. It became known as one of the events of the holiday season.
Next, my relationship advice to you is to make sure you connect with the special people in your life. Can you travel to spend time with them? Or maybe "Face Time" is what is required so stay connected with your loved ones. Think about how to set some boundaries with prying family members who mean well and usually are doing more damage than help by asking, "Are you dating anyone?"
Last, how are you going to push beyond your comfort zone? For some, it's just getting out of the house to be with friends and family members or joining a new Meetup Group, or setting Aunt Jane straight with some boundaries around "being helpful". Others it's making time for online dating and meeting new people for dating despite a busy social calendar or pushing yourself to show up at singles event to meet new people.
In the end what intentions do you want to set to ensure that you will have a happy and fulfilling holiday season? My relationship advice about the holidays is that it all comes down to connection. Who do you need to connect with?
We only live this life so we need to make the best that it can be as a single person or as a couple. You have the power to do so.
I wish you a very happy and fulfilling Holiday season and a love-filled New Year.
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