Why I Feel Sorry For People Who AREN'T Single During The Holidays

No bratty kids or vicious in-laws. We've got it made.

Single During the Holidays iStock

If you're single, I'm willing to bet that spending the holidays with your family probably goes something like this:

You arrive at your family get-together and are immediately taken out by your nieces, nephews and little cousins who dart around you every which way playing some kind of game.

You say "Hi" to the tired folks who made those tiny humans. The ones who have spent the month of December hunting down toys, trying to get everything that Santa was asked for, using the Elf on the Shelf to streamline as much of the chaos as possible.


They barely get through a "hello" and an apology for their kid's holiday candy sugar high before one of the little monsters starts screaming in the type of bloodcurdling way that makes you think they've most definitely lost a limb. (In actuality, one of their cousins is just taking too long to finish a game on their iPad.)

You make your rounds and greet your aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. One of your cousins introduces you to her new boo and then awkwardly takes him around to meet everyone. Your male family members issue their necessary warnings on what will happen if he ends up breaking your cousin's heart. You hear a comment made about practicing "safe sex" and cringe.


Briefly, you attempt to be nice to the in-laws that have been forced to attend this gathering against their will, since their son married your cousin. They remind you that they had nowhere else to go this year since their other children (who made better marital decisions) have all sadly moved away. You lie and tell them you can't imagine why that is.

Finally, the chaos subdues and everyone gathers around the table to eat. The silence is broken by one of your family members (most often the super-tired one responsible for creating the tiny humans) who asks if you're seeing anyone.

You say no, you're not, and you start to talk about something else, when all of a sudden opinions that you didn't ask for are hurled at you by each person at the table.

"Don't worry, it will happen when you least expect it."


"Maybe you should try joining one of those dating sites."

"You haven't found anyone in that big city?"

"It's OK, at least you didn't have to buy him a gift."

This is the part where a lot of single people blindly accept those condolences. I mean, if every one of your family members looks at you with pity for not having someone special to share the holidays with, it must mean that it's actually that terrible, right?

But for me, this is the part where I can't believe that out of everyone at this dinner table, I'm the person they're feeling sorry for.

To me, it makes sense to feel bad for the exhausted moms and dads whose kids are too young to know just how much their parents sacrificed in order to get them everything they wanted this year.


For the couples with kids who had to fork over paychecks and brave shopping lines, hunting down the "hot for 2015" hard-to-find toys all in the name of making Santa look legit. For the spouses who have to endure completely unnecessary criticism from their callous in-laws. For the new couples who have to break in a fresh, romantic prospect, sitting through the entire meal on edge, hoping that no one at the table embarrasses them.

The difference here, of course, is that I would never tell a married parent, "Maybe next year your mother-in-law will show you some respect," or "Don't worry, your kids will be grateful for everything you've done when you least expect it."

There's always plenty of pity to go around for people who are single during the holidays. But in reality, it's the single people who have it made. We just pour ourselves a drink, kick it with our relatives and watch all the chaos go down. Then we get to go home and leave it all behind.


Who has it better than us?