Whenever the holidays are around the corner, I am always reminded that I am single. For many women, this is the time when the pressure is on and the questions keep coming. This holiday season is obviously scaled down and may not even involve extended family, although there still could be a press conference though a FaceTime call. Reflect back on how you thought of the holidays in the past and think about how to shift your perspective.
What do you do if you are always the single fun-Aunt?…
1. You have to keep in mind your family is just starting a conversation – Great aunt Bertha might be looking for an icebreaker and the only thing she can think to ask is if you have a boyfriend.
2. You might be sent to the kids’ table – If you have a huge gathering, they might be limited on seating so they figure it’s easier to stick you with the kids.
3. Your sleeping arrangements will be an afterthought – You are probably offered the couch or a sleeping bag on the floor. If this always happens, plan ahead and get an Air BNB close by instead.
4. You might think everyone is judging you – This fear could just be in your head. Nine out of ten times, everyone is worried about their own problems and couldn’t be bothered with yours.
Should you lie about your love life?…
Try not to lie – You might be caught up in the lie and look like Jan from “The Brady Bunch.” You will be rambling, “My boyfriend lives in France and he’s a rocket scientist.” Sure, Jan.
It’s weird to tell a distant relative you are dating casually – They might not understand the concept and it’s a long, awkward explanation. Give black-and-white answers. They will only understand “single” or “in-a-relationship.” They don’t want to talk about Tinder.
You might get a backhanded compliment- Depending on how snarky your relatives are, there might be a little sting in their words. If this happens, keep in mind that it is their insecurities, not yours.
Keep the conversation moving- You have control over ending the conversation. You can always say you need to check on the oven. Or deflect and get them talking about themselves. Ask open-ended questions that lead to stories, not just one-word answers.
Don’t make yourself feel bad about being single….
Honestly, the coupled-up people with three kids might envy your freedom – You never know how a person’s relationship is really like. Remember to speak about your life in a positive way. If they see you are happy with your life, they will be less likely to pity you and give you unsolicited advice.
It’s better to show up alone than with a terrible boyfriend – It really sucks to have a guy there representing you who is just not great with your family. He could act bored, or could bring up the wrong politics and cause a fight at the dinner table. Relatives do not forget; they are like elephants. “What happened to that guy you brought to Thanksgiving five years ago?”
Keep yourself busy….
You can’t be cornered if you are chopping vegetables and checking on the pies. Stay standing and moving while also looking helpful.
Don’t be the hot mess….
It’s tempting to just down a bottle of wine by yourself. Pace yourself.
Write down a list….
Write down the positive things you have done this year. Talk about your new job, passion project, or vacation you took.
If you are going to an extended family’s home, bring something….
Bring a nice bottle of wine, or whip up an appetizer (even if you bought it). It makes you appear as more of an adult.
Last resort, skip it….
Maybe you went though a huge breakup and are very triggered when his name is mentioned. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first and not jumping on a plane. Send your apologies and put up boundaries.
No one really cares if you show up solo. Everyone is thinking about themselves and could really care less. Just act like you are enjoying yourself. If you are sulking, then your relatives will be more concerned and question you. Honestly, they might not even ask you about your life at all. You might be anticipating a press conference about your love life, but you might not get it. Remember that you are free and don’t have to represent anyone. If you feel you cannot handle facing your relatives after a terrible year or horrific breakup, then skip it. Put yourself first and remember that you are an adult and can’t be forced to come.