The holidays are fully upon us. I write this today knowing that tomorrow, questions about your love life are bound to be as prevalent as turkey.

Here are four tips for how to handle being single during the holidays with grace and minimal annoyance:

#1 Plan Ahead

No matter what holiday you celebrate or where you celebrate it, it’s inevitable that some family member is going to ask you about your single status. Accepting the inevitability of the questions is key. When you go on a job interview, you expect to get asked why you want the job. You’d be advised to have an answer ready that will dazzle your potential employer.

The same goes for your cousin Mary, or your mom, or your Uncle Junior. Don’t just brace yourself for the questions, prepare for them. My advice is to be direct and also firm that it’s not a topic for Thanksgiving dinner discussion. Try something like:

”I haven’t met anyone special yet, but I’m on it! I will definitely let you know when I meet him.”

And smile. And then change the topic. If Uncle Junior persists, you can ramp it up:

”If you have someone to introduce me to, you should have brought him to dinner! Why didn’t you?”

Uncle Junior will likely be confused by this question and drop it. If your family is especially persistent, drop some data on them. If they want to talk about relationships, shift the focus from you:

“Did you know that for the first time ever, there are more unmarried adults in the U.S. than married ones? 60 million people are using dating apps. What do you think of that?”

Let them chew on that!

#2 Cultivate Your Zen

You might have an incredibly stressful family dynamic. It’s family and nothing can trigger you like someone you’re related to. However unfair it might feel that you have to deal with X, Y or Z dysfunction, the fact remains that you have to deal with it. Even if you’re not with your family over the holidays, if you’re thinking about family stress then it’s still impacting you.

No one else is responsible for your emotional state but you. Accepting others for where they are and who they are is not letting them off the hook - it’s protecting your all-important zen.

Of course you’re impacted by other people’s words and actions. That makes you human. But you can’t control what others say or do. The only thing you can control is your reaction to other people.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But it is necessary.

What do you need to do to take care of yourself this season? Saying no can be a form of self care. Practicing deep breathing will pay dividends. Reminding yourself that others are doing the best they can with the tools they have is a form of self care.

Repeat after me: ommmmmmmmmmmm.

#3 Don’t Project

Chances are, you’re touchy when it comes to your family interactions. Your friend and your mother can say essentially the same things to you and your mom is the one who can send you on a spiral.

Sometimes your mom is absolutely criticizing or judging. And other times - it could amount to minor comment in reality, but to you it feels like a huge slap in the face.

Your cousin asking “So what’s going on with you?” Might feel like she’s saying “So, loser - tell me. You still single?”

Here’s your holiday reminder that your FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS.

We’ve already established that you are human, and so naturally you feel sensitive about certain topics. Your family member could be completely out of line, or you could be projecting your own insecurity onto their motivations.

When in doubt, take a deep breath. (Really - do this as often as you can remember. It really helps.) And then see #2 above.

Ommmmmmmm.

#4 Take A Pass On the Free Guilt Trip

Few things get under my skin like someone guilting me. I have a rebellious streak, so guilt trips usually lead me to do the opposite of what the guilter wants me to do. This can lead to “cut off your nose to spite your face” choices, which is not recommended.

In my quest to deal more effectively with guilt trips, I endeavor to do the thing that is most aligned with maintaining my zen. This means that sometimes I can see that the guilter has a point and other times they are truly wasting their breath and I smile and go about my life.

When someone attempts to make you feel guilty this holiday season, choose to pass on reacting. It takes two to tango, or in this case agree to go on a guilt trip.

You’re traveling enough this holiday season. That’s not a trip you need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo

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