If you’ve ever been the unfortunate guest at a family gathering alongside relatives who seem to have forgotten the difference between invasive and cordial, then you know all too well how terrible being single during the holidays can make you feel. Not because there’s anything wrong with not having a significant other during these days, but because outside forces can find a way of making you feel small if you let them.

I’d like to think I can speak with some authority from both sides of the coin on this topic myself having experienced many holidays single for the first decade of my adult years and now in a committed relationship for the second decade of those fleeting years.

To add to that credibility, I have a giant Italian family where these gatherings mean everything – so the holidays are never a time when you can just disappear into the background.

Like with anything, there are pros and cons to each scenario. I won’t get into the details of saving massive amounts of money on gift-giving and the fact that you don’t have to put up with additional not-so-amicable cousins or aunts that aren’t even from your own family. Being single certainly isn’t the end of the world – even if all the movies for the season are depicting happy couples snuggled by a fire. If you can’t seem to shake the worry about upcoming holiday festivities, here are a few things you can do to cope.

Quality Company

Surround yourself with friends and people you trust. No one said you have to accept every invitation you get this year. If you know your personal life will be the subject of the dinner table discussions and it makes you uncomfortable, you have free will to find an amicable way to decline the invitation. Instead, head out for a fun night out with friends, or take some me time to decompress and catch up on Netflix, it’s your choice.

Bring a Friend

If you can’t escape some of those dinners because mom would never let you live it down, remember, there is no rule that says you have to be officially dating someone or be serious with them to take them to a holiday dinner. Of course, it depends on the event, but if you have friends you’re comfortable with, they may not mind coming for some free food and drinks and mingling with your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

How To Survive the Holidays While Single

Work on You

This last one is a pretty important one. Regardless of your relationship status, you simply cannot enjoy life, a relationship, or a holiday for that matter, if you are not happy with yourself. There’s nothing another person or thing can do to change that.

We’ve got about a month before the official holiday lands. It’s time to start working on you. If being single causes you to break out into a cold sweat maybe it’s time to look a little deeper at why this is so. Is there something you are missing right now and want another person to provide? What are ways you can do that for yourself?

As we begin to peel away the layers of ourselves to look at and examine, you may start to see that it’s not so much about being single but the thought of that distracting you from other issues at hand.

This holiday, don’t focus so much on who might be sitting next to you at the dinner party but instead reflect on all the great things you’ve accomplished this year and what you have planned for the year to come because those goals, once fulfilled, may offer the happiness you’ve been searching for.

Happy Holidays!

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About the Author

Stefania Viscusi is a freelance writer based in Connecticut with a passion for self-awareness and betterment. When she’s not blogging and writing content for brands across the globe, she’s spending time in her backyard gardening or doing yoga.