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Before you know it, your favorite radio station has started to play your favorite holiday songs. Your favorite store is packed with stocking stuffers and merry decorations. Maybe your parents or close friends are begging you to finalize your holiday plans with them.
The holidays have a rhythm that feels very different than the rest of the year. We become enveloped in social activities, family traditions, and parties that may have us looking for a plus one. However, your relationship may not be ready for that, and that’s all right. Sometimes meeting a partner’s family and friends can be overwhelming, especially if you have only been dating for a few weeks or a few months.
How can you even consider dating during this time? It’s easy. Here are my top five ways to keep your holiday dating game going strong and fun.
Urban Dictionary defines cuffing season as “the cold season when everyone’s coupling up, so you settle for a new boyfriend/girlfriend way below your standards.” As a longtime professional matchmaker, I have never encountered someone lowering their standards just because it’s cold. But there are many studies that confirm an increase in depression in places like the Pacific Northwest when days get shorter and gloomy and rainy nights become more common.
What I can say is that when we are put in a vulnerable place, we become more forgiving and more blinded to our own or someone else’s flaws. Be aware of that during this holiday season. Choose your quality time wisely.
If your gay bestie or new love interest asks you to be their plus one, you may want to graciously accept the invitation. One of the best ways to grow closer to someone is to meet the people in their life. A person’s friend circle reveals a facet of their personality.
If your goal is to integrate your life with your boyfriend’s life, then meeting and getting along with his friends and family should be a priority. And the holidays are a good time to start.
I remember dating this one guy during the holidays years ago, and his best friend was extremely superficial and judgmental. Over time, I noticed that the guy I was dating was also that way, and it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I felt like I was chiming into his negative behavior — or maybe I was just ignoring it. I want someone to hold me accountable for things like that. I want our social circles to build us up with positive energy and meaningful relationships.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, but vaccinations, mask mandates, and other science-based precautions have made it easier for loved ones to gather safely.
This upcoming holiday season will see more indoor gatherings, and gay singles and couples will likely have more invites than they did in 2020. Before you accept a holiday invite, it’s OK to ask questions like: Are many people going to be at this gathering? Are people attending vaccinated? Is the party indoors or outdoors?
As I’ve written in the past, the way you view the pandemic is a huge indicator of compatibility. You should be on somewhat the same page when it comes to this issue. The holiday season will be the ultimate test for a new couple. Do you come from a place of understanding your date’s views or would you label their views a dealbreaker? Make that distinction clear as you date this holiday season.
Everyone talks about how busy they are. No one goes around claiming how bored they are all the time. Make your plans in advance. Our calendars fill up so quickly during the holidays and it’s important to carve out time to date if your heart is in that place.
Men who make a plan are the most attractive to their dates. Learn to go with the flow, but still have expectations of honoring someone else’s time.
Don’t be late to a date just to have to leave the date early to make it to your friend’s holiday white elephant gift exchange party. This only shows that you do not know how to manage your time. It also implies that you don’t have respect for someone else’s time.
Everyone wants to date a balanced man. He knows when to leave his work at the door. He knows when to disconnect. He values how you and he define each other’s quality time. When’s the last time you defined that for yourself?
Some people love setting up a Christmas tree early. I’m totally guilty of this. But I know that not everyone I date will see this as important for their own households, but hopefully they’ll join in the fun with me.
Try to notice what sparks joy in you or the guy you are dating. The holidays are a way to dive into many social situations and pack your schedules with engaging activities. Try to do a little from his column and a little from your column. If your guy likes putting up lights or baking something special, offer to pitch in and join in the holiday festivities.
A healthy partnership does involve a give and take during the holidays. If your date has some holiday traditions, be open to hearing and supporting them. Know that your traditions (both old and new) come from a place of love and can bring you closer together as a couple in a serious relationship.
‘Tis the season to jump in head first and enjoy feeling like life is just a little bit normal this year. Last year probably wasn’t the best holiday season for you. For me, it was a bit depressing. It felt so strange to not be home to see my family for the first time in my entire life. I know a lot of other people experienced the same thing. Even if you are single, I hope you find ways to stay grounded, cheerful, and mentally healthy this December.
Mental health is so important, and if you can’t find a good person to spend the holidays with, go back to your community of loving, congenial friends who can support you. Maybe you’ll be a friend’s plus one and find yourself a date at that party in the flesh! That’s happened to me before, so take the gamble. It’s worth it to try. Happy Holidays!