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The holiday season is the ultimate test of a balancing act when it comes to your family, friends, and partners.
Studies show that there’s a slight jump in online dating activity during these end-of-the-year months. This is attributed to what is called the “cuffing season,” a tendency among singles toward adopting a more domestic mindset during the winter months.
To be fair, I think this hypothesis can really vary city to city or person to person. The last thing I want to do is to start a relationship when I’m being pulled in so many directions. I don’t want to tell someone that the only time I’m available is a week from now on a Tuesday at 9 p.m. That is grounds for approaching the “He seems too busy and doesn’t have time to make time for a relationship” territory — not the best first impression.
So how do you give enough of your time to everyone, and how do you prevent fights from breaking out left and right? Here are my top three tips.
Don’t expect your relationships to have a strong foundation if your associations with people are always in a gray area — never really defined or clarified. After all, the most stressful relationships we have are probably with individuals who go back and forth within that gray area never knowing the role they play in our lives.
It’s so important during busy times to let a person know that you’re still on his radar. And, if you don’t, at least check in. Try asking him if he can take the lead in organizing plans. My only hope is that this process becomes mutual, and that both parties can take turns when life starts to get compacted for the other.
Consider every possible parameter that can cause stress during the holidays and communicate that to your significant other. I don’t think this is a sign of a negative mindset, but one of pragmatism.
In Los Angeles, traffic and parking are among the hardest things to navigate and can sometimes be a silly dealbreaker. I remember at one point in my life dating someone who lived in such a congested neighborhood that, every time I went to his place, it would take at least 30 minutes of circling the block to find somewhere to park — followed by a very long walk.
In those cases, it’s important to have a solution-based mindset. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. The guy you like just worked a long, eight-hour day, and the last thing he wants to do is spend another hour in the car driving to you to then spend a hefty amount of additional time to park and walk. What a buzzkill.
Try saying something like “I know you’ve had a long work day, so let me let you use my parking spot, or I can come to you.” Expecting a person to be OK with you inconveniencing them has the potential for conflict, and it’s best to address these issues before things get treacherous.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is a popular expression, but the other side of that is really noticing the small things your potential partner does for you. Especially during the holiday months, work and life schedules become so cumbersome that we often get caught up in the stress of making time for things and not noticing the sacrifices the people we’re dating make to be with us.
Maybe he said no to another commitment, maybe he paid for his own Uber to make it to you, or maybe he rearranged his entire day to be on time. Rather than treating these small sacrifices as the rightful cost of being in a relationship, we should offer positive reinforcement to show the people in our lives that their efforts are validated and noticed. It never hurts to tell someone “Thank you.”
I was just having a conversation the other day with a potential client, and I remember us agreeing that chivalry isn’t dead. People are just lazy. They have forgotten the endearing quality of having a genuine conversation, actively listening, and being polite. Now we’re so easily distracted by the constant use of technology, which I think can really dilute how simple a sweet human connection can be.
There’s nothing worse than being excited to go to your work’s annual holiday party, and then fighting in the car with your other half. Then you have to wipe your emotions clean and arrive with a fake smile while playing mental limbo with your date the entire time. It would be easier to learn to show appreciation for the people and things that add joy to our lives.
Fuel your conversations with openness, flexibility, kindness, and, most importantly, gratitude. That way, the only argument you’ll have is over whether to go with a slice of grandma’s cheesecake or your favorite aunt’s butter cookies.
As a culture, we have a strong fear of missing out: FOMO. That thinking often leads to trying to do everything. Is committing to three different events in one evening worth all the stress of choosing what to wear, finding parking, being late, and deciding whether to drink or not drink? It seems like it’s too much.
Sometimes saying no to one obligation can make a huge difference in the pace of your evening — mentally and physically. Oftentimes, making sure you are both involved in the decision is more important than which social gathering you go to.
It’s important to show that you are cognizant of your significant other’s time and your own. Maybe you should consider that getting across town in half an hour is just too much of a stretch for you and your plus one. You know where he lives, you do that math for him, and offer solutions that best help the both of you have a smooth evening of holiday cheer.
Sometimes our peripheral vision is a little more important than our direct vision. We must read between the lines a little more and not be a surface-level thinker. Surface-level thinking either places us in that gray area I mentioned earlier, or it honestly prevents us from feeling solid.
Given any curve balls that might be thrown at you, I’ve tried to give you some alternatives and Plan Bs so you’re prepared for whatever this holiday season may bring you and your special someone. Thinking ahead can definitely keep you from that stressful quarrel in the car, so you guys can focus on just being together, meeting your/his friends or co-workers, and making festive memories together.