How To Stay Positive During The Holidays When You’re Single But Want A Relationship

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“Easy” is not a word that most people would use to describe dating. Plus, if you’re proactively looking for a relationship, it may sometimes feel like everyone is coupled up except for you. And, with holiday cheer and mistletoe around every corner, it may be harder than usual to stay positive about dating — you may grow to hate seeing mistletoe and wonder when you’ll meet your match. So, if you’re wondering how to stay positive when you’re single, especially during the holidays, know that it is possible to not let it get to you when your friends and family are all paired up.

“While I never suggest denying your feelings (i.e., acknowledging if you’re feeling lonely or frustrated), looking at your singleness in a more positive light will help you feel better and you’ll see the holiday season in a much less depressing way,” David Bennett, counselor and relationship expert with Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. He says a great way to do this is by focusing on the good things in your life, including the positive aspects of being single. “That way, it’ll help you avoid overfocusing on the negative side of being single,” he says.

Below, Bennett and other relationship experts share tips on how to not let it get to you when you’re single and all you want for the holidays is to be dating someone.

1. Make A Gratitude List

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One way to be more positive about being single is to make a gratitude list, Amie Leadingham, Amie the Dating Coach, master certified relationship coach, tells Bustle.

“We often see everything that is wrong with our dating life and forget the freedoms that we have while we are single,” she says. “Focus on all the things that are going right in your life and read them out loud each morning when you wake up.” She says that doing this can actually rewire your brain to have a positive outlook.

Bennett agrees. “Simply listing a few things you’re grateful for each day can create a dramatic shift in how you view your life,” he says.

2. Be Happy For Others

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Jennifer Longmore, founder of Soul Journeys, a coaching company that helps people love successfully, overcome conflict, and rediscover their life’s purpose, tells Bustle that it’s important to be happy for others, such as your coupled-up friends.

“Being happy for others actually makes us more attractive,” she says. “It may seem counter-intuitive, especially if you’re feeling left behind or disappointed, but people want to date happy people.” So, if you are perceived as happy, you are naturally increasing the amount of people that will be interested in getting to know you, she says. “Tap into the things that do bring you joy so that can you be even more attractive to prospective suitors.”

3. Go Volunteer

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Volunteering is another easy (and free!) way to cheer up. “Volunteering is a great way to give back, stay positive, and focus on others,” Leadingham says. “As a bonus, you feel good about yourself and open doors to opportunities that connect you to a new community with like-minded people.” Plus, you never know who you’ll meet in the process, she says.

4. Figure Out What You Want And Don’t Want In A Partner

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Longmore says that, while you’re single, it’s the perfect time to do market research and figure out what you want in a future partner. “You will see clues in your friends’ relationships that will show you what you want and what you don’t want,” she says. “Apply these insights into writing out a list of what type of partner and relationship will light you up.”

5. Focus On The Love You Do Have

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It’s easy to think about what you don’t have, but it’s better to focus on the love you do have. “The most important thing to remember is that the holidays are about family and togetherness, so this is the time to tend to those relationships,” Margaux Cassuto, relationship expert and matchmaker at Three Matches, tells Bustle. “So surround yourself with the people (and pets) you love and bask in their warmth.”

6. Remember, Not Everyone’s Relationships Are As Happy As They Appear

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“Not everyone’s relationships are as great as they look on social media,” Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert, tells Bustle.

Bennett, too, says couples may appear happy, but under the surface, that’s not always the case. “While it’s easy to assume that being coupled up leads to bliss, the statistics are clear that many couples aren’t happy, especially if you look at divorce rates, infidelity stats, and relationship dissatisfaction,” he says. “Behind the perfectly posed social media photos are real conflicts and problems.”

So, many of your friends in relationships may secretly (or even openly) wish they were single.

7. Stay Social

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While you may want to skip some holiday parties and curl up to a TV show instead, there’s a big benefit to socializing anyway: Meeting new people (and, not just a potential love interest, but also people to expand your social circle). For example, a recent study by ReportLinker, a technology company, found that 39 percent of people meet someone through friends. They surveyed more than 550 respondents, ages 18-64, who were married or in a relationship, to see how people meet each other.

“So if you’re not hanging out with friends and couples during the holidays, you are leaving dating prospects on the table,” Leadingham says.

According to Bennett, there is research that shows single people often have far more social connections than people in relationships, including friendships and community connections. “[G]et out and enjoy your friends, acquaintances, and community events, because many couples have neglected these connections,” he says.

8. Recharge Your Batteries

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Cassuto also says that now — while you are single — is also a great time to recharge your batteries. “Make dating resolutions to change your own romantic status in the year ahead, fully energized and with a goal and an end game.”

Safran, too, says it’s OK to wait until the New Year to focus on finding a relationship. “Plenty of people have found love later than they initially expected,” she says. “Start the New Year with positive expectations and you might find that 2019 is your year!”

9. Date Yourself

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Dating yourself is also great — as well as a good way to really maximize the single life. “Don’t wait for someone else to create experiences with — take yourself out to dinner, go on a hike, and/or attend a live performance or a movie,” Longmore says. She also says to make sure to do things that nurture you. “The more comfortable we are in our own company, the more attractive we are to prospective dates,” she says. “Also, we are more likely to meet people when we give off a confident vibe versus when we’re giving off the ‘I desperately need to find a relationship now’ vibe.”

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the benefits of being single, even when you’re surrounded by kissing couples under mistletoes. There’s a lot to be positive about as 2018 ends and you create new dating goals for 2019.