By Ali Binazir, MD
Hooray for the holidays – a time for presents, parties, and love for all! Everyone’s in a good mood and having a ball! Right?
Well, sort of. In the midst of the celebrations, there is a dark side as well: the folks who felt lonely and isolated before the holidays may feel even more excluded and be pushed to despair. Rates of suicide and depression are sky-high during the holiday season.
So if you’re a single person – and perhaps perennially so – seeing all these lovey-dovey couples in their warm, impeccably-decorated households with their lovey-dovey couple friends may not do much to boost your mood.
But there is yet hope – opportunity in the midst of crisis! In my job as Captain Obvious, I’m happy to report that you are not alone in your singlehood. Before the holidays, there are about 50 million single women in the US and about the same number of single men. With the right mindset and a little bit of initiative, the holidays may be the best time for you to create some meaningful connections, anywhere from a pleasantly torrid make-out session to a life partner. Here are some ideas:
1.Throw a holiday party.
There is no better way to showcase your warm and affectionate nature than to throw a party. If you’re a natural homemaker, this shows off your talents to fine effect – one of the fastest ways to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Even if you’re not Martha Stewart, it’s a great opportunity to invite the people you like into your home and connect with them in a way that’s just not possible at a bar or anonymous party.
2. Seize the opportunity to show your appreciation.
Newsflash: there is no shortage of secret crushes in the world. However, there is a massive shortage of expression of these crushes. So take the season of love as an excuse to show genuine appreciation for your object of desire, via a thoughtful card, gift or note.
If the recipient is interested, you’ve just given him or her an opening. If not, you can save face and say the season made you do it. Incidentally, saving face is pretty overrated – the people who get what they want in life are often the ones who ask for it. So go for it – you’ve got my full permission.
3. Take advantage of the Mistletoe Factor
There are certain times of the year that are liminal times – threshold states during which normal rules of conduct are temporarily suspended. Think Mardi Gras, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and any trip to Las Vegas, during which a broad range of otherwise scandalous behaviors are tolerated and even encouraged.
The entire holiday season is one of these times, during which it’s perfectly normal to kiss someone just because he or she is standing under the mistletoe. I will leave it to your imagination to see how you can use this fine tradition to your advantage.
4. Practice forgiveness to lighten your load.
Here’s an idea that you may find slightly unsettling: chances are that right now, the person most responsible for your singlehood is YOU. Whether you find yourself unlovable and unconsciously broadcast it to the world, or carry baggage from the past that makes you turn down perfectly decent applicants for companionship, you’re the one who’s doing it.
And you’re not entirely to blame – everyone’s been hurt at some point. However, to perpetuate the hurt by holding grudges is inexcusable, and entirely your fault. So take this time of love and forgiveness to really forgive – especially that person who dumped you via text, and the other one who pretended not to recognize you a week after you had an amazing time together.
In Buddhism, the word for an awakened, enlightened being is arahant – literally, one who has dropped his burden. So one thing you can do to make yourself more attractive is to drop your baggage. Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
5. Take advantage of the honest advertising of New Year’s Eve.
There are two days during a year when you know for sure that an unaccompanied person is single (or single enough): Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Everybody who can be paired up is paired up on those days.
So if you are interested in making a connection of any degree of meaningfulness, you would be well-advised to show up on December 31 to a party of your target audience, look for the unaccompanied hotties, and be receptive to new interactions. It’s the best time of year to make a new friend, sometimes for a lifetime.
Ali Binazir, MD, MPhil is the author of the #1-rated dating book on Amazon, The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, and the just-released e-book “Best Dating Advice I Ever Got”: 3000 Women Pick Their Favorite Love Tips. He’s a graduate of Harvard, Cambridge and UC San Diego Medical School and a Huffington Post contributor. For more articles that bring you happiness, fulfillment, and the occasional laugh, visit his blog at TaoOfDating.com.