The holiday season, despite all the joy and celebration it brings, also carries a layer of dread for singles everywhere who have yet to reach the altar or find a long term partner who meets their standards.
Whether single, seeing someone new, or in a serious relationship, the holidays almost guarantees a barrage of questions from well-meaning relatives, friends, and friends of friends who seem to think they’re entitled to details about one of the most intimate parts of your life.
Since the majority of these questions are unwelcome and often, quite frankly, nosy, here are some special Dating with Dignity tips to quash those conversations early, wherever you are in the dating process.
SINGLE: “So, have you been seeing anyone lately?”
Whether on the prowl, unlucky in love, or choosing to focus on your career, single folks often feel questions such as these shed an unwelcome spotlight on their loneliness, insecurities, and fears about the future. Though you may feel this question implies your solo status is something to be ashamed of, oftentimes it stems from nothing more than a quest for small talk. Or if the person is a close relative, the question likely arises from a place of good intention and they simply want to see you find someone who makes you happy.
Keep that in mind as you prepare a straightforward, stock answer along the lines of “I’ve been dating but haven’t met anyone right for me yet.” If they keep digging and it’s starting to steal your holiday cheer, keep the conversation upbeat. Rattle of some cool stats like, “according to the latest research, 69 percent of online dating users indicate they are ‘thinking more about who they’re really looking for'” and 50 percent say they are “no longer chasing after people who aren’t interested in them,” as a way to prove that being single during the Pandemic is not the the end of the world. Let them know the timing has never been better and you are ready and excited for the future.
If the questions continue, find a gracious way to change the subject by asking a question, talking about something else you have in common (e.g., “How ‘bout those Wolverines in the Rose Bowl?!”).
NEWLY COUPLED: “Are things getting serious?”
Even if you head home for the holidays before establishing an exclusive relationship with your new fellow, the folks waiting to ask you about him may already be one step ahead of you. If word has spread to family and friends that there’s a new man in your life, odds are the topic will come up and many may wonder aloud if he has serious relationship potential.
While you may be echoing these same questions in your mind, that’s also where you should be answering them. Don’t let pressure from family and friends push the timeline of your budding relationship, but do take time to figure out how you feel first. You may be bubbling over with excitement about your new guy and could talk about him all day, but keep the interrogators (and yourself) at bay by simply telling them that it’s too early to tell but that you’re happy how things are going.
IN A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP: “Do you think he’s the one?”
The incessant questions don’t stop once you’ve found someone you’d like to keep around. Returning home with the same significant other even just two years in a row often begins to invite questions about “forever.” Answer only as much as you feel comfortable, depending on who it is and how they’re asking. It could be that you’re currently enduring a rough patch in your relationship or simply aren’t comfortable with sharing those intimate details. If it’s the former, you don’t owe anyone an explanation and can find a way to express that he’s a special person but neither of you are in any rush. The hope is that your ambiguity will signal that it’s time for a chance of subject without hurting the asker’s feelings.