Alone at Christmas? How to make the most of being single

A third of all households in the UK are single-occupant, indicating that many of us will be spending Christmas without a partner this year. But as our psychologist Sam Owen explains, there are many positives about being single during the holidays, and there are some easy steps we can use to pick ourselves up if we're feeling down.

Why do we feel down about being single in the festive season?

So, the tree is decorated, the Yule log prepared, the mistletoe hung (in hope) and the presents bought, or at least thought about. The festive season is well underway, so there should be no reason for feeling glum. Should there? Actually, the sight of all those smiling couples ice skating, shopping and generally seeming to rub their happiness in your face can put you on a bit of a downer. As can the thought of having to field question from friends and family on why you haven’t settled down, or found ‘the one’ yet.

READ MORE: Want to find a partner? Here's why you should try looking online

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In a recent survey, 48% of singles said that their biggest end-of-year worry was that that they would have no-one to share the festive season with. It makes sense, of course; none of us want to be the only one without someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve. Spending time with your loved ones over the Christmas period can be a time for reflection, where you think about how your year has gone and compare your situation to those around you. If this feeling gets you down, Psychologist Sam Owen recommends to "Take action in the direction of your goals. You will always feel better when you proactively take your destiny into your own hands. You’re not going to undo the pressure by sitting at home worrying about it or feeling deflated by your predicament. It’s better to take small consistent steps towards your goal. Make the steps simple and easy, but do them consistently, and the cumulative effect will be that you will always be moving closer to your end goal. 

This might explain why the numbers joining EliteSingles hikes significantly between Boxing Day and the New Year, making it an excellent time to join as there are even more members to choose from than usual.

Turning your winter woes into festive fun

Realising that you are hardly alone in this predicament is one of the first steps to overcoming negative feelings about your single situation. It’s important to remember that actually the majority of households in the UK are not the traditional ‘nuclear family’ that society can pressure us to aspire to. Adjust your expectations and de-mythologise both Christmas and relationships. Elaine Rodino, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, says “there are so many categories of expectations of the festive season being just right that it brings up all sort of issues. There’s this idea that it’s supposed to be perfect, and if it’s not, the person asks, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”5

As there are many others out there who feel especially strongly around Christmas that they would like to meet someone, it can be an excellent opportunity to find love. There are all sorts of events being held at this time of year; office parties, holiday soirees, New Year’s Eve get-togethers. Don’t stay at home with the eggnog and re-runs of It’s A Wonderful Life, get out there and mingle! Those events can be utilised as your own holiday dating service, alongside your online activities.

Sam Owen explains that "How we care for ourselves impacts how we feel about ourselves. Make a real effort with your appearance so you feel good on the inside and out, get a nice photo taken for your dating profile so you feel upbeat and excited about meeting potential dates, and get a friend to help you put your dating profile together with you. Going one step further, you can even browse some online profiles with them, too. This will make it feel less daunting and much more fun. You can have a laugh together and get a second opinion!" 

It's this confidence and willingness to get out there that can turn a normal Christmas into one that you may remember forever. Sam continues; "What’s also great about public holidays is that they are treated as special occasions and so we make an effort with our appearance; if we look good on the outside, we feel more confident on the inside, and confidence is great for making new acquaintances and helps us to feel more optimistic in general. You need optimism when you’re looking for a long-term relationship because it sends messages to your subconscious that you will win in your endeavour, and then the mind goes to work on making that a reality!"  

READ MORE: Rules of attraction - what influences the path to 'the one'

Laying the track for next year

Although signing up to a dating agency can help you go that extra mile toward finding ‘the one’, don’t expect results by New Year’s Eve! Our in-depth survey reveals that on average it takes members about 82 days to find a compatible partner.2 After roughly 60 days users will be matched with the ideal partner, then 22 days later the first meeting will take place. In those three weeks, an average of six calls are made, and 44 messages exchanged. It's important to remember to be honest with yourself: those who fill out our personality test honestly are those who will be most likely to have compatible partners proposed.Bearing that in mind, starting your journey now gives you a much better chance of being able to spend next Christmas with a very special someone.

Finding love with EliteSingles

Our international editorial department receives a lot of inspiring stories from our users, this particular one from Lily Cuthbertson, warmed our hearts. Lily – fed up of lonely Christmases – took matters into her own hands last year. “I had been single for nearly six years” said Lily, “my demanding job as a barrister means that I barely have the time to eat when I get home, let alone go out to a bar or an event. It’s difficult to meet new people when you’re constantly at work or just plain tired, and I really wanted to be able to relax with someone on my few days off around Christmas.” Lily joined in November, hoping to find love straight away. But it wasn’t until February that she met Ronald, who has been by her side ever since. “I must admit I was a bit optimistic when I joined”, says Lily, smiling. “I was sort of hoping that I would be able to meet someone straight away. But Ronald has been worth the wait and we’re really enjoying organizing our first Christmas together this year.”3

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