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How to Survive Being Single on New Year’s Eve

Understand that the holidays are not a preview of the rest of your life.

You survived Christmas as a single person, but now it’s time to face New Year’s Eve. Along with Valentines' Day, it’s one of the hardest days of the year to be single. It can almost feel as if everyone has someone to kiss at midnight except you.

It also doesn’t help that friends and family are constantly asking, “How is it possible you’re still single?” What they really mean is: You're such a catch! But what you hear is: How do you keep failing over and over again? And if you really had an answer, then you wouldn’t be single.

Starting as early as Thanksgiving and ending after Valentine’s Day, everything takes on even more heightened and disproportionate meaning — your expectations, your feelings, your hope, and your disappointment are all repeatedly re-experienced. As hard as it might be to recognize this right now, this period of time does not indicate how the rest of your life is going to go.

Everything at this time of year is magnified and distorted. It can feel like everyone has their eye on you and what you’re doing — who you’re with, who you’re not with. This can make you wish more than anything that you had someone by your side to be your confidant and buffer. The fact that you have no buffer right now can heighten the feelings of isolation and loneliness you’re already enduring.

In regular, non-holiday life you know that many of the couples around you are unhappily paired. Despite this awareness, the rituals, meanings, and implications of New Year’s Eve can encourage you to wish you were unhappily paired rather than not paired at all. You feel exposed, awkward, and alone.

Even more so, you’re left feeling ashamed and like a loser. Why the hell aren’t you with someone? Everyone thinks you’re supposed to be and you think you’re supposed to be, and living counter to these expectations makes you feel bad about something that in actuality you have no control over — not at this moment, at least.

Do whatever you need to do to comfort yourself. Really. (As long as it’s not self-destructive.) You’ve just been through the wringer of Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s okay to take care of yourself going into this loaded, date-oriented evening. Give yourself the leeway to act in your own best interest — even if it requires you to put your head down and burrow through it, knowing you’ll come out the other side.

Most importantly, work to understand that even though the holidays in general — and New Year’s Eve in particular — are times when many of us reflect and take stock of our lives, what happens on this night is not a testimonial of how the rest of your life is going to go. There is pressure and symbolism attached to this holiday, which distorts our opinion of the importance and impact of what in reality is just one night.

Instead of giving in to despair, try to tune out the negative, magnified messages and let yourself feel okay about being single. Right now, it just happens to be where you are. Not forever. Not always. But right now. With self-acceptance and self-compassion, you can make the night itself as painless as possible and let New Year’s Eve be a blip on the screen of your life.

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