The holiday season can be a mixed bag for single people. Although it’s a festive time of year with lots of opportunities to meet other single people, it also can be a stark reminder that you’re unattached. Colder weather makes you crave a cuddle partner. Family dinners are full of relatives with questions about your single status. And you might want to bring a date to one of those parties. It’s no wonder that December 26 is the busiest day of the year for online dating, as people make finding a partner a goal.
It’s also a time of year for reflection, especially if you had intended to find a partner last year. Oh, how easy it would be to chastise yourself by reviewing what you could have done better: Should you have contacted more people? Maybe you should have given a certain someone another chance or wish you hadn’t wasted time with someone else. “I was supposed to find someone,” you tell yourself. “What did I do wrong?”
I have an idea: Let’s celebrate what you did right! If you dated at all this year, there’s a good chance you did some of these things. Yep, you experienced some personal growth. Read this list to your inner critic.
1) You put yourself out there
You risked rejection. You went outside of your comfort zone. You took risks. You made yourself emotionally vulnerable. You tried, and you survived!
2) You took better care of yourself
People who date tend to be more mindful of their appearance. Maybe you paid more attention to your diet or made an effort to exercise. You might have bought some flattering clothes or got your nails done or beard trimmed. Hopefully, you feel better about yourself and adopted some healthy habits along the way.
3) You let yourself hope
Maybe you tell everyone how much you hate online dating. But if you answered emails or went on dates – and even if you experienced disappointment – you proved to yourself that you do want love and that part of you believes you will find it.
4) You developed social skills
You slogged through a lot of email exchanges and first-date chitchat. You improved your ability to flirt via text. (You also learned that people have wildly different texting styles!) You engaged in many different kinds of communication with people you wouldn’t have normally come into contact with. I’m guessing you’ve gotten pretty good at holding a conversation.
5) You expanded your world
You tried a new cuisine or restaurant or went hiking in a place you’d always wanted to try. You got some recs for new apps to try on your phone and new places to visit in your neighborhood. You learned about different political views. You heard some fascinating stories or challenged yourself to show someone empathy when you heard a sad story. Your orbit got a little bigger.
Recognize the fact that you did a lot for yourself this year. Take that sense of accomplishment and confidence on your next date.
About the Author:
Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.