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To Date or Not to Date During the Holidays – By Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S

Hello Reader. Ahh, to date or not to date over the holidays is a very real question! It wasn’t too long ago I was single over Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then the dreaded New Years Eve…for the -umph time. Such a mixed bag of emotions! So if you are single and reading this, know that I might very well personally understand and I hope these are helpful tips for you. And if you are reading this because someone you care for is single in this season, please read on even though this is written for my single compadres, there are helpful tips that may also help you help them enjoy the holidays.

 

I’ve curated a few responses and added to some of them to apply to a Christian dater. The curation comes from eHarmony, Huffington Post, Just Lunch, and Dr. Henry Cloud (my super dating coach).

 

So let’s jump in here, and please comment if you have a friendly and helpful idea to add!

 

If you are still looking for that person –

  • To date or not: the holidays are crazy full so it’s easy to either stress over the love-life or to avoid it. Attempt to find that rhythm that allows you to make room for what’s important to you. Is it time for self-care, for family, for meeting someone new, for…?
  • The bonus of holiday parties: Be intentional with attending holiday parties by showing up with your best self or your real self. Holidays parties can be a mix-up of people you might not normally get to meet so be you and learn ways to create conversation with new people. If you know there might be the possibility of running into people who might be an interesting date, don’t be creepy, but be intentional.
  • Gather the crew and try out something new: holidays are also great times when businesses or organizations have open parties to the public and these are great options for meeting people outside your typical circle. So gather your crew and try out something new together.
  • Avoid Holiday Relationship Hangover – you don’t need to be in a relationship to enjoy the holidays. Being in a bad or just meh relationship for the sake of holiday dates will only bring that self-esteem downer hangover. Stick with your healthy, lovely friends and enjoy the time well together.
  • Honor and Respect You – make sure the choices you make are honoring and respectful of yourself. This plays along with wardrobe choices, what to drink, where to go, how long to stay, and what to allow.

 

If you are dating someone or someone(s) –

  • Establishing the gift-giving: if this is a new relationship, have a quick chat about whether or not there is a plan for exchanging gifts. If the relationship has gotten intimate quickly or has been established for a few months, then you may know if gifts are on the agenda.
  • Holiday dress to his/her work or family event: this is not just for the ladies-it’s important to know what the expected dress is for shared events because whether we like it or not, our partners are in some way “judged” by those who stand beside them. And if you have the question, “I wonder if this is too sexy”, it probably is.
  • Invites to his/her holiday party – don’t read into a holiday invite, as it might be truly a dated invite where he/she needs to bring a date, or it might be a next step. Either way, don’t make assumptions and if you feel upset you didn’t get that invite, ask if he/she would like company.
  • Should you take him/her to your holiday party? It’s easy to share an invite to someone you’ve been spending time with elsewhere, but only invite a new love interest if you know they are ok if you get pulled into a work conversation. And be sure you will have time to actually spend with your date.
  • Don’t call it a date if it’s really a holiday or work event – my husband and I went through this while dating and still have this conversation. A “date” means concentrated time together, a “work event” or holiday party might mean you get some time together while enjoying a nice meal but its’ not a date. This goes along with sharing expectations and not making assumptions.
  • Home for the Holidays? – Suggestions vary on this one, and I land in the area of family=serious or getting serious. This might need to be a quick check-in with each other so you understand what the invitation means. If you do go meet the family, consider bringing a small gift (flowers, wine, food) and then send a thank you note. The gift shows forward thinking of honoring and the thank you note shows appreciation.
  • Dating several someone(s) – be sure to prioritize your time and remember what you went to with whom. Remember to honor the other person and their expectations, assumptions, or requests. Be clear with each person and always remember this is a person with similar heart, hurts, and hopes as you.

 

The New Years Eve Dilemma/Challenge/Whatever –

  • Don’t ask someone out just so you have a date – this isn’t honoring or respectful of them or of you to just ask someone out so you aren’t alone on NYE.
  • Don’t stay home alone – call up a friend or two and make plans today for something fun, unique, or restful.
  • Do be intentional – it’s easy to depend on others who are great at coming up with NYE plans and then tag along. This NYE think about how would you like to start this year and then plan around that.
  • Do make your own plans – whether we like it or not NYE has a blown-out-of proportion expectation and there’s often FOMO. If you are dating someone(s) now, don’t wait or expect them to ask you out for NYE. Make your own plans with healthy, lovely friends and then if you do get the invite, incorporate your date into your established awesome plans.

 

Overall –

  • Make mindful choices- you are awesome! I mean it, awesome! You were created by God for this very time in history by a creatively loving God and that makes you awesome. Be mindful about choices you make during the holiday season so they reflect the truth of who you are and the purpose of your life. Not to get too existential, but the holidays can be a hyper-focused time that leaves you feeling less-than excited or less-than hopeful about your life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Keep focused on the meaning of the season and be mindful about where to spend your time and who to spend it with now so you can continue to be the best you later too.
  • You are created with needs and God knows that – recognizing our needs doesn’t give us license to do things to meet those needs that are contrary to our God-given identity. Yes the holidays can increase feelings of loss, romance, and love. Yes, you can meet those needs in healthy God-given ways that keep you mindfully in a place of integrity. Not sure how? Check out Dr. Henry Cloud’s resources online, look into Smalley Relationship Institute, order the Intimacy workbook series from Ferguson and Walker, or give me a call and lets chat about some possible options!
  • Increase your holiday hope – check out the blog from last week on Holidays&Hope to help you find ways to increase hope while you date or look for a date worth keeping. The hope that is found in the meaning of Christmas is a solid hope that translates into dating.

 

Alright you awesome reader you, I hope these are truly helpful as you consider dating over the holidays. Need a buddy, a coach, or a counselor to come alongside you during the season or to start your 2018 off well? You can always check in with me or I’m ready to give you a few other referrals for a counselor or coach that might be more of what you need for your goals! We are in this together and I’ve been there in the dating jungle for longer than I would have preferred, but I’ve also had an awesome dating coach, team, and am ready to pass along what I learned!

Connect with me and let me know how it goes!

 

Warmly,

Liz

 

Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com  or www.renue.me

 

Photo Credits:

Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva

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