The specter of enduring gatherings with relatives who harass you because youíve failed to hook up trounces your hopes for peace and goodwill. Youíll be explaining your sorry self from the first sip of eggnog to your last bite of mincemeat pie.
Afterwards, youíll tuck into bed feeling like a colossal loser, remembering how Cousin Patty flashed her newly installed engagement ring (roughly the size of an aircraft carrier) all through dinner. And then, as you console yourself that this was just one night out of your life, that surely you can rise above the pitying looks and comments, it dawns on you that youíll be subjected to them again on New Yearís Eve!
You find yourself with two choices: (A) Attend a party teeming with self-satisfied couples, hoping to God that some gorgeous single specimen of the opposite sex will infiltrate and rescue you from your glass of warm champagne. (B) Accept Mom and Dadís offer to watch the ball drop on their new big-screen TV and endure entreaties to Ďhurry up and get married alreadyí between appearances by B-list celebrities.
So, what will you do?
The temptation to call it quits this year, stay home, and slump through re-runs of Sex and the City with a bottle of wine is staggering. Donít do it. This holiday season can be your best yet if you approach it with the right mindset. Here are five tips to help facilitate a new perspective:
Know the truth: Those self-satisfied married people arenít so satisfied. Hey, most of them are downright miserable. Donít believe me? Look around. Go into any family restaurant on a Friday evening, and check out all the couples that donít make eye contact. Observe the husbands and wives who speak to the children but not to each other. Go to the mall on a Sunday afternoon and watch the Christmas shoppers. A far cry from what you see in the diamond ads, eh? Be happy that you are not stuck in a dull marriage! Decide that if and when you marry, youíll do it for the right reasons, not because you hit a certain age, your parents were nagging you, you want children, or you want to make your friends feel bad because you bought or received a bigger diamond than they did.
Come up with a snappy answer. When some moron eyes you over the Christmas turkey and asks, ďArenít you ever going to get married?" Just respond, ďWhy do you ask?" If the inquisitor persists, smile enigmatically and say, ďIím too young to get married." Say this even if youíre fifty. If your mother starts piling on the guilt about giving her grandchildren, tell her you hate kids. Suggest that she sponsor an unfortunate child for twenty dollars a month through a worthy charitable organization. Never allow yourself to be drawn into conversations about what it is you do to repel the opposite sex.
Walk into every party like a winner. Sit down at every dinner table as if youíre the guest of honor. Be quietly confident. Smile. Walk tall. Sit up straight. Feel good about yourself. Adorn yourself in clothes that flatter you (women, the poncho may be the rage, but if it makes you look like a sack of onions, put it down; men, avoid wearing baseball caps at all costs). Do not walk into a party hoping that someone will notice you. Walk into a party expecting to be noticed.
Be proactive. Instead of waiting around for invitations, host a party of your very own. Give the event a sheen by preparing a trendy drink. Make an investment and pour it into appropriate glasses. For an elegant effect, start the night by playing Mozart or jazz renditions of holiday classics. Keep the party lively later on by spinning Moby or the latest U2. Be the star you are and dress up. (If you want something more casual, Super Bowl parties are a blast, even for those of us who donít understand football.) Invite singles and couples from work, church, wherever. The more the merrier, so tell guests to bring a friend. Be sure to ask a married couple or two to prevent the vibe of a singlesí mixer, but avoid inviting couples that stand around talking about their children all night.
Understand that being single is a good thing. Look, youíre not tied down to anybody. Your life is full of possibilities. Every day is an adventure. You can travel as you like, buy clothes as you like, date as you like. Married people canít. Decide not to give up your freedom until someone truly worthy comes along. This is powerful. When you sit around waiting for the right person to show up, nobody will. But once you decide to enjoy your life, often somebody wonderful and worthy will appearóand sooner than you expect.
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(c) Terry Hernon MacDonaldTerry Hernon MacDonald is the host of "Romance Talk with Terry," which can be accessed any time at http://www.healthylife.net. Visit her website at http://email@example.com