“So, still single?” or “Don’t you have anyone to introduce to us?” Have you ever found yourself alone during a family Christmas meal bombarded by these kinds of questions? These seemingly innocuous questions, and often based on a good feeling, can dissuade single people from participating in end-of-year celebrations with their family. This phenomenon even has a name: “single shaming”.
For several years, Thibault, 27, has no longer attended family Christmas parties. “Every year it’s the same thing, people ask me why I’m not in a relationship. It became tiring and annoying. For those close to me, being single at my age seems inconceivable“, he explains. And he is not the only one. According to a study by YouGov for the dating application Bumble, 43% of singles have already avoided dinners or end-of-year family gatherings to escape judgments or indiscreet questions about their love life.
Same case for Sarah, single for two years, aged 31. “My first New Year without my ex-boyfriend was trying. My cousins insisted on knowing why I wasn’t getting back together with him. My presence alone didn’t seem to be enough“, she confides. These testimonies underline the persistent social pressure to adhere to traditional couple models. According to the same survey, more than a quarter of singles (26%) are under strong pressure from those around them to be in a relationship and around a third of respondents (30%) feel more alone during the holidays.
The end-of-year celebrations, synonymous with conviviality, can also rhyme with loneliness, especially with the cold and the shorter days of winter. This period, generally spent with family, can intensify feelings of loneliness and depression, often associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
So how do you deal with loneliness during this time as a single person? Rather than isolating yourself, several options exist. For example, surround yourself with people you love and enjoy their company. Combat feelings of loneliness by staying active, accepting social invitations and to combat “single shaming” be prepared to respond with humor to indiscreet questions about your love life. Finally, look on the bright side and reap the benefits of being single during the holidays.