We’ve all seen the romantic comedies where the hero of the story has gone through a breakup, leaving them alone for the holidays. Of course, usually by the end of the film, the hero has found someone new and life is good again.
However, have you ever wondered why these movies are so popular? Why is it important for some people to be in a relationship during the holidays?
Dr. Adeola Adelayo is a practicing psychiatrist with Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. She explains the main culprit comes from one of the usually suspects.
“Society has set incredible expectations to have a partner,” Dr. Adelayo said. “Especially during the holidays when you are expected to be with someone.”
What’s the big deal?
Whether you’re single or won’t be able to get home for holidays, being alone for the holidays can be rough. Because of society’s expectations, being single during the holidays can cause a lot of anxiety, according to Dr. Adelayo.
Imagine going home for the holidays, and your uncle, your mom or your dad asks you why you are single. Anticipating this and facing it can create awkward situations and, ultimately, build anxiety.
The real issue, as Dr. Adelayo explains, is what can happen if these societal expectations are too much. Depression can start setting in.
“Severe pressure created by society and friends and family can make you feel lonely,” Dr. Adelayo said. “If you are susceptible to depression, make sure you take care of yourself, take your medicines and see your therapist.”
What can you do?
Being single during the holidays doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Dr. Adelayo suggests setting a plan for yourself and sticking to it.
“I tell all of my single patients to be very active in choosing what they are doing during the holidays,” Dr. Adelayo said. “Decide what you’re going to participate in—something where single people feel very comfortable.”
And, if you have a family that asks those uncomfortable questions, you don’t have to go to their holiday parties. Instead, Dr. Adelayo suggests spending time with friends who make you feel good and skip the pressure.
If you know someone who is single during the holidays, you may want to consider inviting them to a party. Dr. Adelayo suggests planning events where everyone can have fun without worrying about the plus one.
Now, what if you are worried about a single person? Are there things you can do to help them through what could be a tough time? Absolutely.
Dr. Adelayo suggests, if you feel the single person is very vulnerable, actively seek them out. It’s OK to go out of your way to help them and look out for them.
“Let them know the importance of their presence,” Dr. Adelayo said. “If they can’t be there, make sure to spend a little time with them. Call them up, buy them a spa day and show them they are important.”
Remember, the holidays can and should be fun for everyone.
And, if you’re hoping this is the last holiday where you’re single, the final advice piece from Dr. Adelayo might be something you enjoy hearing:
“I always tell my single clients that holidays are a good opportunity to meet new people,” Dr. Adelayo said. “I have many examples where people meet someone and get married a year later.”