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It’s hard to say what is in greater supply this time of year: Happy couples or holiday fruitcakes. For those of us who are single, both can feel overly abundant — unless of course you’re a fan of dried fruits.
With the constant flurry of festive functions, now is when even the most seasoned singles, like myself, wish we were with someone. If for no other reason than to avoid those four frustrating words that pop up over and over during the holidays: "Are you seeing anyone?"
A recent survey of 2,350 singles found more than half said they would skip a holiday party, preferring a Silent Night at home to flying solo on the holiday party circuit.
But according to Nancy Kirsch, vice-president of It’s Just Lunch dating service, that kind of attitude only makes the holidays lonelier. The answer for those looking to meet someone is not to avoid holiday invitations, but instead to say "yes and thank you" to every one. "Even if the party was a dud the year before you should still go," says Kirsch. "You just never know who you’ll meet (or where you’ll meet them)."
But just like gym class, attendance doesn’t count for much unless you decide to participate.
"Try to talk to three to five people you’ve never met before," says Kirsch. "Even if they aren’t single, they might know someone who is."
Kirsch recommends keeping the conversation light and easy with subjects like movies and holiday plans. Questions about work should only be used to break the ice, but shouldn’t dominate the conversation.
"When we’re nervous we tend to look all over the room and not always at the person we are talking to," says Kirsch. "So remember to smile and make eye contact."
Holiday parties aren’t the only place we can step outside our comfort zone to expand our dating pool.
"We all have patterns of where we go and what we do," Kirsch says. "So why not try shaking things up a little?"
It could be as simple as going somewhere new to buy milk or inviting a work acquaintance out for a drink to make a new friend.
"I always say if you change your strategy you could change your status," says Kirsch.
Failing that, you might just discover a place that sells less expensive milk.