{Single Saints} 5 Secrets to Dating Success During the Holidays

The holidays often have huge romantic expectations and disappointments. If you are in a relationship (or wanting to be in one), you canʼt afford to make these five common mistakes. However, if you apply the accompanying five secrets, you may instead find lasting love.

Mistake #1: Hibernating for the Winter
For some singles, the winter and holidays can be lonely and depressing, whereas other singles use the cold as an excuse to just wall-up inside and do nothing. In either case, hibernating for the winter can have a huge impact on your happiness and relationships and can make you less attractive to the opposite sex. Not only does a sedentary lifestyle add to depression, anxiety, and weight gain, but it also prevents you from meeting new singles. Additionally, when men and women hang out instead of being actively involved, they often feel less passionately toward each other. Thus, being actively involved in life and doing things together makes you and the relationship more attractive, interesting, and desirable.

Secret #1: Treat the winter as a time to step out of your comfort zone and do something new with other singles or a dating partner.
In other words, women, take up a new hobby such as indoor rock climbing, scuba diving instruction, marathon training, etc. These can be great places to meet men. Men, take a dance class or join a new exercise group or yoga class. Lots of women attend these types of classes, and being physically active increases the chance of one or both of you feeling more chemistry.

Mistake #2: Inviting a Date to a High-pressure Event
If you just started dating someone, now is not the time to invite him or her to your work or family parties for the holidays. Itʼs too much pressure and can make you appear too "into" them. Instead plan on going to these events alone this holiday season, unless your date invites you to one of their holiday parties. 

Secret #2: Women, follow the lead of the men you date, and men, set limits when needed, but in a loving way.
Ladies, if he invites you to a holiday party, it is safe to invite him to one of yours (not two or three). Following his lead means that you match his efforts, not exceed them. Men, if the woman you are dating asks you to a holiday party and the pressure of this event feels too great, simply say, “Wow, thanks for wanting me to come, but if itʼs okay I would rather wait until we have been dating a little longer.” Then offer to take her out for a date on another night. By doing this you avoid rejecting her personally while also avoiding the pressure that could prematurely drive you away from the relationship.

Mistake #3: Engaging in "Define the Relationship" Conversations
If you are wondering where the relationship is going, the holiday season is not the time to ask. The holidays alone can create too much pressure, and asking, “How do you feel about me and our relationship?” often makes you look desperate and needy. 

Secret #3: Focus on having fun over the holidays and saving any serious conversations about how your dating partner feels about you until January.
Instead of cornering the person and making them analyze what they are feeling (or not feeling) just have fun and assume that the relationship is less serious (even if they invite you to their family or work parties). If you assume less you will create less pressure, whereas if you assume too much, the other person may panic and run. And for those singles who were hoping to have a Christmas Eve engagement experience: Unless they were ring shopping with you before Thanksgiving, put such dreams out of your mind. Itʼs not likely to happen and pressuring them to move more quickly will only cause tension or break ups.

Mistake #4: Buying Expensive Gifts
You may want to buy your new dating partner an expensive gift, but unless you are in a clearly defined girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, keep your gifts to $50 or less (preferably $30 or less). 

Secret #4: Give a gift that matches but does not exceed their efforts or the seriousness of the relationship. 
If you fear that they may buy you something expensive and you donʼt want to look cheap, then buy two gifts (one that is more expensive and one that is less expensive) so you can pull out the appropriate gift based on their gift, and then return the other. And, if you have only been on one or two dates, forgo giving a gift altogether and instead prepare a simple treat, like something you would give a neighbor. Such a gesture is enough to show you are thinking of them but are not assuming that the relationship is more serious than it is.

Mistake #5: Introducing Your Date as Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend
When attending a work or family party, it is reasonable to assume that others will ask you or your date if you are serious or just friends. Anticipate this problem beforehand so as to avoid an awkward moment that could create too much pressure. You need to look confident and comfortable with the least serious description of your relationship so your date doesnʼt feel shocked by any descriptions that donʼt match their feelings. 

Secret #5: Express that you intend to introduce your date as a good friend (or just a date) until they say they want to be introduced as more (boyfriend/girlfriend or fiance).
Determine the least serious description you think you could both agree on, then make sure to share this assumption with your date before the event so that they also donʼt feel hurt. To do this, say, “Just to be on the safe side, if anyone asks about us, I plan to say that we are just good friends [or just dating]. Let me know if you would prefer that I introduce you as more than this.” Then smile, act confident, and change the subject. They will appreciate the less-pressure-filled description while feeling free to jump in with a different description (i.e., “Iʼm okay with you saying Iʼm your boyfriend”) if they prefer it.

For more dating techniques like these and to help you avoid hundreds of other dating mistakes or issues, visit itsyourtechnique.com. After all, regardless of your dating past, itʼs NOT you--itʼs your technique. With the right knowledge and skills, you can find the relationships you are looking for.

Alisa Goodwin Snell is a licensed marriage and family therapist and dating coach with 17 years of experience. She is the author of the Mormon Dating System. Visit itsyourtechnique.com/specialoffer to get amazing discounts on her books, DVDs, and audios (only available on her website).

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