“Make the Yuletide Gay: 5 Dating Tips During the Holidays” for DatingAdvice.com

Before you know it, your favorite radio station has started to play your favorite holiday songs. Your favorite store is packed with stocking stuffers and merry decorations. Maybe your parents or close friends are begging you to finalize your holiday plans with them.

The holidays have a rhythm that feels very different than the rest of the year. We become enveloped in social activities, family traditions, and parties that may have us looking for a plus one. However, your relationship may not be ready for that, and that’s all right. Sometimes meeting a partner’s family and friends can be overwhelming, especially if you have only been dating for a few weeks or a few months.

How can you even consider dating during this time? It’s easy. Here are my top five ways to keep your holiday dating game going strong and fun.

1. Know Cuffing Season is Real

Urban Dictionary defines cuffing season as “the cold season when everyone’s coupling up, so you settle for a new boyfriend/girlfriend way below your standards.” As a longtime professional matchmaker, I have never encountered someone lowering  their standards just because it’s cold. But there are many studies that confirm an increase in depression in places like the Pacific Northwest when days get shorter and gloomy and rainy nights become more common.

What I can say is that when we are put in a vulnerable place, we become more forgiving and more blinded to our own or someone else’s flaws. Be aware of that during this holiday season. Choose your quality time wisely.

2. Be Open to Being a Plus One

If your gay bestie or new love interest asks you to be their plus one, you may want to graciously accept the invitation. One of the best ways to grow closer to someone is to meet the people in their life. A person’s friend circle reveals a facet of their personality.

If your goal is to integrate your life with your boyfriend’s life, then meeting and getting along with his friends and family should be a priority. And the holidays are a good time to start.

I remember dating this one guy during the holidays years ago, and his best friend was extremely superficial and judgmental. Over time, I noticed that the guy I was dating was also that way, and it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I felt like I was chiming into his negative behavior — or maybe I was just ignoring it. I want someone to hold me accountable for things like that. I want our social circles to build us up with positive energy and meaningful relationships.

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