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How to Play (Single) Defense This Holiday Season

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For all the single ladies out there, the holidays can be an especially tough time of year, especially when it comes to handling those family/friends/work holiday parties that you'll be attending stag. To prepare for the inevitable, let's go over some strong defensive tactics to use when faced with the dreaded 'singleton' inquiries.

Aunt Dottie Asks: What Happened to Whatshisname? I thought you two were really serious!

Defensive Play of Choice: The Redirect - Similar to those tips you hear regarding job interviews, relatives, like bosses, LOVE talking about themselves. To avoid telling Aunt Dottie the messy saga of how your ex is now dating your ex-best friend, ask her about a topic that sparks her hobbies or interests instead.

  • It just didn't work out, right now I'm focusing on friends and family. Speaking of which, how's your cooking class going? I remember how excited you were to sign up for it!

Your Friend Who is Newly Dating Someone You Don't Like: What do you think of Whatshisname?

Defensive Play of Choice: The Sandwich Move - The Sandwich move is when you are trying to criticize someone in the nicest way possible. Give a positive comment, followed by a less positive, more constructive comment, and end with a positive one. Is it brutally honest? No, but it's the holidays, do you really want to get into that over your eggnog? Keep things light and fun and save the intervention for January when everyone's miserable anyway.

  • I love his fashion style! He seems a bit ambitious, but the fact that he's so goal-oriented is really something!

The most common/painfully obvious question: Why Are You Single?

Defensive Play of Choice: Depends on the Offense - This question is all about its inflection and the person asking the question.

If your 90-year-old grandmother is asking you when you're going to settle down, it might be better to respond with something like this:

  • I'm working on it Grandma, but I'm happy with a lot of other areas of my life right now. I'm sure it will happen soon!

If your mother or sister who's happily married asks: Remember, they're still your family, and while honesty is respectable, don't make a big deal of it. Keep it short, positive and sweet! You know the question is coming, just answer it and move on.

  • Honestly Mom (or whoever), I'm really focusing on myself right now. My job (or whatever's positive in your life) is really taking off and I'm really excited for that. As soon as I meet someone, you'll be the first to know!

If, however, it's your nosy, rude uncle, a jerky co-worker or an old frenemy from high school that you bump into at the bar, feel free to respond in anyway you'd like. If someone's going to be that blunt with their question to you (which trust me, they will be), then you should feel completely comfortable with answering anyway you please. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • I'm doing one of those eat, pray, love things, except just with eating and drinking.
  • My fiancé ran off with my cousin.
  • I'm celibate.
  • I just bought a turtle and he's taking up the majority of my time right now.
  • Too many people I know rushed into a relationship, so I'm trying to avoid repeating their mistakes.

Because let's face it, they're just rude.

Your Cousin with Four Bajillion Kids after her fourth glass of Merlot says: You're SOOO lucky to be single!

Defensive Play of Choice: Compliance - It's the holidays, so give your preoccupied and overwhelmed cousin the benefit of the doubt. Sure, she might be taking her own luck for granted, but when it comes down to it, there are a lot of great things about being single, especially during the holidays! So if she's going to say it, why not agree with her?

  • I know, right? No stress about what to get my boyfriend or kids, in fact my biggest concern this holiday is running low on eggnog!

Because let's be honest, after spending the holidays surrounded by your friends and family, you might actually enjoy your independence come January.