Being Yourself in a World of Twos found that 48% of respondents listed finding someone to share the holiday with as their biggest end-of-the-year worry.  Of course, people who are on looking for a mate probably worry more than others about having a date in general. But this fear of being alone for the holidays is a common holiday ritual that many wish they could forget.  It’s part the innate desire to be connected with someone at special times. But it’s also part the expectation, well wishing or not, that we’re all better off in twos. Ads for the special gift for that special someone. The mistletoe. The New Years kiss.

It’s also when we see our extended family. So you no only get your parents wondering when their darling daughter is going to settle down but you get relatives asking nosy questions about your love life and offering to set you up with god knows who. And then there are the holiday engagements and the panic that comes along with that:  “Should I be getting engaged?”  “Wow…I’m so far from that” and yes still plenty of “Thank god I’m not engaged.”

Many 40-something wish they didn’t get as much pressure when they were younger.  They had varied responses to the pressure. Some recommend just having a pat answer:  “I’m just having fun, enjoying (fill in the blank: my high powered job, traveling around the world, writing my novel, dining out every night, going on vacations, getting promoted, running the marathon, discovering my yoga practice, etc.) Others just say , “Get off my ass.”

But most also say that it’s when you stop worrying about being with someone that you find your own happiness and maybe someone else along the way. Yes the holidays creates the desire to be with someone for many and our mind can get cluttered with those thoughts. ‘Why am I not with someone? How can I meet someone?” But they are also full of fun opportunities to meet people.  Try to think less about  being the number one in a world of twos and think about it more as being a kid in a candy shop. There are opportunities all around you to meet people. If you just stop thinking about meeting the one.

Here are a few 40-something stories and advice:

You will be more likely to meet people because you are radiantly happy, not because you are talking about wanting to meet a guy. I was with two friends at a bar and they were bitching that there weren’t any cute guys and I’m like ‘God I am just having a drink with my friends, I don’t care about this shit.’ I certainly was not looking for anyone. Certainly not wanting a boyfriend. It just so happened I met my husband that night.  And it was so random but I was such a vibrant person that day because I wasn’t caught up in what I didn’t have.” –  40-something, Brooklyn, NY

It is true that it happens when you’re not looking…when you stop thinking about  finding a man and find happiness. You are happy being yourself. I was happier going out surfing than going through the drama of trying to be with someone. That’s because you’re being an interesting person because you are not prowling around trying to meet people or talking about it. There is nothing more loathsome than talking about ‘I don’t have a boyfriend, I want to meet guys.’ – 40-something, Los Angeles and New York, NY

“Don’t worry about whether the phone will ring if it doesn’t there will be another boy. If you don’t need anyone else, you will be so much happier. Much stronger. And you will find someone who brings out your best and who you will bring out their best.” – 40-something, Manhattan, NY

Don’t go home if there are no hot guys at the bar. It’s better to dance with the girls than go home. The cute boys will show up eventually and will gravitate to the girls that are naturally engaged in living their life and having their own fun rather than waiting for someone else to make it fun.  I did a beach house with 12 girls one summer. We used to go out in a group and if there were no cute guys at the bar they would go home.  They said it wasn’t worth the alchohol calories if there were no cute buys. My roommate and I were shocked. Didn’t you go out to have fun…with your friends?  By the end of the summer we had met plenty of guys and ended up dating a few. In fact my roommate ended up married to a guy she met that summer and I ended up going to Costa Rico with a guy I met. We didn’t last but what a great experience to have fun and travel.40-something, Manhattan, NY

“Don’t go out with a large group for dinner if you want to meet men. I love organizing groups of friends for dinner and I used to make a reservation for a large group on Thursday or on the weekends at a fun restaurant. Then a friend told me that if you want to meet guys you shouldn’t do that. You are secluding yourself with just the people you know and it’s intimidating for anyone to approach you.  You should go with a smaller group to a place where you can eat at the bar. It’s still primarily about hanging out with your friends but at least there is the potential of meeting and engaging with other single people who can see you enjoying yourself. – 40-something, Manhattan, NY

“Stop looking for it. You have it. Stop looking around and let them come to you. Stop worrying about what is just around the corner and be yourself and the guys are going to come. Just go out and have fun with your friends. When I was in college some older guys told me this and it served me well. I was talking to some seniors at a party but I kept looking around at what else was going on and who was there. They  just told me to stop. I had it I didn’t need to shop it. ” – 40-something, Manhattan Beach, CA

“The biggest attraction is being yourself. If you don’t care what he thinks, then you are okay being yourself when you are around him. Then he can only fall in love with the real you.” – 40-something, Los Angeles, CA

Take advantage of a crowded bar. It’s a great place to strike up a conversation with a guy. Just say to the guy next to you, “wow, it’s really hard to get a drink here”. That should start the conversation.  Then make sure you get the bartenders attention before he does and offer to order for him as well. Whether he offers to buy you a drink or not, you will have a friend for the night at the place. And you can check out who he is with too. – 45, San Diego, California

“Always get to a bar or restaurant where you are meeting friends a little early. You can sit at the bar and get a sense of the palce. And you know you have the comfort that other people are meeting you, so you can be open to meeting the guy at the bar next to you who may be doing the same. – 40-something, New Jersey

“Look at every opportunity as an opportunity.  There are a million opportunities. I find myself engrossed in a world of men that I could meet. I could have certainly talked to 3 men on the subway today that were sitting near me. All you have to do is turn around and say. ‘do you know what time it is?’ and all of the sudden you’re in a conversation.  I was in a grocery store the other day and a guy asked me a question about the eggs. Now that I am older I realize that he was trying to talk to me. Before I would have been, ‘Ugh.  This man was trying to talk to me about eggs.’  All the times people have tried to talk to me here and there and I am not even registering it. I was oblivious.” – 40-something, Brooklyn, NY

So it seems the best advice is to not worry about being by yourself in a world of twos; BE YOURSELF in a world of twos.

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