10 Tips for Attending Holiday Parties Alone

Don’t skip that party just because you’re single!

This time of year the invitations to the myriad holiday parties start to roll in, complete with the RSVP that asks if you’re bringing a plus one. If you’re not, the invitation itself can put you on edge before the anxiety about fitting into your party clothes ever does. There’s no reason to stress about not having a date for the party, though. Going by yourself can be just as enjoyable as going with someone else and can even be better. Have you ever watched a couple get in an argument at a party? Or seen one spouse have far too many Kir Royales and completely embarrass the other? What about the spouse who simply refuses to go to the party and the other half ends up missing the party or going alone anyway? This is actually better than the one who decides to go to the party and proceeds to hit on everything that moves. Am I making a case for attending parties alone here? Following are 10 tips to help you navigate holiday parties on your own like a pro.

  1. Look great. This may sound shallow, but if you have on your favorite party outfit and your hair and makeup are just the way you want them, that’s one less thing to worry about. You’ll walk into the party with your head held high because you know you look fierce!
  2. Realize you’re not the only one experiencing stress. Everyone’s in the same boat during the holidays. We all experience stress or anxiety of some kind, whether it be about gift giving, family get-togethers, getting everything done, or even relationship strife. Yep, that’s right, you think couples are moving blissfully through the holidays because that’s how the media portrays it, but in reality they have their own issues to deal with. They just may be different from yours.
  3. Be grateful to be alone. What? Just go with me on this. Yes, you may have to walk through that door all by yourself into a sea of couples, but at least you’re not babysitting someone. I had a friend who didn’t want to attend her company party by herself. She was going to try to scrounge up a date and I asked if she wanted to enjoy the party or not? When you bring someone else to a party, you spend the whole time introducing them around, making sure they’re having a good time, being at the whim of whether or not they want to leave, and maybe even making conversation for them if they’re not the personable type. Is that how you want to spend your evening? You may even end up worrying that they’ll embarrass you in some way or let out the fact that you think your boss is a moron. Better to go alone and enjoy yourself than feel like you’re towing an anchor. P.S. My friend chose to attend the party alone and she had a great time!
  4. Remember that you’re all individuals. Sure, some of the other individuals there happen to be attending with another individual, but they’re not literally joined at the hip and you’re all independent people. Treat everyone there as a friend or potential friend, independent of their significant other. This will reinforce that you’re no different from anyone else.
  5. Deflect the conversation away from your love life. We all dread the why-are-you-still-single questions and the probing into our private personal lives. Don’t engage! When someone asks you a question about your love life, change the subject. If you can’t think of anything to say, politely excuse yourself to the restroom or to get another glass of champagne. You’re not required to talk about your love life, so don’t. If you just can’t make an exit, either verbally or physically, arm yourself in advance with a few things to say. You can find some excellent responses here.
  6. Talk about what you DO have. No, you don’t have a relationship. Yes, you’re still single. Who cares? It’s time to talk about that great new promotion you were able to accept because you have the time to devote to work. Or that upcoming trip you’re taking because you’re not tied down. Head into the party with a mental list of all the good things going on in your life that you’d love to let others know about. See how quickly the conversation shifts from how lonely you must be to what an amazing life you have.
  7. Think about those around you who are envying your freedom. We singles always think that we’re the ones envying couples, but we never seem to see it the other way around. If you’re envying what they have that you don’t, don’t you think they’re envying what you have that they don’t? Of course they are! You’re no better than anyone else, but you’re no worse, either. Remember that!
  8. Avoid people who will push your buttons. You know that one friend who just has to lord it over you that she’s married and you’re not? Anyone who’s doing that has serious insecurity issues and is to be avoided if you want your nerves to remain intact. There will be plenty of other people there who don’t do that to you and you can spend your time focusing on them instead.
  9. Sit back and enjoy the party. It’s wonderful to just be a guest, isn’t it? You get to enjoy the party and have none of the stress of it. And since you’re single, you likely won’t be expected to reciprocate with a party of your own. You certainly can, of course, and I encourage you to do that if you want to, but single people are rarely called on to entertain. Enjoy that freedom of choice!
  10. Have another party to go to afterward. Or just say that you do. It’s okay, really, if you just need to get out of there. This is how you can not only make your exit if you’re dying to leave, but also look like the on-the-go savvy singleton that you are. You could even make plans to meet up with a friend for a drink or something. Or maybe your party is a party of one on your sofa with the remote and a plate of Christmas cookies. Whatever works!

Yes, holiday parties can be minefields for the solo party guest, but they don’t have to be. Remembering that you’re not so different from everyone else and that everyone has their own struggles will go a long way. Knowing that you’re not required to talk about anything you don’t want to talk about will add an air of confidence to your conversations. Realizing that it’s a PARTY and not an inquisition will have you relaxing and enjoying yourself. Armed with the tips above, and a little advance planning, you’ll be partying with the best of them. Happy Holidays!

Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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