Thanksgiving

Single Survivor Guide for Thanksgiving

Oh, Thanksgiving. The annual Fall feast of gratitude and gravy is right around the corner. As a kid, it used to be one of my favorite holidays—a long weekend off of school, watching football with my uncles, and the smell of mom’s warm pecan pie filling the kitchen air. 

Nowadays, however, this time of year can be a bit tricky, especially for singles. If you’re a perpetual Thanksgiving loner, this season can be downright depressing.

Find yourself dreading showing up dateless to this year’s festivities? Check out my four favorite tips for surviving this Thanksgiving as a singleton.

Prepare your answer: “Are You Seeing Anyone?”

If you’ve been alone for a hot minute, maybe you’ve experienced that brief moment of despair while looking into the mirror and thought to yourself: “Why am I still single?” 

Trust me, we’ve all been there. It’s hard wondering why you still haven’t found The One, but absolutely nothing compares to the searing sting that’s felt when someone else says it to you—especially a family member. 

So, how can you deal with those well-intentioned, yet, annoying questions and remarks you’re bound to hear from your family? Unfortunately, the answer is NOT to hit your great-aunt Bertha over the head with a Turkey wing. 

Before crafting the perfect response, it’s important to remember that your nosey loved ones probably mean well. 

Take their prying as thickly-veiled compliments, as they couldn’t imagine why someone as young, attractive, and fun as you could continue going solo. After all, they just want the best for you. 

It’s also entirely possible that their questions are just a way for them to stir up some small talk, trying to catch up with your life—“How’s work? Seen any good movies lately? Oh, by the way, where’s your date?”

No matter the motivation, questions about your love life are… uncomfortable, to say the least—especially if they’re always asked by the same few people or delivered in the form of some kind of recurring joke. 

Let your family know that, despite being single, you’re not depressed. In fact, you’re happy! If they sense that you’re enjoying life, they might slow down a bit with their concerned comments, allowing you to redirect the conversation towards more interesting aspects of your life. 

To show off your confidence, you can say:

“I’m having such a blast on my own right now. Did you hear about my last-minute trip to Mexico?”

“Maybe someday I’ll meet someone, but right now I’m rocking the single life!”

Feeling snarky? Here’s a few responses that turn the tables around and put that pesky prober in their place: 

“Yeah, I'm still single! I’m just not willing to settle like most people do.”

“Hmm. I’ve never thought about it, actually. Why did you get married?”

Host a Friendsgiving

The idea of confronting your rude relatives is still too much to handle? Maybe it’s time to skip the family feast and apt for a Friendsgiving instead. 

Whether it’s to flee from the family theatrics, or to enjoy a sense of community while far from home, this holiday alternative is a favorite for singles still in the mood to celebrate. 

Modern life has pulled millennials in all sorts of directions, and oftentimes, that means living alone and far from home. However, being a family-of-one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some family-style fun. 

Many singles find that their friends offer just as much comfort and support as their relatives, if not more. Hosting a Friendsgiving is a perfect opportunity to show your closest circle just how much they mean to you. 

Whether you’re an experienced entertainer or first-time friendsgiver, it’s best to plan ahead. Let your pals know ASAP so they can carve out the time for turkey. When it comes to decor, keep it simple. If you’re in the mood to splurge, focus on the food. 

Feel free to pick a culinary theme that’s totally untraditional (this is Friendsgiving, after all. Anything goes). Yet, keep in mind your guests’ preferences. All your friends are health nuts? Try plant-based versions of the holiday’s staple plates. Are they world-traveling, Insta-influencers? Prepare foods from around the globe and ask your friends to guess their origins. Those who choose correctly get to take home a goody bag of treats! 

While cooking can be a fun part of the evening’s preparation, it’s also a lot of work. No one will judge you if you opt for take-out, instead. This is a holiday for you, too. So, make sure you enjoy it. Friendsgiving can be just as fun by ordering in some Uber-Eats and watching reruns of The Office with your besties. 

Plan a Special Activity

If you’re new to a city or, for some other reason, find yourself single and alone on Thanksgiving—don’t worry. There are still tons of ways to make the fourth Thursday of the month worth remembering.  

Most people get the holiday off work so, I’ve got to ask: wanna get outta here? Whether a quick jet-set to Europe or exploring a neighboring town, a long weekend is just enough time to get your Eat, Pray, Love on. It might sound crazy, but why not? Traveling solo can be even more rewarding than going with friends. Plus, you never know what kind of cool and interesting people you might meet.

If traveling isn’t possible or just not your thing, why not sign up for a Turkey Trot? Most major cities host annual Thanksgiving runs with varying distances from 5k, 10k, and sometimes marathons. 

If you’re like me, Thanksgiving is synonymous with lounging on the couch in a cranberry sauce-stained sweater while watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV—basically the antithesis of any sort of physical exertion. However, getting your buns out of bed early Thursday morning and heading off to the races might be just what the doctor ordered. 

A bit of exercise and fresh air can be even better for the soul than Grandma’s special stuffing. Even if you’re not athletically inclined, there is something undeniably wonderful about being part of a large group of people that are all running together towards a common goal. Talk about a sense of community!

For extra feel-goodness, try to find a race that supports a good cause, like Run to Feed the Hungry, for example, which raises funds and awareness about hunger in the community. With this marked on your calendar, you’ll look forward to the holiday with excitement, knowing that you’re doing something great for both yourself and others.

If beating the holiday blues with a runner’s high is simply not your thing, volunteering at a local charity center is an excellent way to spend the special day. 

Studies show that volunteer work is great for combating depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. There’s nothing like doing something special for others to put your own life in perspective. Research some local volunteer opportunities where you can donate your time or money for a good cause. By focusing on doing small acts of kindness, you will feel the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Focus on the Positive

If you’re feeling lonely this Thanksgiving, remember: you’re not alone. The holidays can be hard, especially if you’re going through them without a partner by your side. At its core, Thanksgiving is about expressing our gratitude for the good in life and for those that we love the most. By focusing on the positive, you can do more than survive this Thanksgiving--you can enjoy it, too. 

At The Setup, we want to help you through all the challenges of single life. But, if you’re serious about finding that special someone, these tips are just a temporary fix. 

Ready for this Thanksgiving to be the last holiday you’ll attend alone? ‘Tis the season to make a change. To meet your special someone by Christmas, sign up today!


Couple sitting on a rock overlooking a beautiful beach

Your First Trip as a Couple

Your first trip as a couple should be full of shared experiences and romantic moments. But it’s also typically filled with stress, excitement, and nervous energy, especially with all the COVID travel restrictions.

Experiencing new things together—places, food, art, culture, architecture, music—all of these things cause your brain to release all the happy hormones.

We all envision a romantic holiday with majestic sunrises and moonlit love-making, but when our expectations are too high, it leads to certain disappointment. Everyone has heard horror stories of the couple who fought their way across Europe or broke up on practically every island in the Caribbean.

So, how do you keep your dream vaca from becoming a nightmare?

It's Okay to be Different

Discuss what you both want to get out of your first trip as a couple. Do you want to rest and recharge or book a bunch of excursions? Maybe you’re dying to try bungee jumping but your partner has a fear of heights.

It’s okay to schedule separate activities and then come back together. You don’t have to share all the same likes and interests just because you’re in a relationship.

You’re a couple, not clones. Compromise where you can, and set aside alone time where you can’t.

  • Planner or Wanderer
  • Sleep Late or See the Sights
  • Couples Massage or Mountain Climbing
  • City or Country
  • Museums or Amusement Parks

How will you communicate with each other when you want different things? If you work out these challenges before packing your bags, your first trip as a couple will go much smoother. 

Your First Trip as a Couple is a Learning Experience

Whether it’s a staycation, or complete getaway, you can learn a lot about your partner and how you work as a team during your first trip as a couple.

When researching and preparing for this blog I read an article that said traveling together gives you a glimpse into what it would be like to live with the other person. This can be true to an extent, but I caution you to use this as your main frame of reference.

Personally, I’m a neat freak, except when I’m on vacation. I’m practically a different person. It’s not uncommon for people to modify their behavior when they’re outside of their daily routine. This is when people try new things, eat bizarre foods, and drink a little too much. And some of us just so happen to have suitcases that explode throughout the room. Sue me.

This is a great time to see how your partner deals with feeling anxious or out of control.

  • How do they deal when things don’t go according to plan?
  • What happens when you miss a flight or the airline loses your luggage?
  • How do they treat locals, airline personnel, hotel staff, etc.?
  • Do they get hangry and jet-lagged?
  • What about language barriers?
  • Are they unmoving and or flexible and patient?

You can also learn things like what their routine looks like; are they a morning or night person? How long do they take to get ready? Do you agree on the temperature in the room? Sure it sounds stupid, but ask any couple who has been married for decades and they’ll tell you the small things add up!


Couple Reads #DatingDictionary Next to Fountain

The Setup’s #DatingDictionary

#DatingDictionary

Dating has gone through a complete evolutionary renaissance in the last few decades, and with it comes an entire new #DatingDictionary. Even Webster adds new words every year!

I like to call it the Glossary of Ghosting.

Breadcrumbing

We’ve all been there. You’re really into someone new and they seem to like you too. Or is that just your imagination convincing you there’s a chance because you want it so badly?

They put a fraction of the effort in that you do. You’re always the one to call or initiate plans. If you’re honest with yourself, they flake on you pretty frequently.

But just when you feel completely fed up and decide you’re ready to move on, they drop little bread crumbs of affection to reel you back in. If you step back and examine things objectively, you’ll realize that you’re getting bottom of the barrel crumbs when you deserve so much more than that.

Catfishing

Catfishing is when someone falsifies their identity online and enters into a romantic relationship under fraudulent pretenses.

It’s a very broad term that can cover everything from completely fake online personas, to overly edited pictures. Although, sometimes lighter cases are referred to as Kittenfishing.

The bottom line is, be true to yourself and authentic both online and off.

Cuffing Season

Cuffing season begins toward the end of summer and lasts typically through Valentine’s Day. Cuffing someone means to lock them down in a relationship.

So cuffing season refers to the time of year when the party dies down and the weather cools off. It puts people in the mood to couple up and snuggle in for the winter, and guarantees a plus one for all Holiday activities. 

Cushioning

This is when someone entertains the idea of dating other people while they’re in a relationship.

People often do this when they’re considering a break-up. They download the apps just to see what’s out there, or they flirt with a co-worker to find out if the grass is greener.

DTR

DTR stands for Define the Relationship.

This is that sweet spot after you’ve been talking to the same person for a while and you’re ready to figure out if there’s a future. Does this person want to date exclusively, or are they condemning you to a situationship?

Ghosting

Ghosting is the sudden, unexpected cease of all communication from one party within a relationship

“He bailed on our plans last weekend and hasn’t texted me back in days. I think I’m being ghosted.”

Hatfishing

A lot of men reading this are probably guilty of hatfishing. It’s okay, this is a safe space. Hatfishing is when you use hats to hide your hair (or lack thereof) because of insecurities. 

I can’t tell you how many dating profiles I’ve seen in which every single photo, the man is wearing a hat. Women want to see the real you, don’t hide under a cap.

And remember, bald is beautiful.

Haunting

Haunting occurs when a ghost from your past suddenly reappears with no explanation for their disappearance

Abby disappeared on Ryan last summer after they had been seeing each other pretty steadily. Hee just stopped texting her with no explanation. Today, out of nowhere he texted and said, “Hey stranger! I finally watched that movie you were telling me about, you were right!”

Ryan has returned from the dead. 

NSA

NSA stands for No Strings Attached, also known as friends with benefits. 

This is a sexual relationship without a romantic commitment. These terms are often used on dating apps by people who are involved in both ethically and unethically open relationships. 

Orbiting

This is something that ghosts do. After they’ve disappeared, they start engaging with you on social media. They orbit your digital life to stay on your radar, but never commit to much more than that. It could be anything from liking your latest post, to sending DMs even though they left you on read and never called you back.

Polyamory

Also known as Non-Monogamy, Open Relationships, or Swinging, couples who engage in polyamory have romantic and/or sexual relationships with additional partners. 

This type of relationship is not considered cheating, as all parties involved are aware of and consent to the sharing of partners.

Roster

I’ve also heard this called a lineup or benching. Others refer to it as going back to the Well. Whatever you call it, this is when you like someone enough to keep seeing them, but you have no plans to ever take the relationship to the next level.

This is someone you just want to have fun with. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re open and honest about your expectations. 

Situationship

Do you have a friend you call whenever you’re super single and need a plus one for an event?

Maybe you kissed once on Midnight at a New Years Eve party after a few too many glasses of champagne, but you never really defined the relationship. Nevertheless you’ve remained in each other’s circles and the chemistry never falters when you’re together.

Congratulations, you’re in a situationship!

This word can really describe any romantic couple that hasn’t defined the relationship. They never use words like girlfriend or future. They have formed a casual connection that feels comfortable and fits their situation. 

Stashing

Jason and Kylie have been talking for several months now, and they go out on a date most Friday nights. The weird thing is, Kylie’s never met any of Jason’s friends, family, or co-workers. They never stay out late, because Jason goes to his nephew’s soccer game and the whole family goes out to brunch every Saturday morning, but Kylie’s never been invited. 

Jason is stashing Kylie away and hiding his real life from her. There are a myriad of reasons for doing this and not all of them are nefarious, but don’t you deserve better? 

Talking

Every generation has their own vernacular from going steady to hanging out. When you say you’re talking to someone it’s just another way of saying you’re dating, but you haven’t defined the relationship yet. 

Thirst Trap

This is when you post a really sexy photo of yourself online in the hopes of catching the attention of your crush.


Couple with Sparklers on NYE - Reflect on Your Life

Reflect on Your Life Cause the Roaring 20s are Here

We don’t often take time out of our daily lives to really dig deep and self assessment. So, that’s exactly what I want you to do today. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and reflect on your life. Think about your life, decisions, relationships, triumphs and trials. 

What lessons have helped shape you as a person? What is most important to you as we move through the roaring 20s? What do you hope to achieve? What sort of plans can you implement right now to start moving the needle in that direction? Do you have a bad habit you need to ditch? Do you want to find your life partner?

Now, the good news is you can start manifesting these things and making bold changes to achieve your dreams right now. 

Reflect on Your Life

Change doesn’t come easily. In fact, it often goes against our very nature, but it’s a necessary part of life. After you reflect on your life thus far, it will be easier to make concrete plans for a better future. 

What needs to fundamentally change for you to make room for love in your life? Maybe there’s an ex you need to let go of, or a heartbreak you haven’t fully healed from. Are your deal-breakers getting in the way of your happiness? Perhaps, the last decade just beat you down a few too many times.

The Pandemic has certainly been a worldwide wake up call. Life is short. Now is the time to be brave, bold, and confident enough to take those first steps. Your matchmaker can help you nurture the positives in your life and create a solid foundation for you to find love.

Make the Years Matter

Step outside your comfort zone and make this year worthwhile. We only have so many trips around the sun, don’t you want to spend them living your dreams? 

Do you have your eye on someone new? Is there a coworker you want to get to know better? Valentine’s Day is almost here; gather the courage to send them a card or small gift

If you’re in the early stages of a new relationship. You don’t want to overwhelm your partner by going all out before they’re ready. Open a dialogue, ask them what they think of the holiday and what sort of expectations they have surrounding it. Share your feelings as well, you’ll avoid a lot of awkwardness and embarrassment this way.

If you’re single, gather your single friends and go do a fun activity like a mixology class. Host a murder mystery party or trivia night. Try to avoid places where couples are going to be in full PDA mode. If you send yourself flowers to work, the last thing your self-esteem needs is to witness a proposal occur at the next table over.

Stay in and spoil yourself with your favorite take out and a nice bottle of wine. Treat yourself to a spa day. Self-care is your first line of defense

Many of our single clients report feeling excessive loneliness when they don’t have someone to share Valentine’s Day with. But, I have an insider tip to bring you a bit of peace and solace.

You’re not alone; a lot of people who are in happy, healthy, long-term relationships also hate Valentine’s Day.

Often, this happens because one party desperately wants to celebrate it, but the other party perceives it as a frivolous holiday. This leads to conflict and disappointment. 

Instead, shower your partner with love and affection regularly, not just when you feel a sense of obligation.

Whether you’re happily loved-up, completely alone, or exploring a budding relationship, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. No matter how you choose to spend it. Afterward, reflect on your life and make a plan for how you hope to spend the next one.