The Single Woman's Guide to Surviving Cuffing Season

by Michelle Y. Talbert and Maya T. Prabhu

The weather is getting colder. The holidays are approaching. In general, this is the time of year when people want to feel close to others—and this is especially true for romance. For some, this time of seemingly endless family and social gatherings is known simply as the winter holidays, but for the the rest of us, Cuffing Season has arrived. *Cue shrieks and horror movie music!*

This can be quite unbearable if you’re single, and intent on being single. When you visit with family members, they question why you haven't "found someone" or "settled down" yet. And our social media feeds are filled with photos of people boo'd up. While you're as happy for those who have found companionship as you are being on your own, the assumptions about your "singledom" can get real old, real quick.

Sisters, Maya and Michelle, born 12 years apart, are happily living their respective 30s and 40s single. Having experience arming themselves for the battle that is being a single woman during the winter months, they’ve compiled the following list to help you continue to remain blissfully single as you romp through the cold weather.

Avoid watching romantic comedies. 

As firm as you are in your desire to remain single, romantic comedies almost always have a way of tricking you into believing your soul mate is the guy who brushed his hand against yours while reaching for the tomatoes in the grocery store or the close guy friend you’ve had since high school. Movies are not reality. Do yourself a favor – and don’t do what Maya did – opt not to watch “Brown Sugar” twice in one Saturday. It may or may not have sent her to her idle Plenty of Fish account to see if any of those guys whose messages she’d previously ignored were worth a second look. (Spoiler alert: They weren't.)

Limit your time on social media. 

If you know that you’re one of those people who tends to feel jealous of the representations of relationships that your friends share on social media, think about cutting the amount of time you spend scrolling down your timeline. Trust, it never works out in your favorite. Case in point, an actual Facebook post from last December, courtesy of Timehop: “You know that time when you're interested in someone who’s in a relationship and try to wait it out until they break up...and then they got engaged? *sigh*” Social media stalking never ends well.

Stay active, stay busy.

The best way to keep yourself from rom-com marathons and Instagram stalking – which can send you down the “maybe I do want a boyfriend” rabbit hole – is to avoid boredom as much as possible. We love a lazy Saturday as much as the next person, but an idle mind is the devil’s playground, as they say. Spend time doing the things you've always loved or find new things to love. Pick up a book. Go for a bike ride. Start that novel. Hang out with your girls. Don't sit around the house and let yourself be tricked into thinking that being in a relationship will cure your boredom.

Have a “friend” on standby. 

Many of us have that one person we can call on those rare nights we do get lonely. Because let's be honest, it's cold outside and we'd all like to warm up. Call the guy from your past that you always have a good time with. Text that guy you’ve always wanted to hook up with. Or find someone completely new. But beware that this is always a tricky one. It’s all about managing expectations – on both sides – and being honest with yourself. If you’re not one of those girls who can have sex without getting emotionally invested, this probably isn't for you.

Stock up on batteries. 

If you’re not one of those lucky women who can separate sex and emotion, make sure that your B.O.B. (AKA battery-operated boyfriend) is ready to help you make it through the lonely nights. There are few things worse than getting ready to handle yourself and your trusty vibrator won’t power up.

Go somewhere tropical. 

Let’s face it, one of the biggest reasons Cuffing Season even exists is because it’s chilly outside and we’re not only less active, we’re indoors more to stay out of the cold. Taking a trip somewhere warm can accomplish two things: 1. Even if traveling alone in the dead of winter, the warm sun and fruity, alcohol-infused drinks will warm you up; and 2. Typically the local men are very appreciative of sister touristas (especially those of us of who curvy). And of course, the bonus is that after any vacation fling you may have, you get to leave!

Hang with your like-minded single girls. 

No, not the ones who really wish they were in a relationship and are only hanging with you to complain about being single or scan the room for eligible dudes. Hang out with your sister-friends who, like you, are happily single and enjoying life. There are so many fun activities during Cuffing Season, like special live shows and events that you can fully enjoy with others, without the specter of boyfriends past or future.

Be prepared with come backs.

Arm yourself with a few well thought-out responses to answer the inevitable and ubiquitous, “Why are you single?” But make sure that they’re your true reasons for wanting to be single. It’s unfortunate that women have to explain to people, as well-meaning as they may be, why we would make a choice to be single. A few of our personal favorites include, “I don't need to be in a relationship to be happy, I'm actually the happiest I've been in years.” “No, I really don't get lonely.” “I'm perfectly comfortable being by myself because I'm amazing.” And, Michelle’s fave, “Because I’ve been married twice and know what I’m NOT missing, thank you for your concern though. *Insert syrupy, kiss my grits smile*


That was a popular mantra a while back, and though we say it less now doesn’t mean that we should practice it less. We’ve chosen to be single for one or more reasons, and staying true to that decision and not bending to peer or seasonal pressure is the best thing that we can do for ourselves. So, use your B.O.B., take a trip, journal, build your business or your dream home. Just remember, like all seasons, Cuffing Season will pass. However your dedication to valuing YOU above all else will last your lifetime.

As a happy and deliberately single sister, how do you shield yourself from the barbs that fly during cuffing season?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Michelle Y. Talbert is a recovering corporate attorney turned relationship strategist and social media content producer. She’s NYC born and bred, but you can find her living and loving in Washington, DC. She produces and co-hosts the popular podcast, “They Met Online…” with her ex, who she met online (it’s not complicated at all!) Connect with Michelle on Twitter @MichelleTalbert and on LinkedIn.

Maya T. Prabhu is a Myrtle Beach, SC-based journalist, Spelman woman, Zumba instructor and sometimes bartender who was born in New York and calls the DC area home. You can find her on Twitter @TSN_MPrabhu.

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