As we prepare to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends, I hope you’ll remember those in your life who may find this holiday particularly difficult or depressing. Our recent podcast conversation with Jerry Weber reminded me that for those struggling with clinical depression or anxiety disorders, my happiest time of the year can be their most painful moment of the year. For single friends, this time of the year often brings loneliness and isolation. If you have a single family member or friend this year, you may want to read the following article from CatholicMatch.com and look for special ways to include them in your family celebration this year.
Christmas, New Year’s hardest times to be single, poll reveals
Catholics vote and vent about the woes of holiday singledom
PITTSBURGH – The most wonderful time of year is the loneliest time for singles, a telling new CatholicMatch poll reveals.
Nearly 3,000 members answered the question: “Which holiday do you find most difficult to be single?” Forty percent chose Christmas, while 32 percent said New Year’s Eve, 26 percent said Valentine’s Day and 2 percent said Thanksgiving.
The romantic scenes that play out in Christmas movies, commercials and songs – kissing couples, sparkling diamonds, happy endings – can painfully underscore the absence of a significant other, respondents said. “Is anyone familiar with that jewelry store Jared?” asked Monica-390419. “Their commercials are enough to make you gag. I recluse from Nov. 1 until Jan. 1, and then it’s safe to come out.”
Julio-512347 admitted, “In the past there have been occasions where I’ve just slept through it all and was glad it was over.”
A fire is less delightful with no one to hold tight or kiss goodnight, singles lamented. Even a beautiful Christmas Mass can be difficult, Katherine-489999 noted. “People kind of look at you as if to say, ‘So where is your guy or hubby?’ It makes me feel rotten.”
Attending holiday parties without a date is hard for many CatholicMatch members. “It’s like being alone in a crowd,” Donna-462418 explained. Others dread family gatherings, where uncles tease, aunts quiz and grandparents examine left hands. “You go to your families and see all your cousins and everyone engaged or newly married with newborns,” Daniel-228472 wrote. “It gets depressing year after year.”
But if Christmas induces the most pointed, prolonged sense of loneliness among singles, New Year’s Eve takes a close second. Respondents vented about the awkward midnight kiss and the lack of partnership entering into a new year. “Everyone is paired off and dressed up,” Denise-464246 wrote. “Sitting at home with my bottle of sparkling cider is boring – even if I put on my nice PJs.”
With more 22 million single Catholics in the country – a record number – it’s important for married friends and relatives to be sensitive during Christmas, CatholicMatch co-founder Brian Barcaro said. “It’s easy to breeze through the holidays and forget how something small – a certain song, the sight of mistletoe, a photo card – can nudge someone into a lonely bout.”
CatholicMatch polls like this one reflect the dynamic online community that sets the site apart. While members seek out their spouses, they also share trials and triumphs, insights and prayers. The site supports instant messaging and hosts three chat rooms and 38 forums, including St. Isidore’s Room (for techies), St. Joseph’s Room (for job hunters) and St. Vitus’ Room (for jokesters).
To view the full poll results: http://www.catholicmatch.com/polls/details.html?poll_id=2618