You started dating someone new. It’s only been a few weeks, and you may or may not be exclusive. If you’re anxious about what to do or worried that you’ll ruin things, here are 5 tips to handle the newness of a date or relationship during the holidays.
1. Relax. Don’t put pressure on a new relationship. “What are we?” doesn’t have to be defined by date 4. This also means don’t read into things or take things personally. Assume face value of what your significant other says and does. There are a lot of opportunities that can potentially lead to hurt feelings. People are busy during the holidays so if your date isn’t as responsive or as available, there’s no need to freak out.
2. Give an appropriate gift. Since you haven’t known each other long, you can discuss an amount limit for gifts. Get a small but thoughtful gift–something that shows you’ve been paying attention on your dates. They say their favorite food is Nutella so you get them a couple of Costco-sized jars…. Or they love wine so you get an inexpensive bottle. Your gift should convey that you’re interested in them, not that you’re head over heels for them.
3. Keep expectations about social events in check. Whether it’s a house party or the office party, go if you’re invited, but don’t get hurt if you’re not. Maybe a plus one isn’t allowed for the company party, they want to focus on networking or don’t want to get asked by coworkers how your relationship is going given it’s so new. Also, tell your date if you need to do any actual networking during your company party and might need to leave him or her alone for a few minutes. Or if initiating conversations is difficult for you, ask for some introductions to people he knows well so that you have people to talk to.
4. Hold off on meeting the family. The holidays might not be the best time to introduce a new love interest to the entire family. Instead, meet a couple of weeks before the holidays and have dinner or drinks with one or two family members. You can also do something special as a couple, like a fancy holiday dinner for just the two of you.
5. Do what works for the both of you. Don’t compare yourself to friends or get hung up on what you think you “should” be doing. There’s no need to rush. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of the holidays, but it could set you for some unrealistic expectations.