A Complete Survival Guide For Being Single At Thanksgiving  

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be absolutely hounded for your dating status. I haven’t been this stressed about being single since I first had to make a Facebook profile and click the “single” box. Unfortunately, attending Thanksgiving without someone on your arm (or lugging boxes of pie behind you) is the equivalent of wearing a Scarlet A.

But it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!!! While I’m not against cuffing for the season, I also think this can be a wonderful time of year to be single. And a single Thanksgiving celebration shouldn’t deter you from that. You can make it through this weekend and then return to your normal routine of treating Tinder like a confidence boost and ghosting people as soon as they ask you a personal question. 

As much as us singles dread this moment, it almost feels like all the taken members of the family look forward to it, and actively prepare a strategy. So, let’s do the same and dive into a complete survival guide for being single at Thanksgiving.

Consider Your OptionsJess hugging a turkey for Thanksgiving in "New Girl" episode.

I have no doubt that you have plenty of options for the holiday season. So first things first, do you HAVE to go to your family for Thanksgiving? Or let me rephrase that, do you even WANT to go there?

If you’re super keen on spending the holidays with them, but just looking for some extra tips, you do you, girlie! Skip ahead then. Or if you’re in a very specific situation that requires you to be there, then all for it. My point is simply that it shouldn’t be a given, and you can also look at alternative options. 

If your sibling is in a committed relationship, it’s normal for them to skip Thanksgiving with the fam to go to their partner’s family, and legit no one bats an eye. So why are you assumed to always be there just because you’re single? That’s delulu

You have as much right to pick other plans as someone who is cuffed up. Whether that’s Friendsgiving, tag along to someone else’s family, or just chill with your dog for the day, go for it! You’re an adult — even though you don’t know how the stock market works and constantly feel like you’re accidentally committing tax fraud — so be an adult and pick where you want to be. 

And if needed, just lie and say you can’t travel or work is “crazy right now.” (If you’re reading this, Mom, I swear work actually is so busy, I can’t leave the office right now). Because if your family is going to make you feel like crap for being single, don’t put yourself in that situation. 

Set Boundaries, Baby Girl!Jess dressed up as a turkey for Thanksgiving play.

If you do decide to see your family for Thanksgiving, it’s time to set some boundaries. We all love boundaries, but honestly the hardest place to set them is with our family. Something about being around them reverts us to our 16-year-old selves, slamming doors and screaming that “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME!!!!” (In my defense, they didn’t, I was hella mentally ill.) 

It doesn’t have to be a BIG DEAL. It can be super casual. If the topic of your single status comes up, you can be like “Hey, I’d rather discuss something else,” or “I’m choosing to be single right now, and I don’t feel the need to defend it.”

Or take the shy girl route and just switch the subject immediately. Feel free to throw someone else under the bus, like “Did you hear Uncle Ron picketed at an abortion clinic?” Or, “Not to start drama, but Cousin Kelly can’t expect us all to fork out flights for her destination wedding. She’s not even having an open bar!” 

Your single status can be an off-limits topic. Put it in the same pile as political opinions. Set your limit and if they don’t respect it, physically remove yourself for a moment by going to the bathroom to watch TikToks and snoop through their cabinets.

The Game Plan

"Tonight I used a bread roll to wipe butter off my face and then I ate it."

STEP ONE: Consider your placement at the table very carefully. Avoid any older female relatives and instead gravitate toward that uncle who couldn’t care less about your dating life. Not the creepy one, the other one who doesn’t remember your name half the time. 

STEP TWO: Any time someone tries to throw a question your way, pretend you can’t hear them or that it was intended for someone else. Or ask for more of a certain food, that will definitely distract your mom, and you can enjoy comments about your eating habits instead!! A sacrifice that must be made.

STEP THREE: The real hurdle of being single at any Thanksgiving is when everyone says what they’re grateful for*. This is essentially an opportunity for everyone to show off about not being single. So make it a fun drinking game and sip every time someone mentions their partner. Time will fly by and you’ll be tipsy enough to enjoy Aunt Susan’s dry yams. 

*Hot tip: Avoid saying you’re grateful for anything work or pet related, as they’ll instantly give you the pity gaze — you know the one. Instead, pick something very sentimental and serene. Like that you’re grateful for Mother Earth, all the new places you’ve explored this year, family, women’s ability to have multiple orgasms, the beautiful fall we’re having, etc.

STEP FOUR: The biggest risk for comments on your dating life happens after everyone’s been steadily drinking. The solution is to bring out a game, like Pictionary, charades or Head’s Up. It will certainly end in everyone screaming at each other and potentially smashed-up furniture, but at least you won’t have to defend your decision not to date right now and/or discuss the viability of your eggs.

TL;DR: Get in, eat as much as possible, get out. It couldn’t be simpler than that.

Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman, a European-based copywriter. She’s interesting (cause she’s from Europe), speaks multiple languages (again, she's from Europe), and is mentally unhinged (despite socialized healthcare). You can find her European musings on Twitter @ByFleurine and her blog, Symptoms of Living, both of which are written to the sounds of unhinged Taylor Swift playlists.