On navigating New Year’s when you’re casually dating

There’s a middle ground that tends to get overlooked when New Year’s Eve rolls around. I see articles with suggestions or ads trying to either procure established couples to have dinner at their establishments and deals for singles parties. But what about when New Year’s is creeping up on you and you’re in one of those casual dating situations? Can you bring that person to your friend’s party? Should you ask if the two of you should make some dinner reservations on OpenTable? And do you want to?

There’s always so much pressure placed on having the most amazing time on New Year’s Eve. Who needs the additional stress of figuring out if your person is someone you want to spend that day with (or if you do, whether they feel the same about it)? This time of year in general puts a lot of expectations on new couples or casual daters as to how to define things or if they need to be defined. Does spending New Year’s together even necessarily mean that you’re getting serious? Absolutely not. Just because this holiday has been attached to so much romance doesn’t mean we all have to buy into it. Although it doesn’t help that it’s constantly touted as a time when so many couples get engaged. (Thanks jewelry commercials!)

One December almost my entire group of friends were in the beginning stages of dating new people. After sitting around one day talking and wondering if these guys would ask us to do something, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to do something together, just us. So we made plans to go out of town for the New Year’s weekend and have a few days of female bonding and hanging out without worrying about getting a kiss from guys we weren’t sure how we felt about yet anyway.

I realized that the problem of years past when either I or any of my friends were in this predicament, we thought we had to play it cool and let the person we were dating initiate the New Year’s Eve conversation. Because if we did, that would mean we were coming on too strong. And if they had made other plans or didn’t anticipate spending it with us, we would feel dumb about asking. Going away with my friends that year made me see how ridiculous that was. New Year’s is still just another day of the year. If you want to spend it with someone, just talk about it.

A few years ago I was spending my Thanksgiving weekend planning out weekends in December to see family and friends and I flat out asked the guy I was seeing if we would be spending New Year’s together. He said he hadn’t thought about it and he wasn’t sure. I was hurt by his response but I was so glad that I knew it a month in advance so I could make other plans. A week later he ended up calling me with a plan for New Year’s, complete with reservations and asked if I would spend it with him.

The point is that we don’t have to look at the day like it’s some signifying factor of where things will go romantically in the new year. If the day means something to you that’s great, but if it doesn’t, there’s no need to pretend it does. Don’t pile pressure on yourself to make sure you have someone to spend it with, or speed up a casual relationship that just happened to begin right before a holiday riddled month.

New Year’s Eve is one day and it’s not necessarily going to make or break what’s happening in your love life any more than January 1st or March 22nd. Spend it with whomever you want, the way you should spend any day of the year.

[Image via New Line Cinema]