The 5 Cardinal Rules of Attending Holiday Parties Post-Breakup

Tips for Surviving Holiday Parties After You’ve Just Broken Up with Someone

It can feel as if there’s no crueler time to go through a breakup than smack in the middle of the holiday social swirl. Invites can be counted on to stack up, and compared to other shindigs, these are usually the ones you can’t really say no to: the family get-together, your best friend’s annual extravaganza, and, of course, the office party. So, how to get through them with a modicum of grace and an exterior that doesn’t betray the fact that inside you’re rather torn-up? No matter the type of holiday party you’re facing, there are a few cardinal rules to make it a successful outing.

1. Get guest list intel. The skill of elegantly sussing out who else has RSVPed differs based on which party we’re talking. Your core goal is to prepare yourself for anyone who you’d rather not be totally surprised with (like an ex or particularly nosy cousin). Conversely, ask a friend that’s hosting whether any singles are coming who’d be fun for some harmless flirting over cocktails. When you’re already feeling delicate about a relationship, the last thing you want is to spend time chatting up a handsome stranger only to have him slip a girlfriend mention into conversation 15 minutes later. 

2. Don’t wear anything new. It’s tempting, but avoid the urge to shop for a new dress or top. A good outfit can have a positively magical impact, but there’s also an unknown factor involved when wearing something for the first time. Instead of heading out in something that you might wind up tugging, pulling, or otherwise inwardly cursing at, grab something you love that always makes you feel like the best version of yourself.

3. Avoid uncomfortable shoes. This one’s a no-brainer for most of the reasons above, but there’s an even bigger problem if you realize your feet are aching 10 minutes after arriving. You’re more likely to sink onto the nearest couch or chair in eyesight. You’ll be comfy, but also more likely to appear unapproachable and guarded. Neither are ideal party guest behavior, but it’s especially important to avoid if you’re dealing with a post-breakup urge to sit alone and monitor any potential activity on your phone, about which…

4. Ditch your phone. One of the classic signs of someone reeling through a fresh breakup is an overreliance on the cell phone. Whatever the reason that has you constantly checking (did they call? text? post an obnoxious photo to Instagram?), you must stop. It’s vital for your sanity, but also important for making the most of your party experience. Obsessively scanning your social feed won’t invite fresh conversation IRL, and, beyond that, if you stumble on something that results in you getting emotional, the chance of tears is too great. Party fail.

5. Have a serious talk with yourself. We’re not suggesting you will yourself into Pollyanna mode, but just check in. You’re allowed to be sad (even super sad), but you will not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to talk about your ex or the situations surrounding your breakup. It won’t improve your mood, and it certainly won’t get the party going. Give yourself a deadline (“If I’m still not having any fun after an hour, I’ll leave”), but don’t waver on drawing a hard line at bringing up the breakup.