We associate the fall season with all kinds of nostalgia: sweater weather, football season, the return of the PSL. But what about cuffing season? If this phrase is new to you, you’re not alone — but you’re going to want the backstory here, especially if you’re still actively searching for love. Cuffing season starts on November 1 and continues through Valentine’s Day. “It refers to the trend of many singles urgently looking for a relationship to get them through the winter months,” says Francesca Hogi, Match.com‘s cuffing season expert. “When you add the usual modern dating confusion on top of the pressure to ‘cuff’ — or lock down a relationship quickly — it can be an incredibly stressful time for singles.”
Recently, Match analyzed more than two decades’ worth of data to confirm numerically what we’ve long suspected to be true: The fall and winter months can prove challenging for the unattached among us, given the fact that colder temperatures tend to encourage people to hibernate. “They spend more time indoors with fewer distractions, so it’s a lot easier to feel lonely,” Hogi says. “Even the social activities during cuffing season are different. They tend to be smaller groups inside people’s homes. It feels different to pop by a BBQ on your own in August than to go to a sit-down dinner party in November. People feel more self-conscious about being single.”
Cuffing season can also be tough for singles because it overlaps with both the winter holidays and the oft-discussed post-Thanksgiving breakup season. At this time of year, there are many newly single people looking to date, and perhaps even more single people feeling frustrated that they’re facing another round of work holiday parties and family dinners without a partner to share them with. Valentine’s Day decorations and ads — which tend to start up right after New Year’s Day — simply add insult to injury.
Basically, there are tons of expectations around relationships between November and February, which is far from ideal for singles who are finding that the human tendency to stay indoors in the winter is making it more difficult to date, anyway. This is the perfect time, Hogi says, to seek love online — and Match data confirms it. The dating site expects January 7, 2018 to be their busiest day of the year. “The New Year’s hangover has worn off and Valentine’s Day looms large on the horizon,” Hogi explains.
Hogi has seven tips for singles anticipating cuffing season and wanting to do more than just survive it. If you’re unattached, consider these suggestions to help you thrive this winter — and maybe to find the right person even when the odds are stacked against you.
1. Make the first move. Whether you’re mingling online or IRL, now is not the time to sit back and wait for potential love interests to approach you. Put yourself out there!
2. Reconsider old flames. Was there someone on your horizon in the chaos of the summertime who kind of just fell off your radar or fizzled out? Maybe now is the time to send them a message and see how the relationship can fare in the quieter days of cuffing season.
3. Prioritize the people who prioritize you. “Winter is coming, and there’s no time for games,” Hogi says. “If you’re an option and not a priority, forget it.” Preach!
4. Hit your local sports bar. According to the cuffing season expert, sports bars are “prime cuffing material spots.” With football in full swing (and because nachos are never not delicious), tons of singles will be flooding these watering holes, which bring the warm-weather BBQ vibes inside.
5. Be honest about wanting a relationship. Attract others who are looking for solid relationships by being authentic about your own priorities.
6. Up your flirting game. Again, this is not the time to be shy. If you’re interested in someone, show it! Assuming our intel about cuffing season is true, other singles will be totally receptive to your flirting.
7. Enjoy yourself! “Tons of singles are looking for someone special [during cuffing season], so it will happen,” Hogi says. We sure hope so.
Hogi’s general advice to singles during cuffing season is this: “Focus on gratitude and connection. Even while you’re being intentional about meeting someone special, you can still focus on connecting with people for the sake of having more connection in your life. Not everyone is going to be right for you, but you’ll be in a better place mentally, emotionally, and energetically if you stay open.” Point taken!
What’s your experience with cuffing season? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)