What are you doing for New Year’s?”
It’s an innocent question, but for many people it can inspire mild panic. If you don’t have a good answer—that is, if you can’t report that you’re attending a glittery party with a live swing band or a cozy dinner where the hosts serve great wine and paella—it can be hard to say, “Uh, I dunno. Order a pizza?”
If you’re in a couple, it’s not too bad: “Oh we’re going to be soo boring. I’ll probably be asleep by ten–LOL!”
Singles don’t get to brag about how lame they are, which is why New Year’s Eve can often feel like a mandate, like prom night for grown-ups. Sure, you can say you have no interest, but it’s a tough sell.
This, of course, is usually why you’re asked about your plans in the first place. The questioners aren’t trying to gauge your popularity—they’re looking for ideas.
So you contemplate the following:
The Big Party. This is usually given by a friend of a friend’s coworker, and it involves holding your best friend’s hand as you weave through a crush of people, half-hour waits for the bathroom, minimal conversation due to the decibel level of the music, and guys in shiny shirts.
The Group Dinner. This usually comes via a high school or college friend, and there are many good things about it. You get to dress up and go to a nice restaurant that is decorated with black and white balloons. The Fixed Price menu is a little steep, but hey it’s New Year’s! The problem is, when the bill comes—and tax, tip, Justin’s third appletini and Ashley’s Lobster add-on are factored in—your share is roughly the equivalent of two weeks rent.
The Game Night. In theory this is fun, but for some reason the person who opens their home to friends and acquaintances to play Celebrity on Dec. 31 always lives about 45 minutes from your house. And invariably pairs you up with someone who can name only three U.S. presidents.
So if you want to stay in, I say stay in. Read a book. Go to bed at nine. Wake up bright and early on January first and treat yourself to an exercise class, a banana mango smoothie and a fresh start.
Or don’t. Here’s the one thing I have learned about New Year’s Eve. Whatever I do, however lame-seeming in the moment, I always remember it. In fact, the only way to screw up New Year’s is to spend it worrying that you should be doing something else.
Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her questions here.