Holiday season is in full swing and with that comes the office and family holiday parties, and all the
obligations that come with them when you’re in a relationship. Taking a moment to review the
top 5 things couples usually think about before a holiday party, and consider these simple changes,
won’t just ensure you have a great time at the party, but will strengthen your relationship, too!
It’s not about what you’re wearing…
If you’re preoccupied with projecting the perfect image, it might be a good time to ask yourself
what this is really about. Are you feeling more like an accessory than a partner? Is this about
your self-acceptance? Here lies an opportunity to explore old wounds from a previous relationship
or as far back as your childhood, and to challenge those fears… as a team!
Instead of asking what to wear: Tell them you want to look beautiful in their eyes, and remind
them how great they look. There’s nothing wrong with checking in about the dress code, too. It’s an
easy way to get a reality check and manage anticipatory anxiety on both sides.
It’s not about what gift you’re bringing…
Do you feel you have to bring the most expensive or thoughtful gift in order to be accepted, liked,
or loved? Your partner likes you just as you are. Of course it’s lovely to bring an expression of
gratitude for the host, but it’s not as important to them as the present of your presence.
Instead of asking what to bring: Take a moment with your partner to explore any unspoken
expectations or insecurities about whoever will be at the party. Tell your partner if you’re feeling
insecure so they can have your back. Is there a secret signal the two of you can have in case one
of you gets trapped by an annoying over yakker? This can help to create a deeper bond between
the two of you.
It’s not about knowing everyone’s name…
You want to be the best possible partner, and sometimes that means remembering who worked
together on the major project this year, or that the boss is a whiskey aficionado. But you aren’t
expected to know the ins and outs of the office the way you would if you were actually in the office
Instead of asking for a list of names: Ask your spouse what they think is important for you
to know about who’s who at the party, and whether they expect to make the rounds around the
room together or would rather you find a spouse to align yourself with for some of the night. Be
sure to truly listen to their answer, and talk it through together.
It’s not about how much you drink or flirt…
Open bars and mistletoe can loosen boundaries for some. Even if you have nothing to worry about
with your own partner, past experiences or new situations can make for tension around this topic.
Instead of asking your partner how many drinks they’re planning on having: Which
can come across as controlling: Look at this as an opportunity to learn more about your partner.
Ask them about previous issues. Do you need my support? This could be an opportunity to have
what we shrinks call a “corrective emotional experience” rather than pay the price for those that
It’s not about what time you leave…
Talking through expectations for the evening can help to avoid any miscommunication or
disappointments, and ensure that you have an enjoyable evening together.
Instead of asking your partner how long you have to stay: No matter how long you stay,
make sure to do something together at the end of the night, whether it means making sure to toast
each other with your last drink, or snuggle up with a cup of tea before you hit the sack.
Copyright-Tara Fields, Ph.D., L.M.F.T, Psychotherapist, Author, Relationship Expert
Tara Fields, Author of The Love Fix:Repair and Restore Your Relationship Now