HOW TO REDUCE HOLIDAY DATING STRESS

Great Expectations dating expert Robert Fisher offers these tips to help singles reduce the stress of holiday dating:

Stop, think and plan
Many professionals have an implementation calendar at work; they also need one for their personal lives as well. "Think in advance about the business, religious, community and neighborhood events that you'd like to attend, and start thinking now about which ones you'd like to bring a date to," says Fisher.

Take time for a "reconnaissance date"
An important office or family holiday function is the wrong place for a first date. Schedule a "reconnaissance date" before the event. Fisher notes that even if it's just a cup of coffee or lunch, a reconnaissance date gets the preliminary awkwardness out of the way and gets some chemistry going. This simple strategy can make all the difference before one is "on stage" in front of co-workers or family.

Hold your horses
It's natural to do some "what if" thinking when meeting someone new, but remember to pull in the reins. "Although there's no better time to arrive with the perfect partner, this is not the time to pin all of your hopes on meeting your dream mate," cautions Fisher.

Go easy on the spirits
Holiday party drinking stories are almost as much a part of the seasonal lore as are Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. "Go easy on the alcohol," warns Fisher. "Adrenaline from nervousness or jitters can amplify alcohol's effect. If you're going to drink at a holiday party with your date, a good rule of thumb is to cut in half the amount you'd normally consume in a given period of time."