The weather is cold, the blankets are cosy and the movie nights are inevitable, which can only mean one thing: it’s officially ‘cuffing season’.
Even if you’ve never heard of the phrase, chances are you’ll be all too familiar with its concept. While summer is often associated with going out, living wild and free and having fun flings, winter is often presented as the time to hole up at home with a hot chocolate, a pack of biscuits and a partner.
Obviously, this is easier said than done if you happen to be single around Christmas time, and so ‘cuffing season’ was born – the season when, theoretically, single people set out to find someone to share the cosy nights in with.
I shouldn’t need to tell you that you don’t need a significant other to have a comfy night in – in fact, you’d probably be even more comfortable without having to think twice about what you look like wearing Christmas pyjamas and stuffing your face with a chocolate orange or two.
However, in a bid to share the experience with someone and avoid being alone, as many as 45% of single people would be willing to settle for someone they’re not 100% sure of, according to research by the dating app Badoo.
This may be due to the ‘expectations’ that come with the long, dark nights, with more than 52% of single people feeling pressure to date more during cuffing season despite less than a third (31%) of respondents actually wanting to ‘settle down’.
Gen Z appears to be among the most affected by this pressure, with 77% feeling pressured to date despite only 25% looking to settle down.
The willingness to settle down was found to come from a variety of sources, with 47% of single people saying they felt pressure from friends and family to enter a relationship and 44% admitting they don’t want to be single come Valentine’s Day, as well as 46% who don’t like being single over Christmas, and 44% being influenced by friends coupling up.
The mere existence of ‘cuffing season’ proved pressure enough for 36% of people, who wouldn’t be bothered about finding a relationship over the winter months otherwise.
With 75% of singles saying they’d rather keep dating as normal over winter, rather than trying to force a relationship for the sake of it, Badoo coined the trend ’nuffing season’ to try and take away the pressure.
Natasha Briefel, Brand Marketing Director at Badoo, explained:
Ultimately, we believe you should be honest with how you feel and what you’re looking for in a potential partner. Cuffing season can be problematic because, as our findings reveal, single people feel immense pressure to get into a relationship, and are even willing to settle as a result.
This winter, we’re encouraging singles to embrace ‘nuffing season’ instead – if you’re feeling the pressure, take a step back and remember that dating should be about enjoying yourself, the journey and seeing where things naturally go, without the added weight of feeling like you have to find a more serious relationship! After all, this isn’t a natural way to date; what’s important above all is to go about your dating life as you truly want and ignore any pressure that surrounds you.
If you’re feeling pressure to enter into a relationship just for a bit of extra body heat this winter, Briefel advises trying to be ‘honest about what you want’, ‘focus on building genuine connections’ and to ‘prioritise yourself’.
If you’re not on the hunt for something serious, I’d advise investing in a hot water bottle and some fluffy socks, and leaving the head-over-heels whirlwind romances to the Christmas rom-coms.
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