'Snow-faking' the new out for singles
Relationship experts have coined it "snow-faking".
Apparently it's what Bridget Jones was contemplating upon realising her one great love was destined to be a bottle of wine and that she'd die fat and alone and be found three weeks later half eaten by wild dogs.
Or that she was about to turn into Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
Minus the melodrama though, the phrase is being used to describe the act of pretending to have a romantic interest to avoid being interrogated about one's love life by nosy relatives and acquaintances over Christmas.
According to a survey of more than 2000 Australian adults commissioned by dating platform eharmony, one in five singles are at least considering the ploy.
It seems the festive season heightens the pressure many unattached people feel to be hitched, leading them to fabricate the existence of a significant other.
Leading the trend are the estimated 19 per cent of Australian singles who concede they've hesitated to put themselves out there because they feel too much time has passed since they dated.
Some 13 per cent of the singles polled said they routinely fend off questions about their relationship status over Christmas lunch or dinner.
The queries that bother them most include, "Have you got a partner yet?" (19 per cent) and, "Do you think your standards are too high?" (14 per cent).
Twice as many men (10 per cent) than women (five per cent) resent being asked if they'll be single for long.
The concept of a ticking marital clock also seems to be driving snow-faking among older Aussies, with questions like, "Are you leaving it a little too late to find someone?", likely to place additional pressure on 44 per cent of singles aged 35 and over.
Yet for some, yuletide may thankfully be the perfect springboard for a love-filled 2022.
Psychologist and eharmony relationship expert Sharon Draper says singles shouldn't feel too disheartened considering the pressure that comes with navigating festive gatherings.
"I understand why singles feel they have to snow-fake, however Christmas can be a great time to slow down and self-reflect on the year that was," she said.
Some 58 per cent of the surveyed Aussies said they gained confidence from spending time with family and friends and will carry that assurance into the new year.
Yet for those still dreading the holiday inquests regarding their singledom, preparation is key.
"Know how you're going to respond and feel confident in the fact that when the time is right, that person will find their way into your life," Dr Draper said.
Singles can change it up by deflecting awkward conversations with a joke to show their lack of concern or answer with a blocking question like, "Why do you ask?"
Alternatively, they can assert their boundaries by saying they're not comfortable talking about the topic or simply listen, ignore and pretend something or someone else has caught their interest and drift away.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails