As the season of holiday festivities approaches, so does the season of every family member asking why I haven't found a man yet. It's draining and boring and frankly, just way too redundant to answer every time it comes up in conversation.

Instead of trying to come up with fake excuses as to why I didn't bring a date to the family Christmas celebration, I got to thinking about what reasons are true. This year when I sit and watch all my newly engaged cousins ham it up at family functions, I won't feel out of place. Nope, this year, I have a plan.

What's my plan you ask? It's super simple, just three little words that are sure to stop all the questions about being single.

I won't settle.

Just three words, simple in character and straight to the point. They mean "I know what I want," they mean "I haven't found that person yet," and most importantly they mean "I am not rushing, I am on my own timeline, and that timeline is NOT wrong."

Dating is different for everyone and each experience is unique, I may not have had as many relationships as that cousin or moved as fast as that aunt, but I am doing nothing wrong. That is an important reminder these days.

In a world so fast-paced and reckless in love, it's important to take a deep breath and know that everything comes in time. There's nothing wrong with having standards.

Knowing what you want is good. You don't go into a pizza restaurant without an idea of what kind of pizza you're hungry for, and you don't go get pizza if you're hungry for a calzone. It's the same idea with dating — you don't go on a first date without knowing if you're interested in that person, and you know what qualities you're looking for before you start looking for them. I know what I want and what I deserve, and I haven't found that yet.

There's nothing wrong with being single.

There's more to life than finding a significant other. There's work and school, hobbies and interests, experiences and life events, and they all still exist without a person to share them with. Yes, dating is cool and love is important, but it comes at its own time and knowing what you want and knowing when you shouldn't settle is important.

So this holiday season, join me in taking a deep breath and answering the "are you still single?" question with "I won't settle."

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