Ever feel a little more lonely than usual during the holiday season? Let’s face it: winter is starting to kick in, the days are already too short and getting colder by the minute, and seemingly everywhere we look there are couples happily holding hands in an annoyingly blissful way. Our families are nagging us about bringing someone home this year, and we are nowhere near close to having a date for New Year’s Eve (let alone the company’s dreaded ugly sweater party).

Cuffing, which is gaining more and more popularity as a slang term for lowering our standards and just grabbing a warm body for the season, is sounding like a pretty good option for most of us – and many of us might even be doing so unintentionally. In fact, the act of cu ng even has subconscious evolutionary roots, from staying warm as a means of survival to increased testosterone levels for men during bouts of extremely cold weather. To dive into this buzzword phenomenon, relationship experts weigh in on why we “cuff,” and how to approach our natural cold-weather urges in a healthy way.

Be aware of our own intentions. Martin Gra , PhD and author of Love, Digitally, said it’s important to ask ourselves a few questions before rushing into a new relationship (this is applicable anytime of the year, not just during the colder months). Do we genuinely like the person? Does the partnership provide value to both sides? It’s critical for a successful relationship of any length to not set out to date simply out of sheer boredom or loneliness.  The connection should be mutually benefcial in some way.

Don’t make false promises. Of course, our potential short term partner may be considerably less than enthused to hear things like, “I want to date you, but only for two months or until something better comes along,” so it’s understandable that we don’t necessarily want to lead with brutal honesty. However, it’s even more important not to lie or say things just because we think somebody we are pursuing wants to hear them. Conversely, it’s best not to make any assumptions about the relationship (exclusivity, terms, other people’s feelings) and instead rely on direct communication to resolve any gray areas.

Don’t overanalyze.  e proliferation of the internet and social media have propelled us to quickly slap buzzword labels on behaviors (think cu ng, gaslighting, red  ags, cat shing, mansplaining, etc.) Instead of going down a Reddit wormhole trying to understand the real meaning behind a particular action or phrase, let’s perhaps slow things down and approach a potential new partner the old-fashioned way. Get to know a new person by spending time with them and see where the relationship leads; simply enjoy each other’s company, with no label or expiration date required

Cellini Spread