As cuffing season approaches, students should seek friendships, not relationships


Sowmya Chundi

Every now and then, I’ll be walking down the senior hallway, minding my own business, when I’m stopped by several couples before me. They’ll hold hands—often blocking off the entire hallway—or engage in very obvious and uncomfortable public displays of affection. Normally, I’ll laugh these situations off with my friends, and move on. But the last awkward PDA moment I experienced reminded me of what I was in store for over the next couple of months: cuffing season.

Cuffing season refers to a period of time from October to Valentine’s Day where single people begin looking for short-term partnerships to pass the colder months of the year. It’s a strange social phenomenon that has taken over winter; nowadays, there are cuffing season horoscopes, checklists, and reality TV shows.

And in some ways, I can empathize with it. The past year and a half have been difficult for all of us with limits on socialization affecting our relationships, love lives, and mental health. The winter months often mimic what quarantine feels like; people socialize less, spend more time at home and shorter days can worsen feelings of loneliness or depression. Even holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day are better spent with someone else.

But as someone who prides themselves on being independent and happy alone, I think there are often much better solutions to these feelings. Last week, I stumbled across a Hulu Original show called “Dollface” that features Jules, the main character, who is dumped by her boyfriend after five years of being together. The show follows Jules as she realizes that she lost herself in her own relationship and must rekindle the female friendships she left behind.

And while the show is primarily comedic, I think it speaks to the truth about how people operate in relationships in high school. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve had friends who only ever talk about wanting to be in a relationship, but neglect their own friendships at the same time. Oftentimes, people only see their worldview as who they want to date or who they’re crushing on, leaving other important priorities and goals behind.

Similarly, I’ve always found it a little odd when people say their best friend is their significant other. To me, your best friend is who you go to complain about your significant other or spend time with the outside of the sphere of your relationship. Their love, while platonic, is just as important and valuable, and can cure the same loneliness that people feel during the winter.

That’s why this cuffing season, I don’t plan on getting in a relationship only to break it off by the end of senior year. But I do plan on spending time with my closest friends over the holiday season and reminding them how much they mean to me.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Sowmya Chundi at [email protected]

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