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All those parties and gifts that come with the holiday season are supposed to fill our lives with joy. But as the Christmas and New Year`s season grows near, some students are thinking that the holidays will only bring problems. Believe it or not, those busy schedules, a list of parties to attend, and gifts to buy are taking all the fun out of the season – and, according to some, putting friendships at risk.
Du Jinglin, an 18-year-old sophomore at Central China Normal University, is bothered by all the gifts she has to buy and distribute.
"It`s such a burden to cover all of my friends during the holiday season," said Du. "[This period] has become more about showcasing one`s social skills than about sharing love."
Last year, Du says she forgot to buy a gift for one of her roommates and ever since there has been an unspoken awkwardness between them.
Qi Zheng, a psychologist at a Shenzhen-based consulting center, says stories like Du`s show that young people have come to misunderstand the purpose of gift-giving.
"Friendships cannot be sustained by a single gift on a holiday, or by a text message on some special occasions," said Qi. "[Friendships] require long-term devotion of both emotion and time."
The same goes for parties: Gathering with friends once or twice a year can`t ensure that close friends don`t drift apart. Chen Yinze, a 19-year-old at Renmin University, has turned down two party invitations from his classmates, one being an overnight karaoke bash. In his eyes, the party would have only reminded him of how far he has drifted from some of his friends.
"Every time I go to a party or an event with classmates, I feel like I have nothing to say and am always the one being left out," said Chen.
He insists he`s not introverted or arrogant, and attributes this distance to limited contact with classmates and a lack of shared interests. "To be honest, there`re some [people] in my class I haven`t talked with for a really long time."
Where`s the love?
Even couples, it seems, can find themselves on rocky ground during the holiday season.
For the last two years, Liang Yu, a 20-year-old economics major at East China University of Science and Technology, has had big fights with his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.
"Buying the right gift, saying the right words, even ordering the right dishes – these responsibilities can exhaust me," said Liang. "The worst thing is that it`s impossible to do everything right and meet my girlfriend`s expectations for a perfect, romantic Christmas."
Many young ladies, however, would argue that their "unreasonable requirements" for a fancy holiday to some extent reflect the quality of their relationship.
Zuo Shuyi, an 18-year-old freshman at Sichuan University, calls the holiday season "the right time for boys to show their love in a more symbolic way".
Qi, meanwhile, suggests that couples try to be more understanding of each other.
"Couples should not push too hard for the idealistic scenes often shown in TV shows and movies," said Qi. "If the two shepherd the relationship well on a daily basis, every day will be like Christmas and Valentine`s Day."