Cuffing season has arrived. Don't jump into a relationship just because it's here.

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Pack up your shorts, your tank tops, your flip-flops. Colder weather is definitely here, which can only mean one thing for the single people in your life: Cuffing season.

Your single friends (or you, dear reader) will spend the next few weeks or so ahead of a full-on wintry wonderland trying to lock down someone to snuggle amid the chillier, more melancholy months. Time will tell whether the rumored relationship between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce is a case of cuffing season or something longer-lasting.

However, people shouldn't feel bad if they're single during these colder months and could instead take that time to work on themselves.

"Make sure you're actively working on yourself and not only putting your best self forward, but also accepting the best as well by having appropriate boundaries and the ability to recognize any major red flags," says Jessica MacNair, licensed professional counselor.

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Time will tell whether the rumored relationship between Taylor Swift (right) and Travis Kelce (left) is a case of cuffing season or something longer-lasting.
Time will tell whether the rumored relationship between Taylor Swift (right) and Travis Kelce (left) is a case of cuffing season or something longer-lasting.

Everything to know about cuffing season

Cuffing season typically starts around the end of fall and lasts until the beginning of spring, according to Alexia McLeod, licensed clinical social worker. It could serve as a short-term commitment in lieu of a lasting relationship. Why, exactly, might someone want that?

"As the temperature drops during the winter months, so do our serotonin levels," McLeod adds. "Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a seasonal disorder that can trigger a lack of motivation or desire to participate in normal activities. Those feelings may trigger a desire to have someone to spend time with to combat unwanted feelings. Whether you are spending time at home or going to a party, having someone to share that time with is especially meaningful over the holidays."

Common misconceptions during cuffing season, include that no one will actually "catch feelings" during a casual relationship or that it will be hard to "uncuff" once spring rears its flower-laden head. It all depends on individual relationships and expectations. Plus, "there is a lot of evidence to suggest that there are other times of the year that people pair up for 'seasons' such as summer," MacNair says.

Swift, for her part, might be looking for a fling to tide her over during a lull in her record-breaking Eras tour dates, while Kelce may be looking for someone to cheer him on in the stands during his Kansas City Chiefs games.

That said, cuffing season isn't for everyone. "Relationships look different for different people, and so does cuffing season," McLeod says. "Defining what works for you and communicating it with your cuffing partner is important."

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When is the best time to get into a relationship?

Make sure both partners are on the same page before entering into a relationship during cuffing season – like whether you're indeed looking for something casual or the time of year has no bearing on your relationship status. Kelce, after all, expressed interest in Swift well before the weather turned cold.

If you are indeed in a relationship around the holidays, though, make sure you're clear on topics like gift expectations. "You may feel unsure as to what kind of gift to give someone if they may or may not be in your life in the future,” Susan Albers, clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said in a blog post. "To make this easier, you could agree on what kind of gift to get if you’re going to exchange gifts, how much money you’re each investing or maybe even forego gifts altogether."

There's no "best" time of year – seasonally, anyway – to enter into a relationship. It's "when you are ready and willing to commit to someone who is ready and willing to reciprocate," McLeod says.

Those intending to dive into a relationship should focus on defining what their ideal relationship looks like, prepare for compromise and pay attention to the potential partners in front of them. Not what you're projecting them to be, but who they are.

"If you want the ideal relationship, you can't just date the 'potential' you want to see in the person you are dating," McLeod adds. "You have to assess if your values and goals align."

And if those values and goals also involve hibernating together while the snow falls outside and a cozy fire roars indoors, happy cuffing season. And if your names are Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, we hope your holiday season surpasses your wildest dreams.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce and the dangers of cuffing season