Social solutions for singles

Whether you find yourself suddenly single or have been enjoying your own company for a while, there are situations which arise where you may need a little guidance. Debbie answers five simple questions to help you avoid common singles social faux pas.

The intricacies of social etiquette are enough to bamboozle the best of us, but when you’re single, there can be a whole new set of rules to learn.  Here are five simple tips to help you navigate the minefield of modern day social life.

Q. Polly
I have been invited to my niece’s wedding and the invitation includes a plus one. I am not dating anyone at the moment, but as I won’t know many people attending, I am keen to take someone with me. Is this acceptable?

A. This is quite common and, as I’m sure your family are more than aware of your single status, they would be quite happy for you to bring a friend. You can avoid any awkwardness by popping a hand-written note in along with your acceptance card, simply explaining you are bringing a friend and their name is… This will also help your niece with her seating plan and writing place cards – no-one wants to be referred to as someone’s plus one.

Q. Tony
I have been seeing a lovely woman for some time, but haven’t really told many people about her. I have received an invite to a friend’s 60th birthday, but it is just addressed to me, no mention of a partner. I would dearly love for her to accompany me so should I just take her along?

A. I don’t think turning up unannounced with a new partner is the best way to endear yourself to your friends. By your own admission, you haven’t mentioned to many people that you have a new lady in your life, so how do you expect your friend to know you would like to bring someone with you? A phone call to your friend is the best way to solve the issue. Explain that you are very much looking forward to the party and would like to bring someone with you. However, you should consider two things: this is your friend’s 60th birthday and he may not want to be upstaged by your new relationship and, there may be a limited guest list due to venue size or budget. So if the answer is no, go along and enjoy your evening with friends, then perhaps arrange a get-together of your own to introduce your new partner to your friends.

Click NEXT to discover how to deal with friends setting you up, unwanted Facebook friends and how to have coffee without it being a ‘date’.
Q. Marie
I am very happy being single, I enjoy my own company, keep myself busy and have many good friends. However, these friends are always trying to set me up with ‘great guys’ who are divorced or widowed. I end up spending evenings being a shoulder to cry on or the target for their unbridled anger towards their ex-wives. This is getting me down and making me refuse invitations to go to dinner with friends as there will ultimately be a ‘spare man’ there for me.

A. At least you know your friends mean well, even if their kindness is misguided. Ask any single person if they have been set up by friends and the answer will most certainly be yes. This is what people in relationships do as they think you have to be part of a couple to be happy. You could throw a hissy fit and refuse invitations to dinner or get-togethers, but ultimately this would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. It would be much better to invite your nearest and dearest friends around for afternoon tea and extol the virtues of being single, assure them that you do not wish to meet anyone at the moment, but should this change, they’ll be the first people you call on for assistance.

Q. Pauline
Since I was widowed six months ago, I have been spending more time online, it seems easier to keep busier this way than deal with people face-to-face. I am now on Facebook and for the most part, I enjoy keeping up-to date with what people are doing. However, I keep getting friend requests from people I have no interest in being ‘friends’ with. What should I do?

A. Simply ignore the request. Most of the time people will send a friend request only to increase the number of friends they have and make them seem more popular – sound a little like high school? If you don’t accept them as a friend, chances are they won’t even notice. However, should someone send you a personal message or ask you directly why you haven’t accepted their request, simply respond by saying that you’re still getting to grips with the technology and are keeping your friendship list small until you fully understand what you’re doing. You can also set your privacy setting to the highest level and this way you will be able to look for people, but they won’t be able to find you. For more information on Facebook privacy settings, read Drew’s article Keep safe on Facebook

Q. Robert
I have met a woman whom I really like, but only as a friend. I am not interested in romance, but this woman is intelligent, engaging and I enjoy her company very much. We see each other as part of a group of mutual friends and I am considering asking her to meet for a coffee, but don’t want my intentions to be misconstrued, nor do I wish to make things awkward in the group.

A. You don’t say why you are so against a little romance with this woman, but that is your prerogative. Spending time one-on-one with someone to whom you have had such a strong response, may lead to romantic feelings so before you take it any further, you should consider if you are prepared for this somewhere down the track. Honesty is the best policy. Give her a call and ask if she would like to meet for a coffee outside the group. Explain that you would value a friendship with her, but have no interest in romance. You need to be prepared for her to say no, as this is her prerogative. She may be looking for a romantic interest, or may not wish to fragment your relationship from the group. Only you can make a judgement on this. If she does say yes, make the most of the time you get to spend with a fantastic woman and if she says no, swallow your pride and don’t give up your group of friends.

Written by Debbie McTaggart