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How to Survive Social Events When You are Single

Cocktails on a table

I have spent a fair few years being single. During some of those years, I was in an ill-advised relationship with a man who wasn’t single, so the rest of the world assumed I was unattached. To all intents and purposes, I was unattached. It’s not like we spent any significant holidays together and he barely remembered who I was between assignations.

Because of this, I am well used to being the only single person at social events. It doesn’t bother me too much now, but there have been many occasions when it was no fun at all. I tend to avoid such events these days, as I prefer staying at home with my dog and three cats (yes, I am a crazy cat lady in training). But if you are a Bridget Jones perennial single, here is my guide to surviving dinner parties, weddings, and social events on your own.

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Smug marrieds

When you are single, it often feels like the rest of the world is one half of a couple, which makes popular social functions such as weddings and dinner parties difficult to deal with alone. However, although it is not always enjoyable to attend a dinner party on your own, it can be bearable. Trust me, you will get through the evening without slitting your wrists between the entrée and dessert courses.

Dinner parties are very popular amongst couples in their 30s and 40s. The hosts typically invite a varied group of friends around for a meal and everyone sits around a table eating, drinking, and as the evening progresses and more wine is imbibed, dancing.

Weddings are another tricky event if you are single. You either have to endure concerned aunts interrogating you about your lack of a boyfriend or risk being seated next to the token man: spotty Eric with halitosis.

You need to get out more (apparently)

By the time you hit your 30s, 40s and beyond, most of the guests at social events are other couples. Couples tend to ostracise single people because they think that person is a threat to their cosy domesticity, but if you are recently single or divorced, you may find yourself the recipient of a sympathy vote from a well-meaning friend who is convinced you need to get out more.

Make no mistake: unless the other guests are close friends and relatives, attending a dinner party or wedding as a single person can be painful. You invariably feel like the odd one out and by the end of the evening, at least half of the other guests have made it their business to grill you about the state (or lack thereof) of your love life. Unfortunately, not even great food and copious amounts of alcohol can restore the balance of sanity if you don’t prepare.

Before you leave the house, come up with at least five great reasons why you love being single, and if you can’t think of any, make some up. The reason for this is simple: instead of feeling like a sad and lonely recluse when subjected to questions about your love life, you can instil envy in all the married couples by making them think you are living the high life—and hopefully, you are!

6 reasons why being single is AWESOME!

My personal favourites are:

  1. I can watch Netflix in peace
  2. I don’t have to share the bed
  3. I can eat what I like when I like
  4. I don’t have to wash a man’s disgusting underwear
  5. I can date/shag who I like
  6. My cats are happier without a man in the house

 

Dress up to the nines—just because you are single, it doesn’t mean you have to dress down and look like a lonely cat lady. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to dress a little provocatively and make some of the guests jealous of the fact you have more disposable income to spend on nice clothes and beauty treatments while they spend all theirs in Ikea and B&Q.

Be sure to throw in lots of fun and amusing anecdotes about all the fabulous holidays you have been on recently. And, don’t forget to mention how you love disappearing for a girls’ weekend away at the drop of a hat—couples can’t do this, so score 1 to you.

If subjected to a grilling about your love life and there is absolutely nothing positive to say about it, make up some lurid tales of hot dates. It might not be true, but at least everyone else at the dinner party will be quietly envious of all the fun you are supposedly having. Make sure you have Tinder on your phone, so you can swipe through a few profiles when things become especially excruciating. You never know, you might spot a few of the guests masquerading as a single person!

Step away from the Smirnoff!

Don’t drink too much—at best you risk looking sad and desperate and at worst, you could end up making an inappropriate pass at someone else’s partner and lose some friends as a result. Drink in moderation—you will probably need some alcohol to make the evening bearable—but stay off the spirits!

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If all else fails and you can’t bear attending the event on your own, have a contingency plan. I once attended a wedding on my own. I didn’t know anyone other than the bride, so it was pretty rubbish. To ensure the evening didn’t end up being a total write off, I arranged to leave around 10 pm and drive up to see one of the horribly unsuitable men I was seeing at the time. There’s nothing like ending a crap evening with a bang…

Have you been to a wedding or dinner party as a sad singleton? Tell us how it went for you!

 

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