Excluded from social events due to single status

Dear Carolyn:

Now into my 30s, I’m perpetually single. I really don’t mind — I have fantastic friends, a supportive family, and my life is great.

However, while getting drinks with a friend a couple of weeks ago, she offhandedly mentioned that she’d gotten together with my best friend, his wife, and two other people I’m close friends with. “I thought about inviting you, but it was a couple thing,” she said.

I’ve since talked with a few friends about this, and they fall in two camps: “That’s utterly bizarre, and why do couples feel the need to hang out away from us singles?”; and, “Well of course couples need their own events, because we single people just don’t understand the hazards of in-laws and shared bank accounts.”

My best friend is in the latter camp, and I have to admit I feel hurt at being left out of group events because I happen to be single. I tried to explain it, but he just doesn’t understand where I’m coming from at all.

Who’s right, does it matter, and do I just have to live with it?

— I’m Single, Not an Alien

Is there a more contrived and idiotic party-construct than a “couple thing”? Not a rhetorical question.

And as failures of empathy go, this one is utter and baffling.

Your best friend “just doesn’t understand”? How hard is it, exactly, to imagine himself as an ex-spouse or widower someday who, on the basis of that status alone, gets blithely excluded from things?

The whole thing is indefensible, and even presenting it as a dog-people/cat-people-style dichotomy gives it more credence than it deserves.

Can a white host arrange gatherings that exclude her close black friends because they can’t understand what it’s like to be white?

Even single-sex gatherings, which tend to be given a societal pass, can cross the same indefensible line, depending on the circumstances. Say you have a tight-knit group of five friends who socialize regularly, four women and a man — and then one of you up and hosts a night out for just the four women. No topical justification like, say, a “Menstruation and You” lecture (tickets selling fast!), and no asking whether he wants in on a spa day, proffering the grace of letting him choose? The man would completely have grounds to feel hurt.

Now, certainly, people have every right to host their friends in mixed combinations at events large and small; not every gathering needs to include every person we like, love, work with or abut. Yet deciding someone typically integral is now disposable based on casual demography bias is exactly as crap as it sounds. And feels.

I hope you have a sense of humor, because after all that, here’s my advice: You’re right, it does matter, and you have to live with it anyway.

Well, not have to — but you at least have ample grounds to choose to. These are your friends, whom you yourself call “fantastic.” You can decide they have one ugly blind spot and even forgive it in them without sacrificing your soul, as long as you believe the good in them plainly outweighs this particular bad.

I’d say to invite all of your single friends over for a group eye-roll, but I of course would never condone such a thing.

— Washington Post Writers Group

Talk to us

More in Life

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.