Double Standard For Single Women

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dear Miss Manners:

When my friend and I parted company after a long, pleasant lunch, she commented that we should not wait so long before our next get-together.

In years past, we and our spouses and several other couples were a close group of friends that socialized together frequently.

I became single and, over time, with no provocation other than my being single, my inclusion in group activities diminished to become the occasional lunch, dinner or holiday party.

The couples, however, still socialize together, and some of my lunch friends volunteer descriptions of their activities when we are "catching up."

As we were all close for years and we still know the same people, I want to assume that they are trying to keep me feeling involved, but it always reminds me of how much has changed and leaves me sad. Is there something I can say to head off these reports without making the other person uncomfortable, too?

You're not the only one this makes sad. Miss Manners finds it sadly discouraging to know that in the 21st century, there are still people who believe that it is improper for a lady to venture out socially, especially in the evening, without a gentleman to escort her.

Furthermore, your friends seem to believe that you concur. The only instances in which it is not unspeakably rude to mention a social event to the uninvited is when the event is one from which this person would plainly have been excluded by his or her own choice -- the neighborhood softball game to a non-player, for example.

It is time to disabuse your circle of this peculiar notion. You cannot, of course, scold them for not inviting you. But every time such an event is mentioned, you could say wistfully, "I really miss those occasions. I hope you don't think I would enjoy them any less now that I'm single."

You should also be initiating such events, as you surely took some turns doing as a couple.

It would be even sadder if you felt devalued as a friend to the point of having to wait for such signs of interest from them.

Dear Miss Manners:

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