Singles and couples should get together


Q: I'm offering a disagreement with a twist on your column on couples who have no time for singles.

I am married, 3 1/2 years, no children. Contrary to your reader Lilly B., I still remember quite well how it was to be single. In fact at times I still find it hard to believe I'm married.

My wife and I have several single friends and we have tried to socialize with them countless times, but each time we've been rebuffed.

Recently I had a talk with one of them, and she admitted how depressed she was that she was single, and that seeing me and my wife would only exacerbate her depression.

I can understand not wanting to waste time with married couples when you can be productively trying to meet other singles.

A: Mixing married and single friends into your social life is never a waste of time. Not all of one's leisure time can -- or should -- be spent on the prowl, on safari for the other sex. Besides, there's a lot to learn from a mixture of lifestyles. Every person in this world can be an object lesson of how -- or how not -- to relate, and so it makes great good sense to assemble a social circle that ignores marital status.

At times it may take a bit of assertion on the part of single people to reach out and make that call, but the payoff can be delicious. (Besides, you never know which couples have single friends they'd like you to meet!)

Q: Single again at 34, with very few single friends left to hang out with, I find myself in a bewildering situation. Never before have I found it so difficult to meet other people in my predicament.

I've never been comfortable walking into singles bars or parties, and frankly I just don't have what it takes to answer those singles ads -- fear of the unknown, for my personal safety.

I don't just want to meet the "love of my life"; but I sure would love to have acquaintances to see plays with, take shopping excursions with, go to museums and art galleries, hiking and biking, walking and talking and everything else that life has to offer.

I was hoping you or your readers could compile a list of clubs or organizations that helped them get back into circulation.

A: You don't need our lists, you've compiled your own personal directory in your letter! Since you have such a rich bank of interests, your problem is in narrowing them down to the two or three that turn you on the most -- and then joining groups that are centered around them! It is in those clusters that you will find friends, compatible people who share at least one interest with you (and probably more). It is there that you have the best odds of finding common ground and similar people, and there that is the best source of friends because you and they have commonality . . . which is a lot more than you can say for the wise guys at the singles bars and dances.

Q: When I read Lilly's letter about coupled friends who exclude her because she is single, I had to write.

I've been divorced 12 years, and although I dated I had never been "part of a couple" until the past few years. You are correct when you say that men are included socially while single women are avoided. I was treated by all the couples in my life as if I had the plague. This includes a brother and sister-in-law who, now that I have a boyfriend, treat me extremely well, as if we are best of friends.

To survive ostracism, I entertain in my home frequently. It's hard to be lonely if you have a houseful of company. Very often my guest lists are made up of, say, nine women and three men. I never concerned myself with lopsided gender ratios, and everyone always had a good time.

I think the discrimination against single women is wrong, but I know I can't change the world, at least not all at once. I haven't forgotten my single girlfriends (even if they forgot me when they had boyfriends and I didn't). I try to treat everyone the same, regardless of their status, age or gender. I call my girlfriends often, I include them and urge them to come over when they feel lonely. I think I'm a good friend, something a lot of women haven't learned to be.

A: You've learned your life lesson well, and have made the wise choice of staying with your friends from your single life -- although you're now walking two by two. That choice has got to enhance that relationship, as it does your personhood. Never forget what it felt like to be a single woman and an extra thumb socially. Be proud of yourself.

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