There’s a lot I like about being single after 19 years of marriage. But I’m not used to being home so often on Saturday nights. With the holidays coming up, I’m concerned about feeling left out. Can you suggest some strategies for me? – Shannon
It’s true that daytime can be more easily filled with commitments whether they are work-related, social, or recreational, but at night, when you feel like you’re “supposed” to be out, it’s harder, especially during holiday time. Indeed, you may find yourself home alone, feeling left out or overlooked, or you may hear that disappointing response, “Sorry, I already have plans.”
It takes bravery to ask to be included. It takes self-esteem to call up a friend and say, “Hey, what are you doing Saturday night? Do you have room for one more?” You may fear that you are creating an awkward situation by putting your friends on the spot, risking a strain on the relationship or outright rejection.
But the bottom line is that as a single woman who wants a social life, you need to speak up for yourself so that you can be present in the minds of others who are planning activities. Or, you need to get creative about making your own plans, even if you’re solo.
The good news for an older single woman, in particular, is that perceptions have changed. You are the one who gets to decide where you belong. You need to feel good enough about yourself to raise your hand.
So first, here are some key attributes of a confident single woman:
- You are comfortable being single and are ready to meet new people.
- You want to be asked out, but you’re not sitting around on a Saturday night.
- You like who you are and are kind to yourself.
- You stand on the path of possibility.
- You want support from friends, but are as likely to ask them how they are doing as they are to ask you.
- You want to be listened to, but know that not everyone wants to hear that it can be hard sometimes.
- You have healthy mind/body practices.
- You don’t hold a grudge or dwell in negative energy.
- You understand the value of human connection and that it comes in many forms and from many sources.
Now, be bold. Appeal to someone in your inner circle with a request for a set-up or a party invite. Get creative. Look to your broader community that may include acquaintances at work, the gym, a book group, your religious congregation, a sports team, your school affiliation, or a volunteer organization. And think about unique opportunities for a night out, such as a lecture, a film screening, ice-skating, a fencing lesson, or a bartending class. The possibilities are endless!
Shannon, you are a gift. I wish you the happiest of holidays!