Illustration by Edward Fotheringham

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Just Behave: Singled Out

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

I’m single and in my 40s. I like my life and the freedom of being alone. I just find it rather annoying when my married friends exclude me from events, dinners, etc., simply because I don’t have a plus-one to bring along. I’ve asked others about this and they have different views. Some friends think it’s perfectly normal for couples to want to go out only with other couples. Another friend thinks it’s ridiculous. Who’s right? Should I feel slighted when I find out friends were gathering without me simply because I’m in my 40s and single? — Cari, Fort Myers Dear Cari, This isn’t Noah’s Ark we’re talking about, where inclusion takes place two-by-two. And it has nothing to do with age. I know someone twice your age who shares the same sentiments. Lots of couples do this; I think some feel it’s just more comfortable to socialize with other couples. They may think you’ll feel lonely or awkward. But, as a single person myself, I’ve been the fifth wheel at many dinners, and most of the time I fit right in. I suggest you invite this group of married friends to dinner with you. (Who says the married friends are in charge of organizing the gatherings?) Once they see you’re comfortable hanging with them, they might start including you in their dinners and realize it is OK for you to be there without a partner. It’ll add up to good times for all, no matter what number of people attend.   Our book club has met monthly for the last five years. W
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