What do corporate picnics, weddings and family reunions all have in common? For starters, they often are planned for these summer months and it just so happens they are some of the most dreaded occasions in the single person’s life.
Many of you might not know that in the past few years, August has surpassed June as the most popular wedding month. And July is officially the month for family reunions, while many companies offer picnics in the park as a mid-summer perk.
Each of these events can create anxious situations for singles but here is some helpful advice for dealing with recurring and problematic scenarios.
Issue #1: The Solo Invitation:
The Friend’s Wedding: The minute you’re invited to a nuptial affair sans guest or escort, the decision to go or not to go is entirely yours to make. The best decisions are those that are educated, so you may want to assess the circumstances under which the soon-to-be-married couple planned the event before you hastily decline. A tight budget, limited guest list or the circumstances of whomever is hosting the party (or pre-wedding shower) are some factors that may affect your decision.
The Family Reunion: Sure Aunt Sally should have invited you with a guest, but she may be too old, distant or out of touch with your life to know how to do right by you. Don’t be too shy to call her up and tell her you will be bringing a friend or date because when it comes to family reunions, more should be merrier.
The Corporate Outing: If everyone else is allowed to bring a partner or spouse, so too should you? Unfortunately that’s not always how it works in Corporate America. Businesses often think it’s best for singles to come solo. So before you lodge a complaint with your human resource department, try weighing the importance of this affair and whether or how your attendance will impact your career. It’s one thing if every Wednesday for the next six weeks it’s a picnic in the park, but a one time BBQ with key executives on site is definitely something you should attend.
Issue #2: To Go or Not to Go Stag:
The Friend’s Wedding: Alas, you received a “plus one” invitation, but with no real date for the big day. You cannot go wrong with a friend or even a trusted old flame by your side. Just don’t seek (or freak) out a strange new partner for the sake of having someone there with you. It’s a lot of pressure to put on someone and you never know how they will behave or who may be awaiting you.
Family Reunion: Let’s face it – every family is complicated in their own unique way. To avoid unpleasant drama, you need to respectfully do what is best for you. Depending on the family, going solo can be a lot more fun – it’s a chance to catch up with close cousins as well as distant relatives. But if chit chatting with Aunt Sally is a chore you are dreading, a close pal there with you can be a helpful diversion.
Corporate Outing: Just because the bulletin says you can bring a guest, don’t feel you will do wrong by going solo. It says a lot about your qualities as an independent leader. Plus, being single in this scenario can have plenty of perks depending how you work it. You are free to flutter about and talk to everyone you want, making a good impression on colleagues and supervisors without having to watch over somebody else.
Issue #3: Second Class Citizen Treatment
Wedding: There’s so much more that can go wrong than just the dreaded singles table, including being asked to tend to children at the kiddies table or to dance with someone’s geeky cousin Irwin. Just remember that a sour face or bitter disposition will be captured on video, so if things go awry, try to wear a smile. It’s okay to leave early, just make sure to do so discretely and gracefully so that you don’t make a scene.
Family Reunion: If the family gathering has you feeling like Cinderella or you find yourself fielding questions about your love life from relatives, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone. Take control of how your family treats you by demanding the same respect as all the other guests by steering inappropriate conversations and expectations into a direction that is comfortable for you.
Corporate Outing: There may be screaming kids and couples aplenty, but keep in mind that you’re here for business. A professional attitude going in will keep emotions at bay and allow you to focus on what matters most in this situation: career advancement.