Do singles want to eat (and drink) with couples?

March 18, 2012

in Friendship

We are hoping to make a new friend.

Well, that is an anxiety provoking and delicate business, and worthy of a great deal of thought. But here is just one aspect of it – do couples ask single people to dinner on their own?

We met A. at a party and she got in touch after saying it had been good to meet  (that was delightful and such a great start) – and we went on to have supper together, the three of us, in a local pub. And we had a great evening, and posited more..

As the two of us were coming home, Charles and I were talking about ‘what’s next’ and wondering who of our friends we might invite round for supper (supper/dinner – which should it be called? There’s another interesting question) with A. And I realised I didn’t really want to invite anyone else at this point.

We are still getting to know one another – an exciting thing to do. I think that the less people involved the better: this is not a performance after all – it is a friendship that is mooted. I love to bring our friends together, at parties and..err..meals, but I also like good friends to be close. And you can’t get close round a table of – well, how many?? Can you?

So, the next question was – would any person who lives alone want to spend time with a couple? What are the issues that arise there? Can couples be claustrophobic? Do they tend to play out their issues in front of someone else in a way that needs to be diluted by other people? How often is it possible to really like and want to know both parties of a couple? Should it not be the couple but just one of the couple, maybe?

And – do all these possibilities keep sufficient space and flexibility for the possibility of either a friend of the first order – ie  a good friend but not a ‘best friend’, of whom there can never be very many, or of the second order – of whom there can be a good many more?

I have a feeling that we’re not supposed to think about this so much; that it’s all supposed to somehow be spontaneous and seamless. Well – there’s yet another question. Feels full of potential pitfalls, making new friends..


Bridget's gift copyright Anne Wareham


Elizabeth March 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I have been married,divorced and both free and suspect, and married again. In my experience single friends are more flexible, more accessible and less circumscribed. Most of my friends are coupled just because of my age and stage of life and I love them dearly but single friends are special. You are lucky to have found a new one.

anne March 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

We think so too, Elizabeth. (that we’re lucky) Interesting perspective and you may be right. (thinking about it..)

Alison Eddy March 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

How lovely…I think I may well be the Alison in the (A)!

I am so used and comfortable with being single I sometimes forget what it’s like to view the world as part of a couple. Hopefully this is good, as it means I see the individuals, and not where they chose to sleep at night as one of their defining moments.

Having said that, there have been occasions when friends partners have made advances, as if somehow being single automatically went hand in hand with loose morals. I think sometimes as a result I initially have a faint air of disapproval with the men in the couple, a case of guilty until proven innocent! Luckily, it normally turns out to be just two nice people to know for the price of one.

Frankly, I was so thrilled to have found people who understood the language of creativity, I didn’t particularly ‘clock’ you were a couple until you left together.

Looking forward to a leap of faith….potential friendships!

anne March 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Yes, you are the ‘A’ – as in Alison. Thank you for adding your thoughts and for forgiving me for bouncing you into a blog.

And for the leap of faith – here’s to our friendship!

Charles March 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Ha ha! I shall have my antenna out for the whiff of disapproval but am determined to prove my innocence.

Janet Stewart March 21, 2012 at 1:15 am

Making friends has changed over the years, it used to be an easy natural process, you liked someone, you talked with them often, found common interests, went out , and the friendship developed or not. Nowadays, like everything else, it’s a worrying thought process of “dos” and “don’ts”.

I think it all depends on the personality of the single friend, some may be entirely happy with their single status and find it easy to mingle in the company of both singles and couples others may be conscious of their single status and feel ill at ease being in the company of mainly couples.

It also depends on the couple and on whether the couple is willing to step out of ‘coupledom’ and have conversations which the single person can be involved in. I can’t imagine it being an enjoyable experience being in the company of ‘fawning couples’ where everything they do and talk about revolves around being a couple.

At the beginning of any friendship I think it’s important to get to know each other and as A’s comfortable with both of you it’s perfectly alright for the friendship to continue as couple (you and Charles) and single (A).

I agree with you that it is too early to start introducing A to other couples at dinner parties (I like the word ‘supper’ as it brings to mind warmth and intimacy – well to me anyway!) and now is the time to get to know each other.

In answer to your questions (in my opinion):- (1) Yes, a person who lives alone would want to spend time with a couple; (2) Issues to arise – change of routine, jealousy and closeness, if one of the couple wants to spend more time with the single friend due to mutual interests; (3) Depends on the type of couple. I think couples can be encouraging and supportive to a single person with the ability to see things from a different perspective; (4) again depends on the strength of the couple’s relationship and if it;s something they would normally do in the company of others, single or otherwise; (5) Hmm! Depends on the circumstances of the meeting. In your case A is very comfortable in your company as a couple as she first met you as a coupe and you have seen her since as a couple, I think it may have been different if she had met one of you alone and gotten to know you then was invited out with you as a couple; (6) Not really! You are a happy couple meeting up with a friend for a meal (drink) and a chat, no doubt as the friendship develops the ‘get-togethers’ will change according to compatibility and interests.

As with most things only time will tell as to whether it will develop into a ‘good friend’ ‘best friend’ or ‘any friend at all’ basis.

This making friends business is hard work, just go with the flow and see where it takes you!

cp53a March 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Yes, is my immediate answer!

When I was single during my long search for Mr Right, (I was 36 when I met him!), I spent many happy days/evenings in the company of couples and will be forever grateful that they didn’t leave me out. The female half of the couple was my initial friend in each case but their husbands became friends too, I think it’s important that they do. I’ve had some very heart warming & supportive drunken conversations with the husbands when my affairs have floundered – it was insightful & rewarding being able to get the male perspective. I was also lucky enough to have female friends who never saw me as a threat to their own marital relationships.

My friends seemed to take me on as their pet project and I (mostly) enjoyed the company they chose to introduce me to. Although I did get hostile vibes occasionally from the female halves of some of the couples – have to expect it from time to time. Memorably, I was introduced to one bloke just because he’d won a Caribbean holiday x 2 and didn’t have anyone to take. Yes reader – I went – it was fab!!!

There is a flipside to this – the husband of an old school friend did actually cause the ending of our friendship – I don’t think he liked me very much and I never got on very well with him, nor felt comfortable in his company – sadly, as a result, we gradually lost touch.

There are likely to be many unknowns when cultivating new friendships but on the whole I would say cherish your single friends ……..

anne March 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Ah – now there’s another issue: what happens to friendships if one half of a couple dislikes one of the other half’s friends? And what happens to mutual friendships when couples split up??

Thanks for the comment, and – there will be more posts on these and similar topics I think! Meanwhile, I will cherish all my friends…

Melissa Jolly March 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

One of my oldest and dearest friends is still single (God knows why?) – and she often says that she feels couples don’t invite her as much as they might if she had another half or invite her out with ‘the girls’. She came to supper with us recently and 4 other couples and we had a fab evening, I don’t think any of the husbands felt she was ‘after’ them but all wondered how on earth she could still be single. Hopefully people will realise that friendships and life go on in all capacities – single, married, divorced etc and feel that they can enjoy their friends company for their own sakes – be very dull if we always socialised with people in the same situation as ourselves.

Great article to discuss.

anne March 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Too many people indicating that singles often get left out. It’s not on!! Reform is required. Now.

Babs (dumphimlove) March 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

One of my good friends has been single for a number of years. She does everything on her own that you may do as a couple. I see her regularly – sometimes on her own and sometimes with my OH. I feel it’s different when he’s with us and she does too. I stress it is different and not better or worse. The one thing I do notice is that she will often end the visit earlier than most couples we know do. I think that is in part not wanting to outstay her welcome and partly she’s used to being on her own. She has commented in the past of people being defensive and sometimes aggressive if she attends somewhere on her own? I don’t think I treat her any different because of her status but then we were friends with her before her relationship ended.

anne March 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

“people being defensive and sometimes aggressive if she attends somewhere on her own” – I am surprised and curious about that. I go places on my own a lot and haven’t been aware of that – what does she think causes it?

Don’t know about the going home earlier either – interesting.

The differences between the three of you and two of you – I do know that, with couples too. Part of what makes all the permutations of getting together with friends fascinating and rewarding..

Val March 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Interesting.Naively was shocked when my husband ran off with my friend/ our colleague. Hurt when ‘they’ were invited & I wasn’t.
Moved on, but aware that I tend to receive invites from couples with a group of single girls.Can be fun of course. Old single friends,now in couples, are the worst.
I have met new younger friends, but still not automatically included in their entertaining life.
So everyone tells you you are marvellous, young for your age etc, & you just grin and bare it.
hey ho

Laura lawless March 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I used to always invite my single friend round for dinner with me and my (ex) husband and then they ran off together!!!! However, I have moved on and do invite my friend round ( who is single ) and keep my fingers crossed that my new partner won’t run off with her! So far so good!

anne March 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

O. Ouch!

Chrissie Carlton March 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I love being invited for dinner by my couply friends; well, by anybody really. Unfortunately, the problem I seem to encounter, with being quite pretty, middle aged and single, is that sometimes suspicion falls on why I might want to go. I find that really insulting and unfair, assuming that a single woman of my age is automatically looking to steal someone else’s husband because I don’t have one of my own. I’m single for a reason. But it does mean I don’t get invited out anywhere near as often as I’d like 🙁

anne March 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

That makes me want to spit! If you were predatory (as if) you could be that even better in a crowd!

Lynn Keddie March 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

I am in a relationship but not married. If I am with good friends who have known me for a long time, we can have a good evening without any awkwardness (apart from one time when one of my friend’s husband greeted me with a kiss on the lips, errr yuck!). Couples I don’t know so well- I do get the feeling that the men do feel if you are ‘single’ which, seemingly includes me despite my relationship, then you are probably after them (really, are your ego’s so big?) and I do find myself compensating by chatting more to their female partner, which makes me feel a bit of a fraud. It’s a tricky one, I am perfectly happy dining on my own with a couple, but not if there are difficult undercurrents as there sometimes are.

anne March 19, 2012 at 10:17 am

People see you as single even though you’re clearly not? Weird. This gets more complex than I’d imagined. The couple tensions I can see are best avoided and may be lessened in a larger group of people..

Bridget March 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’m single, and wish people would not want to provide a balancing act for me at dinners – or worse not get round to inviting me at all. You cannot believe the angst I suffer at not understanding why I so often do not get invited back to places.
So go for it, girl.

PS The photos really add to the blog -warm and friendly somehow

anne March 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thanks, best friend of mine.

And, well, if people don’t ask you, makes you more available for us to!! #hiddenbenefits

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