Balancing the Odd Wheel

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Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:24 pm

So, I'd like to have a dinner party of 6-8 people, including my husband and myself. I want to invite two friends and their spouses and a third friend who isn't partnered. And I don't want to make her feel like the odd-wheel in the group. I'm wracking my brain to come up with some other single person, male or female, to invite, but I just don't have any other local friends who are single. Other than my brother-in-law who's horribly introverted and has depression, both of which make him not want to be around people. And if he's going to exert the emotional effort, I'd rather it be for Thanksgiving.

My friend has a college-age son, who I'd be fine with her bringing, except he's away at college now. She also has a high school age son, who I don't want to invite.

So, any thoughts about this? Invite her as a single and don't worry about it. Don't invite her, even though I really, really would like her there? Other advice or ideas?

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Enail on Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:40 pm

Do any of the people know each other? If there are some other 'pairings' that can be made, in the form of people who'll naturally want to sit near each other and chat during the evening, and if you and your husband can seat yourselves in such a way as to break up the couples a little bit, I find that feels a lot less couples-and-singles-y.
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:42 am

No, none of them know each other. I mean, other than knowing their own spouses.

Good idea about the seating. I'm even trying to figure that out, because the natural seating is head and foot of the table, three on one side and two on the other. But that's weird. (And bugs my OCD. Wink ) But if my husband and I are not at head and foot of the table, that helps break things up a bit. And maybe put my single friend next to me.

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:52 am

I think putting your single friend next to you is a good idea. And then I guess play it by ear as far as balancing the amount of additional attention/friend-ness you afford her that night (to compensate for her not having anyone else) against her possibly feeling more singled-out by extra attention.

Maybe you could offer one of your friends (not the one with the high school age son) a "+1" invite, or just plain ask if they know anyone else who might want to come to a dinner party, so you can vet them yourself. Obviously don't if you're not comfortable with it.

I think a lot of this is going to depend on her, too, though. If being single is something that's currently bothering her, she's going to notice if she's the only single person present and that's going to be at least a little bit awkward. She might feel like being there for her friend and having an otherwise-nice night out at a dinner party is worth having to deal with some extra-lonely feelings for a little while. Maybe you/we could contrive some way for her to easily make a graceful exit midway through if she's not having a good time? Seems like a possible compromise between inviting her because you want her to come and want her to have the option, and not inviting her because she might feel bad. Downside might be that you'd have to keep her from drinking too much before she's had a chance to assess her feelings. I also don't have an idea of where to begin.
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by reboot on Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:43 pm

I think NT's idea of a +1 is good. You run the risk of not liking the person, but if you trust your friend's judgement, it cannot go too wrong. You could also do the plus one and still seat your friend next to you and the other person next to the folks that invited them. That way you get two triads that make the couple thing less obvious.

You could also ask your friend how she feels about the situation. She may not care or may care enough that she will not want to come even if there is another single person
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:38 pm

Yeah, I don't know why I didn't think "Ask her how she feels about it." I should do that, and then, I think, offer her a +1 Adult, so that she doesn't bring her high school son. That way, if she does care, she'll have someone there to be her buddy, and it will hopefully not be awkward. And it would probably look pretty normal and balanced to everyone else that people come in pairs, whether they're romantic pairs or not.

I'm not super comfortable with having people to my house that I haven't met. Especially for something like a seated dinner party. With a show-up whenever during a window of time and have snacks and drinks and chat and mingle kind of party, that would be a different. But if it's to allow her to bring someone to make her comfortable, that would be okay.

I'd worry that someone else's +1 would be a guy, and my single friend would think I'm trying to set her up.

Thanks for the advice, everyone!

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:45 pm

Well, I'm not having a dinner party because today was the day of the party and no one RSVPed. I mean, I had two people say, "Let me check my schedule and I'll get back to you!" And then they never did.

RSVPs aren't outdated, fancy etiquette, people. They're basic manners.

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by eselle28 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:41 pm

Ugh. People who don't RSVP to dinner parties and other events that require planning are The Worst. Sorry your friends pulled that. Mine have sometimes too.
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Enail on Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:00 pm

Oh, that's so frustrating! I haaaate that!
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:33 pm

So, my husband and the toddler and I had our fancy dinner anyway. Crab and ricotta manicotti and asparagus with from-scratch made hollandaise. I did not make the appetizer or dessert, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Hmph.

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by eselle28 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:42 pm

That sounds delicious! Everyone else missed out.
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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

Post by Wondering on Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:46 pm

Thanks, eselle.

I think I realized that I feel extra hurt by it because, for me, cooking and food are how I show my caring and generosity to friends. I'm not up for helping you pack and move, but I will make and bring enormous amounts of food for everyone involved. I'm not up for doing laundry or running errands for you if you just had a baby, but I will make multiple large meals that you can freeze and nuke later.

So when people don't want to try my food, that makes me feel rejected. Which isn't really fair. I mean, it's super rude not to RSVP, but it's not a personal insult.

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Re: Balancing the Odd Wheel

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