6/23/07

Single and Reluctant?

Myth: I need to be a “couple” in order to entertain.
Buster: Reach out. Keep it simple. Have a plan.

I recently received an email from a friend asking me to write a post for Singles! This is what she shared with me:

When the kids were younger and I was married I loved to entertain. After the divorce I think that part of me disappeared, also because hospitality was such a "family" affair and we all had our part. Back then our friends kind of disappeared after we divorced - so sad, but true. Divorce is such a rotten part of society and families. I never thought it would be part of my life.

Do you have single friends who entertain? If so, maybe a post on "singleness" would be appropriate!

I can’t help but think back to my single days. Accepting the state you are in, when you don’t want to be there, is tough. It becomes a matter of trust, to accept where you are and move on from there. We can take steps to improve the quality of our lives. One way is to spend more time with other families and friends. To connect with others.

Love gives us the vision to see others through God’s eyes, and the compassion to get involved. It frees us from fear and gears us up to reach out to those around us. But we have to be willing to take a risk!

It can be scary entertaining alone. But by keeping it simple and having a plan, it really can come together. I think of my friend Jenny in her single years. She was very good at having other couples over. She would tell each person what to bring. And when we arrived at her home, she’d grab one of the married “guys” and ask them to BBQ the meat.
That took the pressure off of her to have to do everything. Besides, guests want to get in and help!

One evening we even pushed the furniture aside and a guest taught us some dance moves. Cha-Cha! And what about putting up a badminton net or buying a boche ball or Crochet set, if you are having a whole family over?
A single person can host community groups or social groups, and include a meal or plan it as a potluck. Divorced parents can host other divorced parents. Single parents can host other children and those children’s parents. Or host a luncheon where you invite just girlfriends, if you are not comfortable having a “couple” over.

Meal planning can be rather simple, especially if cooking is not your strength. Because we live in a “Costco” day, where buying pre-made meals is so accessible, it’s easy to buy a main course and then ask your guests to bring the rest of the dishes. Divide it up, throw a pan of brownies in the oven for dessert and make a homemade chocolate sauce for topping.

(Above: our friend, Stan, cooking salmon on the grill. Jenny, on the right, who was single for many years, is now happily married to our friend Bill)

If conversation is a worry to you, refer back to my Commandment #5: Igniting Conversation post, for some great tips!

For some, it might take some time for you to segue from the world of singleness into the world of “entertaining” or opening up your home. It is really about how you view yourself. Sometimes singles don’t always ID so well with married couples (whether divorced or never married), so they don’t even try, or are afraid to try! If you have children though, it is really important that you model hospitality for them! We can learn a lot from others, single or not, and others can learn a lot from us! That is where communing or “community” is so important, no matter what state we are in.

Please encourage someone single today. Maybe someone comes to mind and you could invite that person over for dinner. Or pass this post on to someone who needs the extra boost. What I learned from being single was that the more I reached out to those around me, the more those people became “family” to me!

I am encouraged by Reinhold Niebuhr’s prayer: Serenity accepts the things we cannot change. Courage changes the things we can.

(Very top photo: Ashland Park; Bottom photo: view from Roxy Ann)

7 comments:

ellen b said...

Maybe another way to segue into this area would be for a single person to host a small group at their apartment, home. Hopefully this group is a mixed one with singles, married couples, old and young. (my favorite kind of group) They could start entertaining from the comfort of a group like this. They could partner with someone from the group to help them branch out and host a meal, etc.

Rhoda said...

Very sweet post, Sandy. I was single all through my 20's so can relate to how it feels to be single in church among married folks. It can be a little isolating, so good advice from you, as usual.

Rhoda

Barb said...

That picture of Nurse Babe Jenny is SO fun! I think all of us can get into a rut regarding who we believe we are and who we can and can't relate to. This is great advice for singles, but for others as well. We have a friend whose wife died a couple of years ago after several months of suffering. He determined not to hide, but purposely got out and got involved in his neighborhood and church, and went on a 6 week mission trip a couple of years in a row. He was a great example for the rest of us, even tho it wasn't always easy for him. He just remarried late this winter, and is doing very well, I believe because he purposely made the effort to be with people, enjoying and learning and serving.

Tammy said...

I was single until age 32, so I can relate to feeling left out of the couple's world (although now I'm so use to being a couple, I can forget unless things like this remind me!)

My husband has several single sibling, however...

Wonderful advice here!
Blessings!

Nadine said...

Very good post and encouraging to all.

Becca said...

Sandy, that brought tears to my eyes. What an encouragement. I think whatever point at which we find ourselves, we are reluctant to move beyond it, sometimes.

For example: mingling old/young; married/single; children/no children, etc

Gayla said...

As a single woman, this was kind advice, very well taken. Life IS different for us single women. We sometimes are very sad that we have the whole evening to ourselves to put on our nightgowns early, drink herbal tea, take hot baths, report to no one, share the clicker with no one, and read a pile of magazines in bed. It is so terrible to be hanged with a new rope at times! Seriously, I loved this post and think it might be time to invite some couples over for supper. I haven't done that more than twice I think since my divorce, uh... eleven years ago. I appreciate your blog so much.