"You and a guest at invited to our Staff Christmas Party."
The annual invite showed up in my work email inbox. My work staff Christmas party was coming up. Or, as it sometimes feels, the annual reminder that I'm still single - that I don't have a guest to bring with me.
When I RSVP to the party, the inevitable question: "For 1 or 2 people?"
"Just me." I respond. Thinking, but not saying aloud: Like usual, I'm coming alone. I know there was no intent to remind me of that by asking the question - they were just making sure they have the correct numbers.
When the night of the Christmas party comes, I'll face the same dilemma I face every time: Where do I sit for dinner?
All the tables have an even number of chairs at them. Perfect for the people who come with a spouse or a significant other. But it makes it awkward for those of us without a date. Any table we sit at, now has a potentially empty seat left at it.
Or, even worse, if there's only the same number of seats as people coming, our choice of a table may mean a couple ends up sitting at two different tables because there aren't two seats left at the same table.
Most of the time, I'm okay with my single status. I would still like to get married, but I'm not going to let it keep me from enjoying life. I've gotten used to going out for dinner, going to a movie, showing up at any other work event, or any other number of activities by myself. And usually, I enjoy them.
But, there's something about the holidays, that challenges this. Something that causes me to be more uncomfortable showing up at events and parties alone. I'm not sure what exactly, but I've talked to enough singles to know I'm not alone in this. It seems to be a common struggle, that no one has an easy solution for. So, each year, I find myself opening that email at work, knowing the same struggles and feelings will come again.
As I've been writing this post, I've been trying to come up with a tidy way to conclude it - an easy solution that would fix this dilemma. But, I don't know if there is one. I think this might be one of those realities of life as a single person there is no easy answer to.
My thought is that the only thing we can do in these situations if show grace to one another. And do what we can to make sure everyone is welcome at our Christmas (and other) parties - whether they are single or have a guest to bring with them.
If you are single and have a solution to this problem, I would love to here it in the comments below. Or, if you're no longer single, but have something that worked for you when you were single, leave it in a comment below.