Lesson 36: All we need is love. And a seat at the table.

wine toast

There are lots of articles out there that will tell you anything from how to dress, to what men or women want in bed, to what not to say to single friends (Arricca Elin SanSone’s “10 Things Never to Say to Singles” is a great one) – but I haven’t seen much out there on what we single people actually DO need.

I think it’s pretty simple, although sadly, I can’t seem to find it for myself.

When you’re single, your friends ARE your family. Especially if, like me, your nearest real family member is 500 miles away. And when that “family” doesn’t include you for holidays, on long weekends, or keep in touch when their lives are full – it can really hurt. Not just because you’re alone while everyone else is off dealing with their own family dramas (trust me, I know it’s not utopia) – but because sometimes, you can’t help but wonder why. Like, am I not a good enough friend? Is there something so annoying about me that keeps others from extending an invitation? It’s especially hard to ignore those awful doubts when you see others who ARE included.

Last night I witnessed two such acts of kindness.

One was at the home of complete strangers as I dropped off my Saturday yoga date. Rich is in his mid-thirties, single, and following our post-yoga brunch, got a last minute dinner invite from his college buddy, Jason. Jason’s family lives on Long Island and I was headed out there myself, so I was happy to give Rich a ride.

I barely know Rich, but was instantly welcomed by his friend’s family in the five minutes I was there. They invited me to stay with such sincerity that I wished I could. The warmth and caring in that home made me ache to feel that I belonged somewhere. They felt like people I could call home, at least until I am fortunate enough to create my own family. Unfortunately, I was expected down the road at a dinner party with a girlfriend and her circle of friends.

I don’t have much in common with these women, but they are all so kind and welcoming to me every time I see them. And their devotion to each other is touching. One woman in particular, Sarah, spoke about how amazing her neighbor, Diana, has been through her turbulent marriage and divorce. Sarah now lives alone in this big, empty house – but she’s not alone. Diana and her husband Alan treat Sarah like family: they walk her dog when she works late, have her over to weather storms and power outages together with candlelit games of Monopoly and wine, and fix her plumbing without her asking.

Sarah seemed very grateful for their love and help, and I don’t blame her. I’d kill for friends like that. To feel that I belong somewhere. By contrast, I’ve spent every NYC natural disaster or terrorist act alone – minus one (thank you, Andi Denney).

I drove home in tears, wondering what I’ve done so wrong to lack people, even just one friend, that would include me that regularly in his or her life.

We are all capable of so much love and care, and it really doesn’t take all that much to make someone feel less alone. An extra invitation to the movies or a seat at the table can make the world of difference to your single friends. Not to mention how it can help them feel more loved and hopeful. Especially since they say you can’t attract what you don’t already feel inside.

Like the flame of one candle when you light a second, the first candle doesn’t go out – in fact, the flame gets bigger. Try it – it’s kind of cool.

So if you truly love, and want love for your single friends, all you really need to do is share some of what you’re already blessed to have. It could go a long way.

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