Because we could spin off the Earth any minute now.
So, you have a single friend at the holidays. We strange creatures can be a little unpredictable. We’re happy-go-lucky and carefree one moment and hiding on our couch in the confines of our home the next. We’re trying hard to have a good attitude. We’re attempting not to punch people who ask us what we’re doing for New Year’s Eve. Our pants stopped fitting last week because we’re the only ones in the house to eat all the cookies we couldn’t help but make.
Don’t want to be a burden to anyone but we can feel horribly left out. We’re a prideful bunch. We might be a little sad here and there. In the spirit of decoding our potentially confusing behavior right now, here are some tips on what in the world you need to do with us.
For the love of God, invite us out.
We want to feel wanted. We have grown strong and resilient and independent. This does not negate the wonderful feeling of our company being wanted. Inviting us to come along on your shenanigans means getting off the couch and pulling ourselves away from Hallmark movies that are not helping our situation.
When we invite you out, go.
This may seem like an obligation. It is. You may not want to do anything and you may have something fantastically more fun to do. Understand that inviting you to be with us takes some courage and makes us face our neediness but revel in the fact that YOU are needed. You have no idea what being present for us means. It’s a lot. If you go, we go. Otherwise, we may get stuck on our couch and the couch is the devil’s playground. So are the cookies.
Do not put us at the kids’ table.
You would think this would be a given. It’s not. Do you want to see us totally lose our minds? Stick us next to Aunt Suzy’s spoiled brat, Charlie. As single people, the frequency with which we eat our dinner standing at our kitchen counter is kind of shameful. We use a lot of paper plates. Eating dinner in a civilized manner with other adults is a novelty. Don’t ruin it.
We know you’ll need to juggle some people around. Please do that. We feel unwanted enough as it is. Push us and little Charlie may end up with a dull butter knife in his hand.
Don’t put up with our crap.
Remind us of the great things in our life. We may not be able to see them right now. What we see if a perfectly decorated tree no one else is going to enjoy. We will get down. We will wallow. Don’t tolerate our bullshit. Tough love is okay if it comes from a good place. We’re not afraid of it. The love we have for ourselves is way tougher. Trust me.
Let us love you.
Not having a significant other to be there at the holidays means you’re up to bat. We need to feed someone. We need to make a pie for you. We need to buy you dumb gifts if they are even just a ridiculous magnet we saw at the half-priced book store. You don’t need to give anything in return. Just let us feel the value of giving. Take the darn pie.
Don’t set us up right now.
Oh sweet baby, Jesus. This is a horrible idea. Most people love the idea of being coupled up at the holidays…in a long-standing relationship where we don’t have to figure out if we have to get that person a present. Now is not the time to plant the seeds of love.
One year, my forever well-intended sister had a glass too many at Thanksgiving and called a mutual friend of ours in an effort to set us up by inviting him to come to spend Christmas with our family.
I immediately started planning how I was going to quit my job and move to outer Mongolia. I am pleased to report that I have successfully avoided seeing that mutual friend for the last 14 years.
Know that this is hard.
Writing this piece is hard. The massive amount of leftovers we have in our refrigerator because we made Thanksgiving dinner for eight people when there was only one of us is hard. The quiet is hard.
Help us keep that emptiness at bay. The space that’s there is actually so small that you have no idea how much the smallest of actions can fill it. We do. We fill it every day. Sometimes, it just takes one more small pile of dirt. If you don’t have a shovel, you can borrow mine. I’ve broken it in.