If you’re in your late 20s to mid-30s, chances are good a bulk of your friends (and possibly you yourself!) are heavily boo’d up. Cool, congrats! As such, it’s totally normal to default to inviting other couples out for drinks, over for board games, and on group trips. In the case of the latter, it even makes financial sense: Couples can split the price of one room in the Airbnb, various meals, and so on. But what about your single friends? They have air miles to burn, too—and they don’t have to consider a whole second human’s schedule or ask permission. So this summer, even if you’re in a relationship, add a few single friends to the group-vacation-planning e-mail chain.
When it comes to vacation, single people really get screwed over. For couples, singles exist as invisible orbs until tethered to a second human. I recently started dating someone, and since then I’ve enjoyed a deluge of coupley invitations. Where were these overnights in the Blue Ridge mountains or weekend getaways to New Orleans earlier this year?
Sure, not every single person wants to spend precious, non-working hours sandwiched on a couch between smoochin’ duos, no matter how beautiful the beach balcony view. But as one-half of a couple that still presumably enjoys and respects your single friends, you have an obligation to at least pass along the invite. It’s the same courtesy as providing each wedding guest with a plus-one option. They can always pass, but you shouldn’t make that decision for them. Go one step further: Ask the single person in question if they want to bring another friend. They can always split bills and/or sleeping accommodations like a couple. I brought my single pal Kellie as my “date” during a group glamping trip last month, and we spent the whole time smoking weed while the couples hiked. Guess who had more fun? Us. We did.
Money is an obvious difference during group trips when single vs. coupled. Paying $200 for a motorbike rental, when couples shell out $100 each to share a scooter, can be a turn-off for some singles. But—and this is wild, so bear with me—what if we stopped assuming that’s a dealbreaker? Instead of booking a three-bedroom cabin for seven people, leaving the sole partner-free person to languish on a very public futon or a creepy bunk bed, how about not settling on a place until you find one with four adult-sized beds? Of course, couples will need privacy, but who is to say your single pal won’t pack a vibe and therefore need space, too? Being single may be more expensive, but I know plenty of loaded single people who would still love an invitation.
Single friends are good for more than just telling tales of modern dating horror at parties (thus making you far more smug in your current relationship). They’re fully formed people with non-dating anecdotes who can also cook the hell out of some communal breakfast. You’re friends with them because you like them, and isn’t it so fun to spend time in exotic locales with people you like?
If you’re in doubt about whether your friend wants to join you on couple outings, try this one weird old trick: Ask them. After a friend of mine went through a crazy breakup, I continued inviting her over for dinners, even though I was seeing an angsty man-boy with a wizard beard and he was usually around. I didn’t want her to feel left out, so I kept it up till she politely explained she wasn’t in the brain space to enjoy time with couples. On the other hand, I’m thrilled every time my married friends Ashley and Jonny offer to make me pizza at their house, even if I am rolling up stag. And I love being on a regular group text with my engaged pals Mike and Mina. Just as couples and what they like to do differ, so do single people’s preferences.
It’s presumptuous and gross to decide your single friends would fixate on a vacation as “OMG, I’m the seventh wheel” versus “Oh, shit! Marinating in a mountainside hot tub sounds dope as hell.” As long as you’re still including your single friends in conversations, restaurant decisions, and so on, it shouldn’t matter that they’re there alone. Plenty of single people choose the solo life because they want to, not because they can’t lock down an S.O. Plus, sitting away from your spouse during meals or lounge time won’t kill you; I hear you can always make up for it every other day of your shared lives. It’s a nice opportunity for couples to practice autonomy.
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