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‘I like being single but dread going to weddings. What can I do?’

Ask Roe: ‘I find it hard to psych myself up for a day of mingling – and some standing alone’

Dear Roe,

I'm a 31-year-old woman who enjoys being single except for when I have to go to weddings alone.

Although I am happy for my family and friends, and have no desire to have a wedding of my own, I find it really difficult to psych myself up for a long day of mingling – and, inevitably, some time standing by myself.

I go on solo holidays regularly, and to countless parties, but I find weddings really difficult. They feel made for couples. When I was younger I would sometimes ask one of my single friends to go with me, but I have hardly any single friends now.


Is there anything I can do to get over this?

Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s vice-president, famously says he won’t dine alone with any woman who is not his wife, nor attend events that serve alcohol without her present. I’m guessing you’re not Mike Pence. He’s not my typical reader, surprisingly. And if you aren’t Mike Pence, and he isn’t part of your social circle, then there’s no reason that your plus-one to a wedding has to be a single friend.

If you have a close male friend who is attached but would make the whole event much more enjoyable and comfortable for you, then bring him along. You already know that your plus-one doesn’t have to be a romantic interest, which is why you were happy to bring a platonic single friend along with you to weddings in the past.

It is entirely possible for people – even, if you can imagine, one attached person and one single person – to socialise without anything untoward happening

Because, despite Mike Pence’s fears, it is entirely possible for people – even, if you can imagine, one attached person and one single person – to socialise without anything untoward happening. So your plus-one’s relationship status has no bearing on the matter. Nor does your plus-one’s gender, by the way. If bringing your best girl mate along would be an even better option, tell her to get her glad rags on.

If the couple getting married have invited you to their wedding it’s because they want you to share their celebration. And if they’ve offered you a plus-one, it’s so you can bring someone along to help you enjoy the day. It’s not to enforce a bizarre, heteronormative mating ritual where only opposite-gender couples are acknowledged as human.

Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. If you do have any fear that the newlyweds would have a problem with your bringing along a female friend, feel free to mention it casually when you next see them, or even in a text. “Hope the planning is going well. My friend Kate is coming along as my plus-one/wingwoman extraordinaire, and we’re so looking forward to it! See you soon!”

Trust me, every wedding has someone who has just broken up with their plus-one, and has brought a back-up date along instead. There’ll be same-sex couples, too. So nobody will notice or care.

And if, occasionally, you don’t have a plus-one, treat it like your solo travels. I, like you, love travelling on my own. I love the freedom of getting to explore a new city or country at my own pace, of feeling independent and free and a bit anonymous – but also enjoying those lovely unexpected moments with strangers. I love eating great food, watching people, taking a million photos. I love not having to deal with anyone’s expectations of me, and choosing only experiences and interactions that are fun or interesting. My friends and family are now used to my disappearing and are usually excited for me.

Enjoy dressing up and swanning around a pretty venue. Chat with bartenders and strangers and tablemates. Take a million photos and send them to the bride later

But then I went to Paris. The city of love. The beacon of romance and coupledom and kisses on the Seine and proposals at the top of the Eiffel Tower. And I was going on my own? For the first time, while sharing my travel plans, I got the head tilt. The vaguely pitying head tilt. The vaguely pitying head tilt women can get when they go solo to places “made for couples”. Places like Paris. Places like weddings.

You are braver than the people who give the head tilt. You know your worth isn’t defined by the presence of a romantic partner, and you don’t limit yourself in the absence of one. You travel. You look at roads some people wouldn’t dare to walk alone and you skip down them, excited for what you’ll discover there. You embrace your life and adventures and the unknown with arms wide open, and you don’t need anyone’s permission.

Bring that sense of adventure to weddings. Be your brave, experience-embracing travelling self.

Enjoy dressing up and swanning around a pretty venue. Chat with bartenders and strangers and tablemates, and politely exit those interactions if they’re not fun or interesting to explore some more. In the quiet moments, enjoy another slice of cake and people-watch like you do in foreign cities. Take a million photos and send them to the bride later. She’ll love that.

Focus on who you are right now instead of worrying about other people’s expectations of you. Bask in your friends’ newly wedded bliss, and enjoy it, because love and fulfilment are wondrous. That includes self-fulfilment, and love for yourself, which you have. Enjoy that romance. It’s vastly underrated, and pretty magic.

I visited the Eiffel Tower. It was night-time, and the tower was glittering with lights. I stood right underneath it, gazing up at that beautiful architectural web until my neck hurt.

Imagine, some people will never experience that head tilt solely because they can’t imagine adventuring alone, don’t understand that love is bigger than partnered romance, think that some places are only made for couples. Not us.

If you have a problem or query you would like Roe McDermott to answer, you can submit it anonymously at