The Plus One

It’s official, your friend/family member/colleague is getting married and you know you are getting an invitation! Inevitably, you begin to wonder, “Will I get a plus one? Who should I bring?” After all, weddings are fun and who does not want to have a date to bring out on the dance floor? It is definitely something we are all guilty of, but before we get ahead of ourselves, there are things to consider.

For most couples, the guest list is difficult to put together and even more difficult to cut down. Between big families and a lifetime of friendships made, there are a lot of people to consider and of course, a budget to follow. With the cost of weddings today, many couples are opting to not give their single friends a “plus one.” In the couple’s defense, it is their wedding day and they should have the people that mean the most to them there. As much as I hate to say it, that likely does not include your special someone who they still have not met or barely know.

With that in mind, how do you know if you have a plus one? Well, if the invitation is addressed to:

  • Your Name + Another Name (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith and Mr. Bob Jones): This clearly states you are invited with your significant other and that individual is your plus one. If your co-invitee is unable to attend this does not mean you should invite someone else in his/her place. As noted, the invitation is specifically for the two of you. Along the same lines, if you are invited to an event this way and you and your co-invitee end your relationship, you should not invite someone else in his/her place. (For a related scenario and how to deal with it, read my previous post)
  • Your Name + Guest (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith and Guest): Woohoo, you have a plus one and your guest is up to you! In that vein, think carefully about who you invite. Typically, the “and Guest” is for you to bring a date/significant other. I advise against using this plus one to bring another friend who knows the couples, but did not make the invite list. For whatever reason, that individual was not given his/her own invitation and that decision is for the couple to make. If you do not have someone you want to invite as a date, it is perfectly acceptable to R.s.v.p. for yourself only. Think of it this way, if you do not bring a plus one, you are giving the couple the opportunity to invite someone else they wanted to include, but were not able to under the current budget or venue capacity.
  • Your Name (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith): This invitation is solely meant for you. In this case, it is never appropriate to R.s.v.p. and add a guest or contact the couple and ask to bring a guest/plus one. The couple has made their list and you should respect their wishes. Again, these decisions are majorly driven by budget and venue capacity. Weddings are stressful enough and you adding surprises to the guest list is an unneeded complication for the couple to tackle, not to mention pay for when it may not be something they cannot afford.

Overall, I urge you to remember, this is not about you. If you are single and you do not get a plus one, it is not to make you feel bad. Who knows, maybe there is a large group of singles attending and you will be placed at an awesome table with fun people! So, dive head first into celebrating the couple. Attempt to push aside all the inevitable feels you get about being single and have fun with the friends/family you know who are also attending! Look in the mirror, smile, and remember you are crushing it in your own right even if that does not include a relationship at the moment!

Cheers y’all!

AB

Set It Up, Minus the Netflix Ending

How many of you have been on a date setup by friends? You know, the ones that typically start with your friend saying, “I know someone I think you will like, you two should go out!” Probably a lot of people (me included), but how many people have gone on one of those dates and had it actually work out leading to more dates or even a relationship? (Also, 🙋). I truly hope for everyone who has experienced this success they are now in wonderful relationships! For those of you in the less successful crowd (do not worry, I also join you there, more than once actually.. 😳🤦‍♀️😂), what do you do when you have been setup by friends and it does not turn out successful?

For this, there are a few scenarios… If it was just one date and you do not hit it off, it is a pretty easy situation to handle (see my suggestion in an earlier post) and when handled correctly, everything should be fine! BUT what if the date went great and you actually started seeing each other, doing things with the friends who introduced you, introducing him/her to your other friends, etc. and then things go south? Well…

  • How do you tell the friends who introduced you? It is more than likely one of you knows the friend(s) better than the other. If this is the case, the individual who knows the friend(s) better should be the one to let them know. And yes, you should let them know. It may not be easy to talk about a breakup, and you can even say you prefer not to get into the details, but it is better for your friend to hear it from you rather than word of mouth, social media, etc.
  • Who “gets custody” of the friends? (let’s be real, having humor is the only way to get through these things) This can become a bit of a sticky situation, but my thoughts on this are in line with who should tell your friends about the relationship ending… Whoever came into the relationship with the friendships gets to keep them on the exit. This can be hard to come to terms with because you may have developed friendships on your own aside from the person who introduced you, but the last thing you want to do is put a friend in the middle. If you have formed a good friendship with your ex’s friend(s), I suggest letting the friend(s) reach out to you. If the friend initiates continuing the friendship, then I think it is fair game. One caveat to this – leave your ex out of it, in all ways. Bad mouthing your ex, or even going into personal details of him/her/the relationship, to your mutual friend(s) only leaves you in a poor light and potentially puts the friend(s) in the middle. If you do not think you can handle being friends with the same people without talking about your ex, you may want to reconsider.
  • What about future plans already made? This is where it really gets tough. If you had plans to attend a friend’s (one your ex “won custody of”) gathering together, I highly recommend gracefully backing out. Depending on how close you became with this person, you can send a card with your well wishes but I suggest leaving it at that. Similarly, if you had invited your ex to an upcoming family function, wedding, etc., it is perfectly acceptable to reach out and change your R.s.v.p. You do not have to give details about what happened, you can simply say “_____ is no longer able to attend. I apologize for the inconvenience, but appreciate you making the change.”

So, there you have it. This is never fun, but it happens so it is best to handle things with grace. Keep your head up and definitely keep dating.

Cheers y’all!

AB

Ghosting: Why is this a thing?

We have all been there… You have been having an ongoing conversation over messenger on a dating app, gone out and had a great first date, or even been on several dates, all for your perspective “future someone” to go silent. For the long term. Ladies and gentlemen, you have officially been ghosted. This behavior has now become so popular, it has it’s own name and honestly, this is not a good thing. What this truly comes down is poor dating etiquette and immaturity. But I encourage you not to lose faith because this phenomenon can truly be fixed!

  • You have been having an ongoing conversation over messenger on a dating app
    In this scenario, I simply think ghosting happens because individuals are communicating with too many prospects at once. They lose track of conversations and forget with whom they potentially have plans or they go out with someone of interest and then “fall off” all other conversations. As much as I hate to say this, this is all part of the numbers game that is online dating. For my tips on how to combat this, read “The Real Life that is Online Dating.”
  • You have gone out and had a great first date
    A large part of meeting someone on a dating app is actually making it to the first date. While you may have great conversations over messenger, it is completely possible that you will not hit it off in person. Similarly, if you met “in the wild” (thanks GGE) and your first date is the only face-to-face time you have spent with this person, you may realize you do not “click” with the person. If either of these are the case, it is OK to be honest with your date. If he/she asks you out again and you are not interested in going, simply decline the date in a kind way. Just because you do not know someone very well, does not mean you should ignore them. Also, do not come up with an excuse (something along the lines of “Oh, I am really busy coming up and I am not sure when I will be free”) because this inevitably just puts off the person to follow-up with you at a later time.
    In a slightly different scenario, if you were setup on a date by a mutual friend/colleague, you definitely need to be honest about your experience. It may be awkward to tell your friend he/she missed the mark on “picking your type,” but it is inevitable that you will see this date in other social settings so keep everything friendly!
  • You have been on multiple dates with the same person
    If you have gone on multiple dates, but you realize this person is not someone you are romantically interested in, have the maturity to have that conversation with him/her. Talking about this face-to-face or even on the phone is typically uncomfortable because no one wants to hurt someone else’s feelings, but I promise you will be glad for having done this. Simply be kind and honest with the person. It does not have to be a long explanation, it can truly be something like, “I have been enjoying getting to know and as I have, I realize this feels more like a friendship to me. I feel bad saying this, but I want to be honest with you and not lead you on.” He/she will appreciate your honesty in place of wondering why they simply never heard from you again.

In my personal opinion, ghosting happens as a result of our lack of in-person communication due to our reliance on technology, leading to our lack of accountability to others. My challenge to everyone is simple, remember the wise words we were taught when we were young, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” Sometimes doing the hard thing also means doing the right thing, and when it comes to other people’s feelings and emotions, I encourage you to do the right thing.

For those of us who have been ghosted and left not knowing how to feel, I leave you with this: Look on the bright side – do you really want someone who acts like that to be part of your life? Count your blessings and be glad he/she made an exit 😉
If you are still having trouble getting past being ghosted, check out this read!

Cheers y’all!

AB

The Real Life that is Online Dating

In a world where swiping is the norm, I have begun to wonder what is the actual success rate of online dating? As a Family Science major in FMSC260 (shout out to my Terps!), I learned the majority of couples meet through mutual friends; a statistic that is now being challenged by online dating. Evidence can be shown for the success of online dating, but as a twenty-something I continuously hear about the frustrations faced with online dating. The largest complaints being, “I have conversations that never go anywhere” and “He never ended up confirming the date.” So, let’s tackle these!

  1.  I have conversations that never go anywhere.
    • As much as we want to believe everyone is out there looking for his/her special person, the reality is that everybody is using the app for a different purpose. Some people are looking for actual relationships while others are looking for something only physical, and some are just looking to fill their free time. For those of you who are stuck in the endless text conversation, it is likely you have encountered someone who is looking to fill his/her free time, but not actually invest time in another person. The other possibility may be you have encountered someone who does not have much dating experience and may not know exactly how to ask you out in person.
    • So, how do you combat this? Keep conversations going for a suitable amount of time, but get to the point. After exchanging messages for whatever length of time you feel comfortable with and think you would like to meet this person, shift the conversation to making plans. If you do not feel comfortable outright asking, then lead with something like, “Do you have fun plans for the upcoming weekend?” and gauge how to move forward from his/her response. It will either cue that person to ask you about plans or if you get a positive response, will open the door for you to ask about getting together!
    • Remember: Just because you have a great conversation over messages, does not necessarily mean you will connect in person. If you feel like it is better to talk with the person a bit more before meeting, ask to give him/her a call! Oh my gosh, I know – actually pick up the phone?! Say what?! Trust me, it works. If you can hold a real-time conversation with the person while on the phone, it will gauge your potential for an in-person meet-up!
  2. I have plans tomorrow! Wait, I think I do… do I?
    • Real life example (names changed to protect the innocent!): During the week, Grant asked Cary to meet up for tacos on Sunday. Cary happily agreed! Saturday night got here and Cary had not heard anything from Grant, she started to wonder about her Sunday plans. Sunday morning passed, lunch time arrived, and still nothing from Grant… Cary figures this date is not happening and now she is left frustrated for having set her schedule to be able to meet Grant for tacos, and for wasting time she could have spent with others.
    • Not cool taco man! This happens far too often in the online dating scene… Here are my suggestions:
      • So, your conversation has been going well and he/she finally(!) asks you about getting together! You enthusiastically agree and then the talk about free dates/times begins. In the initial conversation, the date and time (or at least time frame) for the date should be set. If the two of you are looking into options for what to do, that is OK, just make sure you have a set date and time frame!
      • The evening before the date, the initiator of the date should send a text to confirm the plans for the next day. At the absolute latest, the confirmation should be made early on the day of the date (this is really only if your date is in the evening). If you do not hear from the person confirming the date, you are NOT obligated to go on the date.
        • For example, say Grant had sent a message at 5:00pm on Sunday for “dinner time” plans – it is perfectly acceptable to reply, “I had not heard from you so I did not think we still had plans. How about we set another date/time that will work for both of us?”
        • Say Grant texts you the next day striking up a casual conversation, you are allowed to express your dissatisfaction, just make sure you do it in an honest, respectful way. For example, “Thanks for reaching out, but I have to say I am a bit surprised. We had plans to get tacos last night, but I never heard anything from you.”
        • If you do not hear from Grant, that is just plain rude on his part and short of him having an actual emergency, move on. Stay tuned for a new post, “Ghosting: Why is this a thing?
      • I realize some people will 100% disagree with me on these ideas and that is OK. Ultimately, this is all up to personal preference and how flexible you are; however, in being courteous to others and respectful of someone’s time, a confirmation (or cancellation for that matter) should be made within a reasonable time frame (typically 24 hours). Think of it as setting a precedence from the beginning for what type of common courtesies you expect!

With all that in mind, keep swiping my friends, but do so mindfully, honestly, and respectfully!

Special thanks to my own friends for allowing me take our real life examples and share how we deal with them!

Cheers y’all!

AB

Sharing the Love!

Photo Credit: Parrot Design Studio

Photo Credit: Parrot Design Studio

In honor of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, I am sharing the love this week and highlighting some of my favorite etiquette experts and notable figures for their Valentine’s Day articles. Here are my top 5 picks – There is a little something for everyone no matter how you are celebrating this year!

  1. All My Single Ladies! Check out “Cupid’s Corner: The Single Girl’s Guide to Valentine’s Day” by Allison Norton of LaurenConrad.com
  2. It’s Just a Date – If you are going out with someone new or it is just a date for the evening, read “Dating Etiquette: 7 Ways to Engage in Intellectual Foreplay on Valentine’s Day” by Jacqueline Whitmore
  3. For the Couple – Be sure to read “7 Commons Mistakes Couples Make on Valentine’s Day” by Jacqueline Whitmore
  4. Girl’s Night In! Get some great ideas from “A Valentine’s Dinner Party with Your Girlfriends” by Diane Gottsman
  5. And for all the gentlemen out there, read a great article from Good Guy Swag titled “Valentine’s Day Checklist: 5 Things to Make it Instaworthy” by Kris Wolfe

Wishing you all a wonderful day full of love, laughter, and lots of pink! Happy Valentine’s!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra