I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a week, but I haven’t quite figured out how it’s going to go yet. So on this lovely Thursday morning you are getting a stream of consciousness. Averaging about 5.5 hours of sleep a night this week means this should be interesting.
I’ve been thinking about plus ones a lot lately. The plus ones that show up on your dinner party invite that shows up in your inbox or the wedding invitation sent to your front door. At what point do you start always giving somebody a plus one? At what point do you assume you’re getting a plus one? And at what point is it okay for you to start asking for a plus one?
I also want to preface this by saying that this is not a discussion of when you feel comfortable bringing a plus one to an event. For the purposes of the discussion below, it is assumed that your plus one is somebody that you would like to incorporate more into your life.
For the past few years I’ve always put plus ones included on invitations – I’ve prefaced it as boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés, fiancées, husbands, and wives are all more than welcome to join. More recently, I’ve realized that this should extend to friends as well – just in case it turns out someone doesn’t know anyone at a party because of how the RSVPs fall.
If you’re planning on showing up with a plus one, RSVP-ing is not optional. As far as I’m concerned RSVP-ing is never optional, but especially if you’re showing up with an additional guest. That alone could justify buying an extra bottle of alcohol or extra pound of pasta (depending on the people).
As somebody who’s been single for the majority of her life I definitely understand that there is a time and place to show up to things alone. Everybody doesn’t always want my plus one there – and quite frankly, I don’t always want my plus one there. The question is when is the right time?
I’m sure that the correct answer to this is to ask the host or hostess of the party. “Hey would you mind if I brought so-and-so along?” – but that might only work if you know the host pretty well, and it’s usually the parties that you don’t know the host very well that you probably feel like you need the plus one.
And then there are the couples that start dating where it automatically becomes known that the plus one gets an invite. And in the instance that you were originally friends with both parties, that’s an okay thing, but when you just want to see your friend there’s no real good way to navigate the conversation of “hey, can you come without so-and-so this time?” – I digress.
The same rule probably applies to family holidays. “Hey Aunt so-and-so, would you mind if I brought so-and-so along to the party?” – which I might try next year. In a family that doesn’t actually discuss relationships or real-life at holiday parties, it’s confusing to understand what the right point is to start bringing somebody along. And most of my invitations tend to come through my mother, so I never quite understand the lay of the land because I’m hearing everything third- or fourth-hand. I guess maybe Christmas would be a good time to mention that there is the possibility of me wanting a plus one for the next event.
And then we get to the wedding stuff. I don’t really care if I get a date to a wedding or not, at this point I’ve gone to a good number of them alone. I did, however, run into an awkward situation last year where I RSVPed multiple times with multiple answers about whether or not I was bringing a date based on the other RSVPs for the event. My goal is to never be that guest again.
I’m sure I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be. (Did you see my Circle of Brunch post earlier this week? You should have known it was hopeless from there.) It’s just uncharted territory right now and I’m not exactly sure how I should be navigating it.
I guess maybe this is why making it Facebook official is important, but that’s a story for another day.
So I ask you, when did you start bringing a date to things? Did you have to ask somebody or was it just understood that you would get an invite? Was there different protocol for taking a plus one to a family event vs. a friend event? And no, I won’t be offended if you tell me I’ve completely overthought this. What else is new?
PS. The winner of yesterdays’ greeting card giveaway was Kevin. I’ll send the card your direction tomorrow!
PPS. Enter tomorrow’s card giveaway to win this 2015 card by leaving a comment on this post. And let’s face it, I need the advice.