Anybody else here get treated like a leper around the holidays?

barb_bronzeNovember 22, 2005

It's bad enough to be excluded from many parties because one is a single, older woman, but sometimes my relatives treat me the same way.

Especially at Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving used to be when my brothers would go to their in-laws, and my family got together for Christmas. Years ago, my single friends and I would get together and have our own "singles Thanksgiving". Now I think I'm the only single one left and most have moved away. Now my brothers' in-laws are either gone or the dinner has moved to my brother's houses. My brothers live within half an hour of me.

I haven't heard from them yet and might still get invited for Thanksgiving at the last minute if some other relative reminds one of them that I'm alone.

The same thing happened last year, and I said thank you, but I'd rather stay at home.

This sounds totally pathetic! LOL!

Does this snubbing/forgetting happen to anybody else out there in singles land?

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Are your brothers spending the holiday with each other?
Do you talk to them very often through out the year?
Since you told them "thank you, but I'd rather stay at home. " last year, maybe they took the hint?
Do they know you are spending the holiday alone?
Are you going to put yourself out there, and invite yourself, or sit home and fume cuz nobody thought of you?

Have you thought about cooking a dinner and inviting other people you know will probably be alone?
Maybe a young couple who have no family near by?
Have I asked enough questions now? LoL

And, to answer your, I don't get treated like a leper, but it's only been 2 years for me. I even went out to a bar for my oldest son's 24th B'day. That is SO not me, but I felt I needed to step outside my box. He was thrilled that I'd show up, and so were his friends! They thought it was so cool. I had one drink, sat and chatted a bit, then went home and left them to party like crazy like young people should.

If you don't like the world you're living in, you have to change it yourself!


    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 7:28PM
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Yes, I understand this situation. I went through a long period of depression when my marriage finally completely fell apart. I was depressed during the end of the marriage and I had hoped that ending it would bring some happiness but I sank more deeply into depression instead. During that time I avoided people and in turn they avoided me.

I think the solution is to start to create your own social life. Start a book discussion group, invite people over for dinner parties. Celebrate your own life.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 7:51PM
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O.K. TinMan - you want us newbies to participate so here goes my 2 cents.
Barb - I'm mystified at your response to your brothers' asking you to Thanksgiving last year and you said "No thanks, etc." Huh? If I asked someone to join me and they said they would rather stay home - I would believe them and not offer again. I truly don't understand. Life is short, darn it. I suggest you call which ever brother or brothers invited you last year and just be honest and tell them you'd like to be included this year and what can you bring? I repeat - life is short.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Well, I must admit that I found most of your responses unsupportive, but that was partly my fault by not going into what I thought was too much detail.

I've been single all my life, and I'm 49. I used to have a VERY active social life, and my brothers know I still could if I felt like it, but they also know I've been seriously depressed for several years and haven't been going anywhere.

I call them once or twice a month. They never call me.

I can't drive, so transportation is a problem. Someone would have to get me, that's why I didn't want to burden anyone with having to deal with that problem. I have an aunt who lives near me who feels the same way, so we both agreed last year to stay at home and not make anybody come and pick us up and take us home.

My brothers haven't talked to me since I called them a few weeks ago, so I'm not privy to their plans. They rarely call me, and I don't want a pity invitation. I still would probably say no thanks, but don't you think it would be nice to be at least asked????

I won't sit at home and fume much, but not being asked holds a bit of resentment. I don't know anybody else who doesn't already have plans, so I can't start my own party.

I have been in a job temp situation for the past year, so I have no real work-related friends.

I had been a "party animal" for most of my life, and I am trying to get away from it. I know darned well that if I went to my old neighborhood pub, I'd get a few invitations right away, btu I don't want to "go there". I'm trying to change my life, and I understand that I need to start a new social life, but I stupidly thought I'd still have a family back-up. Obviously, I don't. I guess I burned them out over the years.

BarnMom is a bit closer to understanding me in my current situation. I believe I'm being avoided because I'm too depressing.

Yes, that's my fault. I just wondering if there were others out there feeling the same.

I guess I came to the wrong place, or at least this time with the wrong attitude. I understand that I'm feeling sorry for myself right now for a predicament I put myself in, and I'm sorry that I expected some sympathy.


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 1:55PM
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I've been single for many years, & I love the holidays:

They're the only days of the year when I feel like I can lie in bed all day long, watch tv, read a whole book, eat an entire pint of ice cream, paint the house....

and have dinner at the Waffle House!

By the same token, if I want company on the holiday, I never approach my family, they all have their own rituals: I volunteer for something. There's always a need for more hands to share the work at homeless shelters & food pantries, & it's exhilerating to sort of get out of yourself & make a difference to someone else.

Take care of yourself: depression is your enemy.

Force yourself to do something that gets the blood circulating. Oxygenation of the blood is one tremendous help in making those synapses fire more efficiently!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 9:34PM
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No one has never suffered from depression can fully understand how hard it is to be in this place. It's not a matter of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, when someone is depressed, the bootstraps are no where to be found. Depressed people find it hard to be around others even though that is the best thing for them and other people find depressed people well... depressing. So it is a self perpetuating cycle.

The sometimes scolding tone I find here is why I tend not to post often. Some people love being single. I do not. I think it sucks rocks. I deeply miss being part of a couple. I'm not a cheerful happy go lucky single person. Nor should I have to pretend I am here or anywhere else.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 12:43AM
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Ahhh, Sylvia, come sit here next to me! :o)

Sometimes being single is a tough row to hoe especially if it's not a chosen status. But hey, do SOMETHING about it and you're gonna feel better!

Do you like to read? Get a big stack of magazines and have them waiting for you on Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Memorial or etc.) Day. When you're done, bundle up the magazines and take them to your local nursing home, which is what I'm gonna do later today.

Like to eat? Go on a mini-diet to shed a few pounds, then gorge to your heart's content on chocolate, red wine, shrimp, whatever, on that day.

Like movies? Rent some DVDs or take yourself out to a movie marathon at your favorite theater.

If you feel compelled to be with your family today even if it's uncomfortable, then own that. It's your choice to do so. If you'd rather not go, then don't go!

I've spent nearly every holiday alone throughout my adulthood. It used to kind of suck until I got some happy routines in place and realized that I was responsible for my own situation.

There's no point in being morose about being single. If you want to be with someone, keep working at it until you find the right person. And yes, it is WORK! If you don't have the time/energy/patience/whatever, then accept that it's probably not the right time for you to be pursuing couplehood. No, it's not fair. But few things are.

If the depths to which you sink in your singlehood are so deep that you feel stuck, perhaps it's time to talk to a professional. There are medications and even vitamins to help. And do not discount the value of eating correctly and drinking enough water. It can make a world of difference.

OK. So now I'm off to listen to the rest of the latest Wesla Whitfield CD. I may just crack open the December issue of Real Simple, too. And later today, if I'm feeling really crazy, I might walk to Walgreen's and get myself a Hershey bar. Now that's my idea of enjoying the day! :o)


    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 2:13PM
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Being single can be difficult. I am bugged by those who say "get a social life!" Getting a social life is not that easy.

A lot of women use the church as their social outlet, but I'm not interested in being a Church lady.

My married friends admit to not having much of a social life outside of the family activities. Marriage & children comes with a lot of automatic "things to do". I've made a decision to try to create a social life for myself. I found a "how-to" guide on how to improve one's social life, and I'm going to try it. I may actually join a women's group. I have read that as we get older we should cultivate younger friends. But trying to create a social life that's not a part of a "couple" is difficult.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:25PM
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Yes it's difficult, but that's what we have to do. Get over this Thanksgiving fetish. It's just a day!!! To me, just a day off work, which I love. If I really want to go somewhere or be with people I find a way to make it work, if not, I'm fine with that too. If you're going to load it down with baggage, that's your choice. As for depression, I don't know much about dealing with it. I have to fight it myself. But BarnMom, you are aware of the viscious cycle of depression so all we can do is make a conscious choice to try and NOT let ourselves get sucked in. I don't know what the answer is, I think it varies. A depression support group, therapy, medication, inspirational reading, journaling, religion. All of these tools could work and more. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Perhaps taking time to count your blessings or spend time with others less fortunate? I don't know, I think Sylvia and Karen, rather than being scolding, are speaking from experience. Movement and activity releases endorphins that help with mood. If you resent our pep talks realize that we aren't just casually tossing these things off. We know it's hard and we know it's work. But it's the only option you have. Well, at least that's my take on it. How else can a caring friend help someone with depression? Ya know what depresses me, that people get depressed over the holidays! I think they are giving in to the most ridiculous Madison Avenue, materialistic pressures in our society that are fomented to keep folks incessantly feeling depressed and insecure so they will keep on consuming to fill the void that materialism creates with more of the same awful drug, that's what depresses me. I'm depressed because I didn't have a Norman Rockewell Thanksgiving, the turkey wasn't perfect, I only had ONE dessert and no appetizers, my inflatable lawn pilgrim wasn't as spiffy as the neighbors, and I didn't get invited to the cool parties out there. A grateful heart can show itself any day of the year! :-)

Here's what I'm thankful for:
I can pay my bills, at least this month, so I've got enough food, and a warm shelter, and hot and cold running water.
I didn't loose them to a natural disaster or war.
I don't have to fear for my life when I walk down the streets.
I have a family and friends who care about me.
I have generally good health.
I have my wits about me.
I was lucky enought to be born in the richest country in the world, ever.
Because of all of the above, I have wonderful options available to me, each and every day.

A hundred years ago, on a day like today, my grandmother could have been trying to escape the Cossaks who had come into the town to kill, beat, murder, rape and pillage. Or a little later, running for the bomb shelter as body parts of her neighbors were flying around. And she didn't have much family to invite for the holiday, 'cause the Nazis killed most of them after she left town. She could've been depressed, but she kept fighting it until the very end, and that was her final poke in the eye to all of it. Do not let the bastards get you down!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 9:43PM
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I apologize in advance, because this is going to be similary "unsupportive," but here goes ...

What makes you so sure that what is going on here is that you are "excluded from many parties because [you are] a single, older woman"? Are you really being treated as a "leper"? Or just as a drag? You say you don't want a "pity invitation," but it sure sounds like you do. In fact, it sounds like you don't even mind not being included as much as not being asked. But how often do YOU invite THEM? Of course it's harder for one to entertain many than vice-versa, but it's not impossible, and you don't need to do anything fancy or as big or as frequently as they could do (if, for example, financial situations differ) -- just an effort to show you're a giver, not just a taker.

Story 1: Many years ago, I had a single friend who used to complain frequently that married couples never include singles. I made a point of always inviting her to any party we gave, because I didn't want to be "treating her like a leper." It was a few years before I realized: SHE NEVER INVITED US out or over to her home -- not even once -- or even me separately. That's when I stopped inviting her to everything.

Story 2: When my father-in-law died, my mother-in-law complained that the married couples ignored her. The other widows in her condo were wonderful about calling her, though, and she did lots of things with them -- until the instant she got a new boyfriend; then she dropped them all with blinding speed, and they soon stopped calling her, too. I thought to myself, "What goes around comes around -- she'd better hope he never dies." And now he has, and she would rather complain that "everyone excludes widows" than pick up the phone and call friends -- couples or singles -- and see if someone wants to go out or even just come over and watch TV. But why should they call her if she never calls them?

Story 3: When my dad was in the later stages of Alzeheimer's, and then after he died, my mom made it a point to call her friends -- couples and singles -- and arrange evenings out a couple of times a week. Once a month, she gave a dinner party, mixing people who don't know each other well. She is CONSTANTLY busy, and she doesn't keep track of who invited whom -- but I know there are plenty of invitations and calls both ways. She is the most popular person I know, with both couples and singles of all ages.

Story 4: My husband and I took a page from her book and give parties now, too. Our guests include singles and couples, old and young -- the more of a mix, the better, in fact. The sole criterion is who would help make the conversation good. Ergo: fascinating, friendly single people are prized guests; selfish, boring couples are out. It's not just parties, either -- I call both couples and singles when it's time for a movie or dinner or whatever.

Do you see the point I'm getting at? People invite guests who are fun and interesting, and who reciprocate hospitality. Single or couples -- doesn't matter. Being single is no excuse for expecting always to be the invitee, for whining that you're being ignored, or for imposing guilt. Married people who commit these social sins soon find themselves "treated like lepers," too -- so don't assume that if you are lonely it is because others are cruelly excluding you because of your single status. Ask yourself honestly who YOU would rather include: someone who calls you once in a while him/herself, and who is a cheerful, low-mainenance guest when you do the inviting ("Sounds like fun! What can I bring? And do you want to go for coffee before then?"), or someone who answers the phone, "Oh, I haven't heard from you in ages. I thought you forgot about me. No, of course I'm free this weekend -- as usual, I'd just sitting here alone. Well, if you can get a ride for me, I guess I can try to come ... will you be serving anything I can eat?" You say, "I don't know anybody else who doesn't already have plans, so I can't start my own party." That's not a function of being single, it's a function of waiting until everyone else would have plans -- the same would happen if a couple waited too long to invite. Ditto transportation. I don't know if you are in a position to learn to drive, or if the distances are short enough to make an occasional cab practical, or not. But perhaps there would be a way to solve the transportation hurdle if that really is an obstacle, not an excuse.

The phone works both ways, folks. The way to have a friend is to be one.

Sorry for being so harsh, and for butting in where I may not be welcome, as I am not currently single. But we were all single once, and most of us will be again, willingly or not. I just wanted to offer "your married friend's point of view."

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 3:06PM
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"The phone works both ways, folks. The way to have a friend is to be one."

There it is.

World's full of friendly, interesting people. They're all around.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 4:25PM
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My sympathies to barb,the original poster of this note.

Being single without any family, I find the holidays the time of year when I am the most sensitive. Some of my friends with very busy lives often forget about me. I try my best to be pro-active and make my own plans so well in advance to prevent being overlooked. I had the reverse of the situation that you speak of in that some extended family members ONLY invited me over at some high holidays. I felt like the poor relation they felt pity for. They really didn't want to have much to do with me the rest of the year. So it was leper all year except during the holidays! AT first I accepted that, but over the years I felt no fruits came from my attempts to cultivate a relationship. It was frustrating. Eventually, I moved away. Once in a while we nicely, conveniently intersect but I try to have no illusions. The friends I have cultivated over the years mean more to me so I stick to them.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:19AM
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Well in an attempt to let people know there is someone else in the same boat im going to lay it all out here.

Im 21 from the uk and all my friends left for university well not all my friends my best friend i still see alot but hes not very outgoing at all, i think im loosing my sense of humour ive been alone so long, by that i mean now i haven't made any friends in such along time im very self conscious about how i act so i dont give the wrong impression about myself.

Christmas for me is really like most times of the year uneventful i usually spend it with family and even then i get the question of "when are you going to get a girlfriend?" like i haven't been trying, i dont think im a bad looking guy maybe just not very approachable.

But now i just wish i could spend some time going out with people, but i never get invited and becomming a part of people lives is so hard when then dont see the need to let you in.

I really do feel if things continue like this ill end being a character in Bridget Jones's Diary, i dont know maybe its just this time of year?
Seeing everyone busy themselves makes you feel pretty dettached from the world.

Hey look on the bright side though atleast your limbs aren't falling off!

Thanks for giving me the place to share.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 7:15AM
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i had an invitation for thanksgiving but declined to go. Didn't have one for xmas and wouldn't have gone if i had, no hurt feelings over it. i prefer to keep my own company, i don't stress myself out. LOL the only thing that bothered me was that my neighbor was cooking food on new years day and she looked so guilty, as a matter of fact when i asked her to help me adjust my sling straps she wanted to come to my house to do it. but i wouldn't let her since i wanted to check the mail box. i think she was getting together with the neighbors to celebrate the new year. i would at least like the chance to say no. LOL

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 9:14AM
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i'm a bit late on this one, but for what it's worth: i'm only alone if i want to be. otherwise, i open my house up and invited my best friends (and sometimes their best friends) in.

i did have a bad experience one year shortly after the divorce. i went to visit a couple who were our very closest friends. chatted with her in the living room and, when she went to the kitchen, i went to the garage to say hello to him. had done it many times before, but this time she came into the garage and said, "why are you out here talking to (name withheld)?" therefore, i'm a bit careful about inviting couples and make sure i'm on safe ground when i do. i enjoy both couples and singles.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:09PM
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I'll be honest with you all, I feel like if you are not invited to gatherings you need to take a serious look at your self for the answer. I did that and found I am a downer and a complainer. People want to be around happy people not someone who is always talking about their problems. I am a loner so it doesn't bother me to be home alone.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 5:42PM
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