I recently got engaged, friends of ours recently got married, and it seems like everyone in our immediate circle is paired up - except for one person. If I'm having these friends over, is it bad manners to invite the single friend, who will probably not have a date? Should I tell her she's going to want to bring someone? Should I ignore the fact that she'll be the odd lady out and say nothing? Should I try to invite another single friend? Should I avoid the whole thorny issue and just invite a few couples and leave her out?
I'd love to see my friend, but I really don't want her to be uncomfortable. What is the path of least awkwardness?
Let me speak from experience here: single people do not like feeling left out. It's bad enough to sometimes feel like everyone but you is happily partnered up, but it's ten times worse to feel like your friends have abandoned you for strip bridge tournaments or extreme tandem bike riding or ecstatic square dancing, or whatever it is that couples go off and do together.
By all means, invite your single friend. She'll be happy to be invited, and she'll have the satisfaction of deciding whether to come. And that satisfaction can come in many forms - showing up and not giving two seconds' thought to the fact that she doesn't have a date; deciding herself to decline the invitation because she's sick of hearing your friends compare PMI rates and the waitlist for prestigious nursery schools; or showing up with stories of her fantastic single life, and leaving to go clubbing at 10pm when the rest of you are heading home to pajamas and Tivo.
Generally, my advice to you would be to say nothing. However, if your friend is someone who has come to parties before and complained that there are no single people, then sure - let her know that she's welcome to bring a date or some friends along.
Inviting other single people is fine - but don't invite them just because they're single, and for the love of God, don't try playing matchmaker. If two people fall in love at one of your parties, it will likely have nothing to do with you. No one wants to feel like they're suddenly on a date with a stranger in front of a crowd of people. The odds of them both liking each other? Slim. The odds of at least one of them spending the night silently appalled that you thought THAT'S someone you thought they'd be interested in? Practically guaranteed.