Life Advice



Single File: Life Support

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: It feels as if it's all up to me. As a single person, without a partner right now, I have to be the captain of my ship, making all the decisions and choices. I could use a little help. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: You feel that way because that's the way it is when you're without a partner to share the load. But you can handle things by yourself -- and handle them well -- when you put into place a support system. Designed by you, it is a network of specialists in the fields important to your life that puts within reach a personal galaxy of professionals prepared to supply the information and services necessary to you and your family. These are the resources you need to keep your life on an even keel, so it is up to you to fill in the names and phone numbers. When you've completed this single file, you'll have created more security for your family because you took the time to design it. By doing this work, you're ensuring a smoother, calmer future. (And when you migrate to coupled life, my sense is you'll design a similar file to meet the needs of your new life.) This one design can be the basis of your undependence, calming anxiety about the future somewhat and organizing your personal resources.

My suggestion is to include phone numbers for these people: your physician, the pediatrician, your pharmacy, your personal banker, the old girls network, your insurance agent, your attorney, your landlord, your next-door neighbor, your employer, your automobile club, takeout restaurants, the local police precinct, the local fire station, an ambulance service, a grocer, an all-night deli and the power/gas company. Of course, you can redesign this galaxy to fit your life; this is simply the starting point. Once you realize the order this file gives, you will no doubt change it to your heart's content. Having these names organized and readily available, you can go to a movie knowing the home front is prepared and safe. Post this information where it is easily seen, and show your sitter. Yes, dear reader, single life is all up to you, but luck favors the prepared mind.

DEAR SUSAN: I met someone at a bar. Not exactly a singles bar, it was in my neighborhood. He's a really nice guy, not much of a drinker (neither am I), but I'm a bit ashamed to tell my folks where we met. Should I make up a story to tell them? -- From the "Single File" blog


DEAR BLOGGER: No way. Parents are (should be) a strong support through all the stages of your life; don't ever let a lie come between their rock-solid confidence in their daughter. And don't let an old memory come between you and this really nice guy. You see, it used to be that unmarrieds found instant companionship with strangers at a singles bar, but one-night stands these days are as extinct as saddle shoes. Now it's the neighborhood bar that has stepped in to the role of go-between and put together many couples. The pub around the corner has become a tried-and-true meeting place, no longer associated with bad things. In fact, being a local "regular" is a way of becoming known as someone with a bright smile who's easy to talk with. (You might ask your folks to turn to Page 113 of my book.) Maybe your folks could go with you (and this new man?) to the bar in question and observe the people who create the pub's upbeat, nonthreatening atmosphere.


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.




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