The weekend: the friend and foe of independent singles

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The intensification of friendship networks among independent singles is considered ‘the pleasure offered by the single life’ and the sociability, rather than
domesticity, of this life stage is often emphasised. This paper reports on
interviews with independent singles from affluent areas which suggested that
accompanying this cultural norm of sociability was the relentless onus of temporal organisation required for interpersonal synchronisation with friends. While not retracting their enjoyment of the single life, respondents expressed a distinct and distinctive sense of risk or vulnerability of spending too much time alone, particularly at the weekend. It is argued that, on the one hand, the relative
absence of paid work at the weekend removes the structures that constrain the
participation in and the temporal location of joint leisure practices during the
week. On the other hand, the absence of employment structuring people’s day
increases unpredictability about other people’s whereabouts, whenabouts and
their availability for shared practices. In response to this dilemma – that is, the
weekend as the primary site for sociability met with uncertainty of others’ availability – independent singles responded in a number of ways to secure temporal arrangements with others, safeguarding themselves against the ‘built-in hazards’ of being single and finding themselves home alone at the weekend.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-201
Number of pages17
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Early online date28 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • independent single
  • weekend
  • temporal organisation
  • leisure
  • friendship


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