When they aren’t worth it, maybe it’s time to reprioritize your friendship
I enjoy your column and hope you can help resolve this one. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I accepted an invitation to a New Year’s football party. The day before, our host called to say he wasn’t feeling well and was canceling the party. I felt so bad for him that I made some soup. And the day of the so-called cancelled party, my boyfriend and I drove over to leave the soup on his doorstep.
To my surprise, there were about 10 cars parked in front of his house. We could see people through the front window with drinks and munchies. The game was playing on his big screen. So we jumped back in the car and sped away.
I feel jilted and stunned. I thought this guy was a good (not close but good) friend and can’t believe he dis-invited us like that. My boyfriend says he has a right to invite anyone he wants, and I agree. But if that’s the case, he shouldn’t have extended the invite to me in the first place. I don’t know whether to confront him or write him off. We usually see each other at the gym, and I don’t know how to handle. Any ideas?
I want you to do some quick math and answer the following two questions,
1: How much effort do you want to exert toward your friend?
2: How much you value the friendship?
On a scale of 1 to 10 1 representing the least how much emotional effort do you want to invest in confronting your friend? Then by using the same scale, determine how important this friendship is to you.
If you find yourself on the 10 side of the scale, confront him with exactly what you saw and the fact that you were so concerned you were delivering him soup. Ask him to be honest. Ask him to tell you why he lied and why he felt the need to uninvited you to the party.
If you find yourself closer to 1 on the scale, go on with your life. Smile at him at the gym, but cut him lose: Don’t involve him in your life in any more.
If you find yourself in the middle of the scale, you might engage him in conversation at the gym and see if your friendship continues with him asking you over and vice versa. The closer you are to level 10 on the scale, the more open and vulnerable you will be with your friend. The lower you find yourself on the scale, the more guarded and closed you will be with your friend. Good luck.
A year ago, some good friends gave us an extravagant gift. In exchange, my girlfriend and I handed them a paltry candle and some homemade peanut brittle.
I felt awkward accepting the gorgeous Neiman Marcus-wrapped wine glasses, but I didn’t know what else to say. Of course, I have thanked them profusely and we remain good friends.
The thing is, my girl and I don’t drink wine, and these two glasses have been sitting in their pretty box since last year. My sister is getting married in March, and I thought these glasses would make an excellent wedding gift. I don’t want to hurt by friends’ feelings by giving the glasses away, but they would get some good use if I did. Should ask their permission before I do it or keep them? I can’t find the answer in any of the etiquette books
Misty (not my real name)
Telling your gift-giving friend that you want to give the wine glasses to your sister for a wedding gift would be rude at the least and uncomfortable at the most. It’s been a year since she gave the gift to you, and no one seems the wiser that you don’t drink wine but still have these exquisite wine glasses.
If you can’t think of a more appropriate wedding gift for your sister, and you would never use the glasses to serve your wine-drinking friends, then by all means give the wine glasses to your sister. But for Pete’s sake, don’t tell your sister you are giving her a recycled gift. Good luck.
Candy Marcum is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Dallas.
LECTURE: “‘MUPPET DIPLOMACY’
Gary Knell, CEO of Sesame Workshop, will talk about the worldwide efforts of “Sesame Street” and diverse muppet characters to help children learn and grow, understand the world and each other. “Sesame Street” is shown in 120 countries worldwide, with characters and emphases tailored to each country’s audience and special needs, from Kami, the HIV-positive Muppet in South Africa, pictured, to educational programs for girls in Egypt, where the women’s illiteracy rate is 60 percent.
Caruth Auditorium in the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the Southern Methodist University campus. Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. Free. 214-768-3090.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 10, 2006.
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