You don’t have to.
You know that moment of silent relief you have when plans that you didn’t really want to have in the first place get cancelled? You’re trying to seem disappointed, but really you’re thinking how awesome it will be to just get home from work, put sweatpants on, and watch TV all night?
Don’t get me wrong—I HATE IT when people flake out on me. Flakey people are the worst people, so I try my best never to be that person. Buttttt……if they cancel the plans, it’s not on me.
This never used to be the case with me. I used to always have energy and drive. I love my friends and family and I always wanted to see someone and do something.
In the past couple of years though, I got tired. I realize how much work it is to maintain meaningful friendships, and, while I value time spent with good people—I also value sweatpants.
The best kind of people are the ones you can wear sweatpants to see without judgment.
They. Are. The. Best.
Now, I hope you know that I believe in being polite. I think there are too many rude and tacky people out there. I have been strongly tempted to mail Emily Post’s Etiquette to many, many people. (If you are dealing with a bridezilla—I seriously recommend buying her a copy of Emily’s Wedding Etiquette, but more on that in a later post.)
While kindness and thoughtfulness are key, those of you who know me understand that I also deal in the currency of blunt, honest straight-talk.
There is a difference between being a nice person and being a sucker. You don’t have to be a door mat to be a good friend.
These days, people seem to be so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or causing offense that they lose their voice and, sometimes, their will.
I don’t say this to make you feel guilty, but feeling guilty and doing things begrudgingly aren’t the same as being kind and thoughtful. Allow yourself to be continually guilt tripped and you will most likely end up becoming resentful.
Now, I’m no savior, but I am here to liberate you.
I want to let you know that YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
There are so many things you don’t have to do—too many to count, but here are a few:
You don’t have to like kale. You don’t have to EAT kale. You don’t have to lie about not eating it.
You don’t have to be skinny (you SHOULD try your best to be healthy though!)
You don’t have to go to that Tupperware or [insert new “sell from home product here] party.
You don’t have to go to the gym or run a 5k (although, you probably should find something you enjoy that gets you active).
You don’t have to go to grad school to feel like or BE an accomplished person.
You don’t have to maintain friendships with toxic people who aren’t worth your time.
You don’t have to want kids. If you don’t want them, you don’t have to HAVE them.
You don’t have to ogle over your friend’s kids or puppies. (Be polite though!!!)
I don’t mean to sound patronizing or stereotypical here. Women are so often told what they should or shouldn’t do or say or wear, and you don’t need me to state the obvious.
So—in your own head, think of that thing you’ve been asked to do, or that invitation you received for that event you REALLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYY don’t want to wake up early/state out late/shower for, and send a polite, declining email, text, Facebook message, snapchat, tweet, or IG comment. If you’re really an amazing person, you will make a phone call or send a hand written note. You don’t need to lie and make up 12 million “legitimate” excuses for why you can’t make it. You don’t need to be an asshole and say “I really think your baby is hideous and I don’t want to see it at his/her first birthday party” either.
A simple: “I’m sorry, I can’t make it” should suffice.
Since we’re all adults—the inviter should accept your negative RSVP, and not question you or demand to hear a good excuse.
If you like this person, make it a point to reach out shortly after said missed event, and try to make plans to get together. Or don’t.