If you’re an introvert like me you probably know how getting out of the house takes tremendous effort.
First you have to convince yourself that it will be good for you. Second, you need to mentally prepare yourself to be surrounded by energy which will drain you beyond belief.
Don’t get me wrong.
Getting out is healthy, and can certainly be fun. In fact, it’s been something I’ve been striving to do more of since working from home.
I have found that meeting with people every once in a while is good for me, my motivation and my writing.
Now get this.
Rather than the usual weekday lunch or coffee, I decided to call up my college friend to see if she wanted to go listen to some music at a Sunday afternoon show.
It was very out of character for me to think or do such a thing. After all, the weekend was always reserved for my family.
But not this time.
Day after day, week after week and year after year I see my husband and my kids not thinking twice of doing things for themselves. It’s time I start to live my life too.
Nobody told me to live for others but it seems like that is all my brain knows to do.
Since an early age my goal was to please my parents, then my teachers, then my spouse, then my boss and now my kids. I have a hard time not staying busy in order to please others.
But who’s wanting to please me?
It actually sounds pretty ridiculous so now I wonder why I succumb myself to such a way of life. I can’t live depending on others’ approval for my happiness.
So I decided things needs to change.
And the change starts with myself.
I called my friend to go out on a Sunday.
And this time, there would be no guilt attached.
She immediately said yes and was pleasantly surprised with the invitation, checking to see if I wouldn’t rather take my kids or husband instead.
That’s just it.
Just because I have a family, it doesn’t mean I always have to do something with them.
I love them with all my heart. But with anything, sometimes you just need a break to reconnect with just “you.”
I miss going out with my friends. But mostly, I miss feeling free of guilt and having fun.
Sunday afternoon came around and two hours right before the show I get a text from my friend.
“Oh Andrea. A friend had a free ticket to see Garth Brooks today. Sorry to bail on you. And sorry about the late notice.”
It is in situations like these that you really need to refrain from responding until you have something semi-decent to say.
I consider myself a very understanding person (I mean you’ve got to be with three kids, three dogs and coming from the past I’ve endured).
But this really stung.
I don’t appreciate being passed up because something “better” came along.
What I would have appreciated more is you telling me from the start that you’re not interested.
I actually also would have understood you telling me you’d rather stay home because it’s not your thing.
Or at least give me the courtesy of canceling with more time. It took quite an effort to plan out babysitting duties and rearrange household errands just so I could go out guilt free.
So you are all probably wondering, what I texted back.
The obvious would have been “I understand.”
Or “Garth Brooks? I don’t blame you for canceling. Have fun!”
Even “Ok, thanks for letting me know. No worries. See you next time.”
Not this time.
I couldn’t hold in my disappointment, but I promised myself I would express it without being disrespectful.
“I got your message. I need to be honest and let you know that I feel quite bummed about our afternoon not working out.”
My heart raced after I sent the text. But I felt better.
And of course, she did not respond. But then again, she could have been enjoying herself at her concert.
What she did wasn’t cool.
At the same time, I was proud to have the opportunity to stand my ground.
The issue wasn’t missing the show. It was her thinking it was ok to ditch a person for something “better” at the last minute.
Everyone has choices.
At the end of the day, you have to live with them. And also hold yourself accountable for things that you may have unconsciously given up in their place along the way.
I’m not a saint.
I’ve canceled on people many times.
The difference? I’ve never done it in a way to make them feel like they were my second pick.
I’ve usually been pretty courteous and honest.
And if you get sick, that’s completely understandable. But who’s to say people don’t use the “sick” card just to get out of something?
Truthfully, I would have rather heard that than the truth at this point. I guess you really can’t win.
Perhaps I’m too idealistic. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up being kind.
Now I give kudos to my friend for being completely honest. But I also now question her empathy.
For those of you reading this, I have no problem if you have to cancel on me.
The reality is we all do it and will continue to do so at some point in our lives.
Just please don’t forget your people skills before you make that call (or send that text) to the person who was counting to see you.