Dear Amy: I recently tried to hold a birthday party (for myself) at my apartment. I sent out invitations a month before, and also notified people personally. Almost everyone responded positively in a “that sounds like fun” or “I’ll try to swing by” manner.
Amy, the only people to show up were my best friend and their roommate. Out of the 15 to 20 people who I honestly thought would try to make an appearance, two showed up to celebrate with me.
I realize that in the adult world, friendship is more about quality than quantity. My issue is that all these people responded in a positive manner to my invitations, yet no one showed. Only one or two people reached out after the fact to apologize.
I realize that people have lives. I’m just baffled that almost everyone in my life found other things to do. My heart is a little broken.
I work with some of these people, and none have offered any apology or explanation.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression since a young age, and this has hit me extremely hard. I feel like everyone who ditched me is only pretending to be my friend. I want to completely isolate myself from everyone (even though I know that’s an unhealthy reaction). Should I confront the people who completely ditched me?
So far, I haven’t said anything to anyone, and it’s eating me alive!
Party of None
Dear Party of None: I feel you. I have hosted parties just like yours. Please understand that in this day and age, hosting anything – especially an event in your own home – is a socially courageous act, and I applaud you for trying.
This is NOT about you. I truly don’t think it is an indication of how well liked you are. This is about the insensitivity of others. Many work friends maintain a boundary that basically declares that the friendship ends at the office door. Something as personal as a birthday might send these social cowards scuttling. Others worry about being obligated to reciprocate. I don’t think you have anything to gain by bringing this up with them, however.
I hope you don’t let this keep you down. You might do better hosting a gathering in a bar or bowling alley, where people can come and go and basically hide behind their drinks.
Because you’ve had this experience, I hope you will commit to showing up for people, or at least giving a timely and accurate RSVP. It’s so important.
For inspiration, view some episodes of the old (and still great) “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Lead character Mary Richards was perfect in every way, and yet still managed to have a very tough time when it came to throwing a party.
And next year, add me to your invite list. I WILL show.
Dear Amy: What do I do with my pushy 90-year-old husband, who thinks he’s a lothario?
When being introduced to the daughter or even granddaughter of friends or neighbors, he feels compelled to come forth with a sexually-based comment.
I have told him how inappropriate this is. His answer is that he is kidding. How can I stop “loverboy” from making a fool of himself?
Driving Me Nuts!
Dear Nuts: During a time when you two are alone, you should ask him, “Do you realize that this kind of talk is wrong, offensive, rude, and – not the way a gentleman should behave? You are offending these people, and you are embarrassing them, yourself and me.” In another era, he might have thought this was OK, but really it has never been OK. Women now are more open about how these sorts of comments make them feel. And they don’t like it.
If he thinks this is appropriate “kidding” behavior, then he needs to rework his comedy act.
Depending on the dynamic, if you see acute discomfort from the recipient of this nonsense, you might hop in and say to the “victim” of this failed humor: “Oh, please excuse him, he thinks he’s Bob Hope.”
Once you explain who Bob Hope was, things should have been smoothed over.
Dear Amy: “High and Dry” complains that people at the swimming pool in drought-stricken California waste water in the showers. I would like to know what she is doing at the swimming pool in the first place. Swimming pools use huge amounts of water. She should go jogging, instead. What a hypocrite.
Dear Disgusted: “High and Dry” was swimming in already-used water. She is trying to conserve not-yet used water. I’m with her.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.