Today’s post kind of goes along with yesterday’s in that it deals with your BIGGEST INSECURITIES COMING TRUE.
Insecurity #2,467: What if I plan a party and invite people, but no one comes?
Oh, it can happen, Grasshoppers. It can, and lo, it DID.
I’ll tell you all about it, and then I’ll tell you why it was actually a good thing (hint: it made me turn over a leaf I probably would have left unturned forever).
Follow me back through time to the long-gone era of August 2008. It is the beginning of the Olympics in Beijing, and the world waits in eager expectation for what is UNDOUBTEDLY the VERY BEST PART of the Olympics (except for the swimming because obviously that is the best) (and maybe also the gymnastics):
THE OPENING CEREMONIES!
Awwww yeah. Ain’t nobody got hate for the Opening Ceremonies.
So a couple weeks before this delightful event, I sent an email to about a dozen people inviting them to our house to watch the beginning of the Olympics. We would have food! And drinks! And more food! And crazy acrobatic shenanigans on the TV!
I was super excited about it.
A few people bowed out immediately: they would be out of town, or working, or had some other very reasonable and legitimate reason not to come. But everyone else gave a “maybe” or a “sure, sounds fun” kind of reply.
As the night of the ceremonies drew nearer, more people began to drop out. “I think I’m getting sick,” some of them said. Or, “Ehhh, sorry, I forgot we already had plans for that night.”
WHAT OTHER PLANS COULD YOU POSSIBLY HAVE FOR THAT NIGHT?
The pageant-lover in me simply does not comprehend such a thing.
Anyway, by the time the day of the opening ceremonies rolled around, there were like, four people coming–and I only assumed they were coming because they hadn’t said otherwise.
They didn’t come.
NO ONE CAME.
(You may have already foreseen this particular plot twist due to the title of this post.)
Now, there is one small detail I’ve left out that may partially explain my vacant living room that night. After I sent out the invitation via email, one friend took it upon himself to remind everyone of the controversy surrounding China and how we shouldn’t support what they were doing at the time and how LOTS of people were BOYCOTTING the Olympics to protest China’s activities. His message ended with, “I’m not watching the Opening Ceremonies, and none of you should, either.”
There’s a chance this accounted for my lack of party guests, at least in part. Perhaps some people felt guilty.
(This is where I tell you that this blog post is NOT supposed to be about China, and if you leave a political comment, I will delete it immediately and without remorse.)
But I have a VERY hard time believing that everyone I invited–which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve to fifteen people–actually had a real, legitimate, unavoidable reason not to come.
I think some of them just didn’t feel like it.
That’s not to say they harbored any bad feelings toward me, or didn’t like me, or whatever. I think they were probably just tired and wanted to lounge around eating Cheez Curls in their pajamas without having to interact with anyone.
I mean, come on. Haven’t you pulled the “Sorry, I just don’t feel well” thing to get out of a social event? I’m ashamed to say I have. Not often, but I’ve done it.
So now (FINALLY) we reach the point of this post and how it connects to yesterday’s post and, even more, how it connects to my friend Jessica’s post.
We need to make an effort with people.
Have a lunch date but need to get your hair cut instead?
DON’T CANCEL ON YOUR LUNCH DATE. GO.
Know you’re getting a phone call from an old friend at 9:00, but you’re tired and it’s going to take forever and you hate talking on the phone anyway and really, why can’t you just catch up via email?
DON’T IGNORE YOUR PHONE. PICK IT UP AND TALK.
Have an invitation to a party, but you would rather stay home and anyway everybody else will be there so why does it matter if you bow out?
GO TO THE PARTY BECAUSE IF EVERYBODY DECIDES THE SAME THING THEN NO ONE WILL BE THERE AND THE POOR PERSON WHO THREW THE PARTY WILL FEEL LIKE A MAJOR LOSER.
Yeah, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you just want to hibernate in your sweatpants and read.
But what are you missing out on? And more importantly, what are you causing someone else to miss out on?
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that the Disastrous Olympics Party of ’08 was sort of a good thing in the end. And I really believe it was.
If everyone had come to that party–if that one guy hadn’t possibly guilt-tripped all of us–if the whole night had gone exactly as I imagined, then I never would have turned over a new leaf regarding the concept of Being There For People.
But I DID turn that leaf over.
And now, I do my darndest to honor every lunch/dinner/coffee date I make. I go to every party/event/fundraiser/walk-a-thon I’m invited to unless I really, absolutely, without-a-doubt CANNOT BE THERE.
Sometimes I am one of only a handful that shows up, and in those moments I am so glad I came.
Have you ever experienced a special form of humiliation that caused you to turn over a new leaf?