Parties, gatherings, lunch, a happy hour. Extreme introverts aside, we love meeting up with the people we love. It’s fun getting together to catch up, to celebrate, to just spend personal time together.
But when there is a party and you weren’t invited, how do you handle it? Do you ‘Like’ the posts on social media or say to the party-goers, ‘It looks like you had fun!’? Or, do you wallow and somehow make someone else’s event about yourself and your butt-hurt feelings?
If it’s the latter, I’m talkin’ to you, so listen up!
At 50-plus, I can’t believe how routinely I experience this whiny-ass behavior. Someone posts a cute selfie on social media, three friends at happy hour. Almost invariably, someone who wasn’t invited comments something like, “Oh! I wish I’d known, I would have joined you!” Someone has a birthday or wedding and you’re not invited. Instead of congratulating them, you whine about not being invited, causing hurt feelings about an event that should be nothing but a happy occasion.
NEWSFLASH: Unless it’s your birthday or your wedding or your retirement party, it’s NOT ABOUT YOU. Being invited is not about you. Not being invited, is also not about you – unless you’re an asshole, then it’s probably because of you. I’m directing this toward the non-asshole wallowers who just need an attitude adjustment.
If you’re one of those non-asshole wallowers, and you’re still reading, great. It’s not too late to make amends or adjustments.
Dear friends of mine got married a few years ago. It was a very small gathering. Many local loved ones weren’t invited – myself included – let alone loved ones from across the country. A brother – one of those who lives across the country – was so offended he wasn’t invited, that he hasn’t spoken to the couple ever since. Incredibly heartbreaking, selfish, and unnecessary. The family remains torn apart because someone made someone else’s wedding about himself. WTF?
If you really want to celebrate someone but you weren’t invited to the party, you can still celebrate that person – send a gift, take them to dinner, send a fucking card.
Weren’t invited to happy hour? Organize one yourself.
And speaking of organizing, when you’ve been feeling all woe-is-me, before you expressed your deep wounds of FOMO to the bride/groom/birthday boy, have you ever considered that the birthday thing you weren’t invited to wasn’t even organized by the birthday boy? Did you consider that the wedding was being planned on a shoe-string budget and had to be limited? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Here’s an important life lesson you may not have considered. A wise woman once told me, “She may be your best friend, but you may not be hers.” Really take this to heart. You have to be honest about your relationships and where you stand in relationships. While you may feel you can tell your friend everything, that friend might not feel the same about you. While most people have a wide circle of friends, nearly everyone only has a deep shared intimacy with just a handful. You may not be in that handful.
Something else to consider. Some of my favorite people have enormous circles of friends. When I say enormous I’m talking enough people to fill a theatre or small stadium. It would be impossible for them to include all of their friends in every event or activity. On top of that, if those people don’t keep groups to small numbers, there would hardly be any way for them to truly develop/maintain friendships on that deeper level of intimacy I mentioned earlier. I belong to a sizable community with whom I socialize often. The group is a solid 50+ and many of those have spouses and partners. I realized a long time ago that as a small tribe, we can’t do everything together. We can’t even do most things together. Too many people, too many logistics, too much hassle. I am grateful when I’m invited and I am genuinely happy when I see others meet up for some fun. I consider how blessed I am to be part of such a loving, supportive, kind community. I don’t have FOMO and I don’t whine about it when I’m not included.
I realize this may offend some folks – very likely the asshole wallowers – but as I’ve expressed before, my give-a-shit broke around the time I turned 50 and sometimes, you just have to break it down for people. I’ll get over the scorn. What I do give a shit about is seeing friends feeling the hurt and sting of the wallowers. It’s heartbreaking. One of my favorite Proverbs is 17:17, A friend loves at all times. Real friends believe the best in their friends, not the worst. And real friends don’t pull this sandbox bullshit. If you’re seeing a bit of yourself in this post or you’re feeling defensive, you probably need to do a gut-check. And you probably need to make some apologies too.