Something has been bothering me. It has been bothering me a lot, yet I can’t figure out why. There is a part of me that feels like I am being petty, a part of me that feels like I am being mean, and still a part of me that feels like I am having a completely reasonable reaction to the way I perceive I am being treated.
Here is how things work in our family. All four of us like to have people over. On an average Friday night, as dinner is being prepared, my children ask “Are Lorax and FKS coming over?” On a holiday weekend in the summer they wonder, who has been invited for the weekend with their children to hang out by the bonfire and where do we get to put our sleeping bags? Over Christmas break, we all look forward to the traditions of gatherings almost every night of the break to fit in celebrations with family, the tree trimming party, exchanging presents with friends, and several other get togethers we find reasons to hold at The Kaper Kompound. To be honest, it is absolutely our preference to entertain our friends and family at our house. Most of our friends know this about us and it works for them as well as it works for us.
Our close friends, many of whom spend most of their free time at our house because they know that is our preference, occasionally plan things out and about. When they do, they always invite us. They give us plenty of notice so, if necessary, we can arrange for a sitter. If a sitter isn’t necessary, they give us plenty of notice so we can tell them what dates work for us considering we are working around four schedules instead of one or two and they want to include our children. We completely appreciate that, and that consideration they give us leads to really fun times.
We are so lucky to have a close circle of friends who share our interests, our open mindedness, and our passion for living a life less ordinary. We are also lucky enough to be relatively personable, so we can meet people easily. As we spend time with them, we can quickly determine if there is potential for a close friendship or if there is nothing more than acquaintance potential. Once we make this determination, we enjoy integrating our new friendships with our existing friendships and this has led to an amazing spiderweb of friends that mix REALLY well for both a family friendly scavenger hunt for home-made treasures in the woods as well as fun times in the hot tub on nights when the kids are spending the evening with grandma and grandpa.
So this brings me to the heart of my problem. In our circle, we are often the common denominator that unites people with others they might not have met. This is a good thing! Friendship is a treasure and if we can be the catalyst that starts an amazing friendship, that makes us feel great! I could list many examples of friendships that we can ultimately claim we started by making the initial introduction. The benefit we gain from this is we are often included in these friendships in some way. One way is the new chemistry that they bring to a party we have after these new friendships have developed. They have a different kind of confidence that is notable and benefits our gatherings. Another way is that they return the favor and introduce us to new experiences we may not have had without meeting them. These are things that we LOVE! However, I have noticed a couple of negatives, and I can’t quite put my finger on why or how they make me feel bad.
I don’t think either Kidder or I have any problem with the friendship that is developed outside of us. What I have realized bothers me is when some friends make strong efforts to further develop friendships with our friends and then exclude us repeatedly. I start to feel excluded when “my” friend invites “my other friends” who I introduced them to out for the evening, yet they never invite me. I feel excluded when “my” friends invite “my other friends” to a party they are having and they don’t invite me. I feel excluded when “my other friends” invite “my” friends to an evening out and they decline until they find out more of “my other friends” are going to be there, and then they accept the invitation.
I have felt these kind of exclusions lately and they make me feel bad. They hurt my feelings and they make me wonder if these “friends” are really my friends at all. It leads me to think that to some people, I am only useful for the parties I can offer them. They are always ready to say yes when I am sending out an invitation to our party, and even become upset if they discover we’re having a party and they weren’t invited (as is often the case even with the best of intentions in the generation of Facebook). Sometimes it seems that other than getting invited to our party they don’t even consider us. While we almost always prefer to host the gathering (because it is easier for us considering the kids, the dog, and the extra space we have) I want to be invited to the fun things “my friends” are planning, at least once in a while. I don’t like to know that “my friends” go out of their way to include “my other friends” that I introduced them to, in their fun plans, but never bother to send me an invitation. Like I said, it hurts my feelings.
This has been on my mind extensively for at least the last week. I have tried to let it go, but each time I sit down to try to write a post for this blog, the only thing on my mind is this topic. I am not a fan of creating controversy, and this post feels like it is going to do just that. Because I can’t seem to let it go, I have decided it is just time to put it out there. I would love any input anyone has on this topic. Am I being petty? Am I being mean? Am I being naive in continuing to try to maintain a friendship with someone who isn’t putting any effort into maintaining a friendship with me? What do you think? Do you have any advice for me? How would you handle this situation? I can’t wait to hear....