Friend Cancels Plans…Again.

Dear Robin:

Recently once again I found myself without dinner plans because my friend Tiffany cancelled at the last minute. As usual I made the invite, it took a while to settle on a date, and she canceled because she said her son was sick.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a photo of her on Instagram at a dinner party that same night.

I am always there when she needs me. For example, I’m a nurse and she has come to me several times for health advice for her and her family. I also was a constant shoulder to cry on during her latest divorce.

I am pissed off and hurt. Our mutual friend says this is just how she is and to let it go but I want to confront her. 

How about one of your scripts?

Long Time Reader, First Time Writer

Dear LTRFTW:

What you have here is a BBDFF:

A Bigger, Better Deal-Finding Friend.

You have my sympathies, but at the same time I have no real pity for you. You need to grow a pair of fallopian tubes and put an end to this charade of a friendship.

During our phone call Sunday you told me this shit has gone on for years. You have had several crises (as do we all) during which Tiffany was glaringly absent. She goes months without contacting you and when she does it is almost always because she needs something.

It is astonishing how many letters like yours I’ve received in the two years I’ve been doing this gig. While one would hope we become better people and kinder friends as we age, my email inbox says differently. Still, my observations have led to the conclusion that in cases like yours, the letter-writer is confused as to what the real problem is.

As I’ve said before, a person in your situation should be far more concerned with their own actions (or lack thereof) in this scenario and not those of the “friend.”

Yes, I am about to do some good-old-fashioned victim blaming here, so put on your Big Girl Panties and prepare yourself:

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Are you so needy and desperate to surround yourself with others that you will allow people to shit on you repeatedly without consequence? Are you the friend equivalent of the neighborhood vacant lot?

I’m sorry to be so brusque but I can’t help but wonder if your thirst for “friends” and lack of self-esteem carries into other parts of your life. Do you let people treat you like this at work? At home?

Advice

I’m not going to give you a script because Tiffany doesn’t deserve one. She is a lousy friend to you and her actions over the years tell me she would neither understand my words nor give two fucks about them.  Therefore, my advice is stunningly simple:

Narrow your circle and widen your world.

I’m not a betting woman but I’d wager at least three dollars (otherwise known as my income last month) you have several Tiffanies in your life.  Am I right?

It’s time for a massive flush of your social potty.

Look around you. Analyze your relationships with a critical eye.

  • Where reciprocity is absent: flush.
  • Where kindness and empathy is lacking: flush.
  • Where inconsiderate and selfish behavior abounds: flush.
  • Where contact comes only when something is needed from you: flush.
  • Where making you feel small and unwanted is common: flush.
  • Where dishonesty, gossip, or chicanery thrive: flush. 

As you watch the feces of fickle and feckless friends circle the bowl on their way to the social sewer, tell yourself repeatedly that you deserve a better quality of people around you, not quantity.  

I predict over time you will discover that eliminating relationships like these makes your world both larger and much more profound. Tightening your circle gives you time to develop new and wonderful hobbies and habits while freeing you to focus more on the positive people in your life.

As for Tiffany, act as if she moved away. Don’t call, don’t write, and see what happens. I’d bet another three dollars (otherwise known as my income this year) you don’t hear from her again until she needs something.

At that point, I would ignore her requests or answer simply: I cannot help you.  Best of luck.

Make neither apologies nor excuses and if Tiffany inquires about your lack of contact over time, come back to me for the script. 

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

-Kahlil Gibran

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PS: Friends, please share!  You know you can do it, I’ve made it easy with those little button-things!

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