Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being Committed in a Non Committal World

Disclaimer #1:  I'm not writing this because I've got this down and I'm really good at it, but I'm writing because I see it...
Disclaimer #2:  This is not directed toward any one person.  It's something that has been bothering me for a long time, but I've purposely waited until I haven't hosted an event for awhile so no one thinks it's directed toward them. That being said, my last party was packed, and I'm not complaining about my friends anyway :)  That is why we are friends... I can count on them as I hope they feel they can expect the same from me.

How many times have you looked at a Facebook event posted by one of your friends and thought... maybe? Do you find the first people to respond are those who feel they have a good enough excuse to decline?  I'll respond quickly if I know I cannot come, but am I trying to do the same with an accept status if I'm reasonably sure I can make it?   I think it indicates that person is important to me and my instinct is "of course I'll be there if I can."  How many people don't respond at all to any event, whether on Facebook, hand written, or a personal invite?  I often fall into the "totally forgot" or "misplaced the invite" group which is not a badge of honor, I know.  We live in constant chaos and I lose or forget invites on a regular basis.  If it doesn't get on my calendar, it doesn't happen.  I have many legitimate excuses, but if I'm honest those are not the case 100% of the time.  My saving grace is that most of my family and friends know that if I can make it, I will.  I don't blow people off as a rule.  My sweet husband has to nudge me out the door on many occasions.  I would tend to hermit and focus on myself a lot more if he wasn't there pushing or pulling :)

I like to entertain so maybe I notice these things more than others, who tend to shy away from hosting?  I really never know if anyone will show up at any given event.  I feel there are a good number of people who will come if nothing better comes up or if my party grows in appeal for some odd reason.  With that being said, how many come up with lame excuses and cancel last minute because they don't really want to make the effort?  I am really sick of the "Christian" excuses like, "We really needed some family time" or "I had a crazy week and needed some down time."

Really?

REALLY?

Really?


You can actually say those pathetic excuses out loud and live with yourself?
"We make time for what is important to us" and those excuses scream... YOU AREN'T IMPORTANT!
Do you really think you are such a big deal that you can say you needed some down time and you won't hurt someone else's feelings?  News flash:  You are not that big of a deal!  People typically know if you are a flake or a fake.  They know who makes an effort and who gives lip service.  Which are you?  Are you the reliable one that people can count on or the flake that blows with the wind?

So you may feel a bit of guilt, but should you?  Is it a preference issue... or a CHARACTER one?  Does being the flake show a lack of INTEGRITY on your part?  Is it loving your neighbor as yourself?

Of course there are some who are so unreliable themselves that they never show up to anything, yet are surprised when no one shows up for their event... but that is a whole other category.

I'm talking about the people who show up when it's beneficial to them or to their cause but become unreliable when it's not.  It's about bombarding a new "friend" on social media while virtually ignoring the "old ones."  In today's day and age it's actually pretty easy to remain connected.  It only takes a second or two to "like" someones status, view their pictures in order to keep up with their lives, or make a quick phone call in the car.

I've heard it said that we are like Lego's with only so many connectors, but while that is true to some extent, how often do we use it as an excuse to be lazy or selfish?  I know there are times when I over extend myself and have to step back from some things, but do I step back in the same way from people to suit my own purposes?

I may be wrong but people know when you've just had a baby, a surgery or some other legitimate excuse for absences, but if you can recall that awkward half smile someone gave when you blew them off... you know what I'm talking about.  There aren't many who will confront a person and say what they are thinking, "Seriously, that's the lamest excuse I've heard and I'm offended you'd try to pass it off as legit... with a straight face!"  You might garner more respect if you had just said, "I don't really want to come because you're not that important to me." I'm not suggesting that as a viable option to all of the socially impaired folks, but my sarcasm doesn't often come with a warning label.

I often wonder how to best respond when I'm invited to a party of a product I would never buy?  Sure, I'd like to come hang out and support the hostess/consultant, but what if I don't like the product and wouldn't even give it as a gift?  Or what if we just can't afford to put money into future birthday gifts that particular month?  I'm a consultant and make money from hostesses wanting to earn free products by inviting their friends and family to a party to see my products.  I personally picked a product that I believe everyone should use.  I think it's healthier for people to stay away from chemicals, and it really is less expensive in the long run.  It's not super expensive and most can afford it, but I understand that there are decorative items and accessories that many deem unnecessary.  Not sure how to handle this one.  I typically go if I can, but there are some things out there that I just don't want to buy now or ever.  I guess I didn't mind how one gal responded as I told her about my Norwex, she said she was perfectly happy with all of her chemicals.  She really doesn't see the harm in them and frankly won't ever buy mine.  I wholeheartedly disagree with her, but I don't hate her for her opinion.  I found myself at a party once not wanting to buy any of the products and feeling bad when I couldn't agree with the praise given for most of the stuff.  I felt like a detriment to the consultant and wondered if I should have just stayed home?  My opinion as a consultant and hostess from time to time... message the hostess and tell them you don't like the products but you'd love to come to future parties of different products.  That way everyone who was invited doesn't see the negativity.  I also had a gal recently tell me not to invite her to any parties because she just doesn't go to any.  I obviously disagree on this account too, as I personally think it is a great way to get to know your neighbors and intermingle with your friends... not to mention just have a good time with the girls, but I'm not accused of being normal too often :)

How do we pick and choose what we do without over committing or running ourselves and our families ragged?  Tricky...  I often say no to things, so does that make me selfish?  Does not attending everything I'm invited to make me selfish?  Only you know the answer to that one, but your closest friends do too?  Maybe you should allow a close friend or two access to your "busy" life and help evaluate it from time to time?  Choose a friend that is a bit "too honest" at times and ask her.  Most of us are a combination of committed and non committed.  We can probably all think of an occasion within the past six months to a year where we flaked, but also a dozen or more where we were faithful friends too, right?  I just think it's worth saying that we need to evaluate and allow others to join the debate.

In a world filled with a myriad of distractions, are we picking the right things to invest our time into?  I find it helpful to step back and look at the big picture.  What am I called to?  What are my priorities?  Am I being faithful to them?  What are our family goals?  Does this event/commitment coincide with it or interfere and fight against it?  The odd thing about this is that the same event is the right thing to do for some and the wrong thing for others.  For instance, signing up for softball this year was about being involved with our community.  We chose to home school Belle this past year and I don't want her to become totally disconnected.  I also like to get to know those in my community, so it was a "no-brainer" for our time as I use my given skill-set to  invest in kids and get some exercise while doing it.  With that being said, this could be wrong for another family.  Perhaps they have several kids in several different sports, and sporting events take up all their free time, including eating dinner together or allowing time for other social events.  What if their child happens to hate softball.  Stupid waste of time for them, right?

The ironic thing about a post like this is that there are two groups who will respond very differently.  It's likely that the over committed, can't say no group will read this and feel guilty and quickly add to their already overloaded status.  Whereas, the group who I'm actually addressing will continue to justify their selfish behavior and go on with life as usual... party of one.





4 comments:

  1. LOL… hmmmm…. no comments? I am the first? This party of one will do some evaluating! Love you!

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  2. I wonder if not coming to a party (and not offering a good reason) is EXACTLY the same as saying "you don't matter". A person might be perfectly willing to go to coffee with the hostess, even on the same night, but not willing to sit with strangers or listen to a presentation. There is a time during the party of just socializing, but the party is not for the purpose of JUST socializing. I wonder if some people feel as awkward about parties for products as I do. ;) I don't mind going to parties, but I hate inviting people to them. If someone declines to come, I simply assume they aren't interested in the product or that they don't want to spend their time in that way. It has never occurred to me that it's ME they are avoiding disliking or devaluing. I also am hesitant to mix business with friendships, and the LAST thing I want is for a friend or acquaintance to think that I only invited them so they'll buy stuff so I'll reach my quota. I have been that woman who buys something I don't want because I want my friend who is hosting to get her prize. I hesitate to put people in that position. I have also invited people to a party only because I know they're interested in the product and will probably buy it, not because I particularly wanted to spend quality time with them that evening. So it goes both ways. I have also said no to parties when I would have said yes to a coffee date, because you just can't have the same kind of conversation in that setting. It's not about devaluing the PERSON, I don't think. I DO enjoy relaxing, getting out of the house, some fun and some food. But if others don't enjoy small talk, mingling, sitting with strangers and learning about a product, I don't think it's about me personally as a hostess. I also don't think the party atmosphere is the most conducive to nurturing deep friendships anyway, so it doesn't need to be a deep kind of rejection, even from a good friend. At the same time, hospitality is a value that we are losing as a culture, and I think some of the lack of interest comes from a lack of valuing community or friendships or being connected with others. I'm hopeful that product parties can bring that back and can serve many good purposes! I have enjoyed the parties I've attended and the one I hosted. I also think there is a certain politeness in not always telling someone the "real" reason, like "I didn't want to" or "I have social anxiety when I'm with strangers" or "my husband gets frustrated when I leave him home with the kids" or "my oldest is rebelling and I need to see how her day was" or whatever. Manners sometimes necessitate that we spare people the ENTIRE truth because we don't all need to air our dirty laundry for everyone. So maybe giving the benefit of the doubt when someone has a lame excuse, that if they could tell you the real reason or thought you wanted it, they would. :)

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  3. oh, and that was me, Shelby. And yes, I am the flake that doesn't even respond to or often even find the invites on facebook. And I do hope to have better character in that area. :) Love you!

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  4. I find it interesting that the main thing you took from this was that I wanted people to attend buying parties. I felt when I wrote it that it was more of a side note and not in any way the main theme, but it goes to show me that my intent isn't always felt. I don't think skipping those parties is "flaking" as much as birthdays or anniversaries. I was thinking more of a societal focus on self and less on honoring or celebrating with those we claim to care about. It's easy to get caught up in surviving (and must from time to time in our lives) but I still think it's important to commit and not wait for a better offer. I for one don't see you in the category as you do respond, and coming to your party found a bunch of neighbors who see you everyday and still attended on a day when they could've easily skipped with the poor weather of that day, so they must see you as a real friend as well :) I think you're honest and it's refreshing :)

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