Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear Jody, my best friend ditched me on my birthday

Lately I've been getting a lot of letters asking me for advice. This leaves me feeling chuffed but gob-smacked. Let's face it - I was the person at school voted most likely to drive a dented mini-van ...and here I am, all expectations realised. This letter is about a party.

Me with the Slim Aarons crowd, the party we all imagine we're going to. Photoshop: The High Schooler


Dear Jody,
My husband and I decided to go all out for my 40th Birthday - caterers and a DJ. 50 people came and we had a blast, dancing until 2am. I remember thinking during the evening I hadn't seen much of one of my best friends. I found out the next day she and her husband left early for a party down the road, a party they hadn't even been invited to! Worse, they tried to recruit some of my guests to come too!
Susan T, Slighted in Arizona.



What is it with parties these days? It's like pulling teeth to get people to RSVP and you still never know who's going to show. My friend in LA turned up to a catered brunch for 30 to find she was the only guest!

*I suspect what annoys you is not that you didn't have that special boogie together, it's that her early exit said: "Your party is lame, we're outa here." But your party wasn't lame, 49 people loved it and you have to focus on that.

*She's still a friend (she turned up!) but is clueless and unlikely to change. (I know Mitchell in Modern Family said people can change 15%, I think more like 8%) There is no point into doing a Dr Phil on her, but you should tell her  - without emotion, as if you were a doctor: "I was disappointed you left early." That's all.

Don't expect everything from one friend and not all friends will be close ones. There are friends who meet you at art exhibitions and for lunch but they don't like crowds and won't turn up to your parties. Other friends will only join you at parties over bobbing-for-apples-in-vodka and three-legged races round the neighbourhood.

*But close friends turn up to big birthdays, major anniversaries and weddings, barring illness death or treacherous seas.  Or a three-hour special of  Downton Abbey featuring John Hamm as an imperious Earl in riding pants -  then all bets are off . 

She's a friend, just not a best friend. At the next party consider sidling up to her and doing the Elaine from Seinfeld jerky dance. Or even better the Peter Garrett from Midnight Oil stiff dance. You'll feel better. (And thanks to Janet and Hannah for reminding me of those dances...)


Gentle readers - please feel free to send in your questions.


49 comments:

  1. Seems like reasonable advice.

    But what does a Bear really know about the complexities of Human relationships?

    I only know about Bear relations. Swimming in my river is OK. Touch my food, and I'll swat you. Or worse. See what I mean? Bears are simple.

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  2. Is it mean that I laughed? I can just imagine myself taking off to another party. I wonder if I'll ever have a catered party. Maybe she was a bit tipsy and wanted to get more crazy but didn't feel comfortable doing it around the friend. Now I'm thinking up excuses for my future bad behaviour.

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  3. I'm so lost in confused bewilderment that I'm almost afraid to comment.

    Our parties consist of the grls sitting at tables sipping Sauvy Blancs, the guys slugging Tuis around the barbie and each section getting together when they go home.
    No music.
    No singing.
    Abso-bloody-lutley no dancing.

    We might just have a bit of pav first though.

    Doesn't it make you a mite homesick?

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  4. Manners seem to be a dying entity and yet they oil the wheels of social interaction.

    People no longer considered how their behaviour is perceived by others. This is fine when you think that you don't give a toss 'what the neighbours think', but when a friend has gone to the trouble and expense of providing an evening's entertainment you'd think an RSVP would be a minimum, and good manners while at the party preferable. Otherwise they might not get invited back again.

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  5. As you say, there are friends and then there are real best friends who would never disappear to another party.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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  6. Some friend! She might be one of your best friends, but you aren't one of hers! This woman's behaviour was very rude and somewhat spiteful as well. I refuse to entertain people like this on any level. Oooh, what a mean kitty I am!

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  7. A wise friend once taught me the difference between companionships and friendships.

    A friend would not leave your party for another.

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  8. I consider that a true friend would never leave my party for someone else's party...
    I would never do such a thing!

    Have a beautiful weekend!! xoxoxo

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  9. Wow Jody, maybe an advice column is in your writing future. You nailed this one!!

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  10. You got it right. What good would a big confrontation do?
    And, I don't understand why people don't RSVP! For my daughter's pony party we needed to reserve ponies... I would've liked to have reserved the right number...

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  11. I agree. She is a friend, just not a best friend.

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  12. I am seriously going to be thinking of Elaine's thumb-jerk dance from Seinfeld all day. :P

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  13. Perfect line, "just not a best friend". I can't believe someone, well yes I can, would leave a party and crash one that they weren't even invited too AND try to drag people. No one RSVPs anymore and that drives me nuts. Looks lime a swingin' party you were photshpped into!

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  14. I'm coming out of semi-exile to say that I absolutely love the idea of you answering advice questions.

    I like your idea of saying something, but not making it a confrontation. Maybe the friend has a good excuse, but I doubt it. They're either totally clueless or disrespectful, neither are very good options.

    Jenn

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  15. very good advice, i must say! i think you need to make this a weekly column!

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  16. I've had very similar frustrations on RSVPs recently. People committing to a sit down dinner with a joyous "so excited" email response at an appropriate time (e.g. enough time for me to purchase said dinner for them) and sending a breezie "can't make it sorry text" the day of or two hours before (or nothing).
    Do I blame FB redefing the meaning of "friend" into some loosely based social fraternity with lots of pictures, anecdotal contacts and no substance, our crazy work lives, or it time to start "downsizing" my social network and focus on "friendship"? I'm opting towards the latter, and have instituted a new policy where those that cancel late or not at all cancel thir membership in the invite club. If they ask I just explain that due to the complexities of life these days I am surrounding myself with people who follow through on their commitments to enhance the quality of my personal time, commitments, and most of all my happiness.

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  17. Jody, you are brilliant at this! I think your correspondent should write her 'friend' out of the will and not invite her when Prince William comes round for tea. If I have a vexing question in the near future, you can be sure I'll ask your advice! xxx

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  18. Brilliant! I love that you are taking questions.

    As to my slim figure whilst eating bundt cakes aplenty: the answer to that lies in the mystery of metabolism. ; )

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  19. Excellent advice. Expectations will never be met... expect less, enjoy more!

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  20. I am going to spare you the sob story of my 30th birthday, where more than half of my 'friends' didn't show up. It's very London just not to come. I decided to be decidedly un-London and cut most of them off. W*****.

    Feeling much better now ;-)

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  21. first of all i must say that i'm so jealous of your photoshopped life. now i can add photoshopped lives to my loooong jealousy list.

    secondly, do you know how much i love that you are quoting mitchell?

    thirdly, no real friend would leave your bday party to go to another one on the same street or on the same planet. people shock me with their lack of manners. i think your advice is excellent.

    xo

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  22. Some friends never grow up. Usually, its those you figure not to depend on much.

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  23. Jody,
    You are so right about different types of friends. The best thing about being older is that you expect less, but you also know who your true friends are.
    That said, I think Californians in general can be very flaky about invitations. People don't realize it's poor manners to text at the last minute you've changed your mind, and also to leave early without a good-bye or thank you. Sometimes, I don't feel like going to something, but if I've said yes, I go.

    I think it's great your answering questions now!

    xo
    Kim

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  24. You may have found a new calling.

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  25. I wish I knew how to use photoshop - I'd put myself in all sorts of interesting places and then convince myself I was really there! (I have a vivid imagination!)

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  26. WHy do we need to tag people with the word friend and all the meaning attached to it? Did this friend even bother to say goodbye? Why did this friend try to get guests to leave the party with her? Does the writer actually need this sort of friend in her life?

    It doesn't sound like this rude guest is actually a friend...most like someone the writer knows.



    And serious...the word verification is getting out of control!! Please consider taking it off!

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  27. Wow, some BFF! I'd be ticked too. Some people are just flaky acquaintances.

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  28. I love that people write to you for advice and I love your answer for this one. She recruited people? That's low!!!!!

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  29. I agree about the RSVP issue - I don't understand why people think it's ok not to do that anymore! So annoying.

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  30. Would be hard to call that a friend after that move IMO. Mad photo shop skills you got there :)

    Check out my blog if you have some time. Would be honored if you followed too :)

    Zorrie
    www.sugarandchic.com

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  31. You've given excellent advice. I can only add that, if neither of those dances work, she could try Ricky Gervais dancing as David Brent in 'The Office'

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    Replies
    1. Just googled that dance - another classic to try out!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qurTK_0re3Y

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  32. Great advice! Not everyone is a "best" friend, but they can still be part of your life. xo style, she wrote

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  33. you give great advice, jody! :D

    <3, Mimi
    http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/
    $100 Shopbop Gift Card Giveaway -- Open internationally!

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  34. I like the idea of this place turning into an agony aunt kinda place. I think that was some pretty good advice. I am not so nice and fair and I would have probably suggested doing something wicked to her instead... maybe that's why noone asks for my advice... hmm... Love Elle xo

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  35. HAHAHAHHAHA! I think you make the perfect Agony Aunt. Witty, wise, humorous and doesn't take herself too seriously. I can count on you and Tabitha (Bourbon & Pearls) for the best laugh of the day.

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  36. You give the best advice. You should be on TV instead of those hacks. Seriously, though -- Whyyyy can't people RSVP?! It's insane.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  37. Fab advice!!! Please do this more often. Serioulsy you're hilarious and truly give the best advice. I'll be writing in shortly :) xoxo

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  38. I love your photoshopping skills! Your new blog header is great! I love this advice, and I definitely agree. :) It's disappointing what happened, but best to focus on the positive!

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  39. Jody the agony blogger aunt has a nice ring to it.

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  40. Great advice Jody, but omg, this is the first enticement I've ever had to watch downtown abbey--no one ever mentioned John Hamm is in it, what?! p.s. Hope you do more advice posts, I like them!

    xo Mary Jo

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    Replies
    1. No, its not reality, just one of my fantasies.

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  41. I LOVE Modern Family! Such a funny show. And Sofia Vergara .... what were we talking about? Oh, parties. I haven't been to one in awhile. Most of the advice people ask me for has to do with relationships. Most of the people asking are women who are smokin' hot, and yet I suspect they ask my advice not because they think I'm a hot guy, but because they think of me as a girlfriend who happens to have a penis and thus can speak to what the guy might be thinking to some limited extent. I should email you about this problem and ask for your advice. Or better yet, introduce you to all my female friends so they can just ask you instead. :-)

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  42. I agree good advice! That is something that so many people are writing you asking for your advice about problems that they are having.

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  43. Did you ever read the Mrs Mills agony aunt in The Times colour mag? so so funny.......and thanks for reminding me about the jerky dance!

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    Replies
    1. Have to get onto Mrs Mills, love the one in the NY Sunday Times, he's always acerbic but practical and honest

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