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