Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Holidays, Schmolidays: A Rant

with 4 comments

I read an article online about a young woman who planned a “Friendsgiving” dinner (Thanksgiving dinner, with friends), but no one showed up. Her boyfriend, thankfully, asked a lot of his friends to show up instead, and the food and drink she’d so carefully amassed and cooked was consumed.

This article was frustrating to read, in more than one way.

First off, if you have friends, treat them like gold.

In other words, do not stand them up. Do not forget to call if you’re going to be late (or can’t come at all). Do not do what happened to this poor young woman, as it’s beyond rude.

Second off, if you have even a smidgen of empathy, you need to realize that how you treat others shows how you, yourself, should be treated.

So, if you can’t be bothered to let a friend know that you aren’t able to be with them…or if a long-distance phone call is planned, and you aren’t able to make it…or if there’s some other reason that keeps you away from their presence after they’ve made so many plans, there’s something the matter with you.

And I say that knowing full well I, myself, have had to beg off plans at the last minute due to health concerns. (In fact, I wasn’t able to be at my father’s birthday celebration yesterday because I had a migraine. This cost me a chance to see my sister and niece, too.)

I was ill, so I texted my sister and made my apologies. That was all I could do. (My father doesn’t text, and doesn’t understand it. I knew my sister would tell him, and she did. I’ll try to make it up to him later, if I can.)

So, if I can do it through a migraine, what is everyone else’s excuse?

This poor woman was expecting at least ten friends to show up (by how many place settings she had sitting out), and none showed. Not one person had the decency to call or text her, either.

That’s just plain wrong.

The only good excuse for not being able to let someone know what happened to you if time was planned (online and/or off) to be with you is a quick trip to the hospital, unconscious. (I might reluctantly accept a work emergency, too, depending. Might.)

Third off, why must people be so obnoxious?

Life is really hard right now. We have the pandemic, which goes on and on and on. We have the holidays, which are tough, especially for people grieving a new loss (or even an older one where the loss was huge and heartfelt).

(In fact, I wrote a blog post called “Please Remember Those Who Grieve During the Holidays” years ago, because I felt it needed to be said. But as always, I digress…)

And people who’ve lost loved ones who mattered deeply and desperately to them deserve to know that other people care. That other people are thinking about them. That other people do understand their losses, at least insofar as they have themselves gone through various losses.

So, if you have good friends, cherish them. Do not take them for granted. Do not stand them up on Friendsgiving. Do not treat them like they don’t exist, or don’t matter.

Pay attention. Stay in their lives. And think beyond your own concerns about others, because that’s truly what life is all about.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 27, 2021 at 2:57 am

4 Responses

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  1. It was a bit puzzling, could we assume that some of the friends would be committed to a family gathering, but surely they would have said. Or perhaps she issued such a general invitation to everyone they all assumed others would be going. One year we decided to limit numbers to my little girl’s birthday party to five and three didn’t turn up – one of them being my friend’s daughter – I literally thought something must have happened to the friend’s family as we didn’t hear. The next year I told her to invite as many as she liked and they all turned up!

    November 27, 2021 at 3:32 am

    • That is possible, yes. And I’d like to think so, here.

      It’s very unlikely that ten or twelve people all wouldn’t show up, though. (And the BF said something about a group chat, which had stopped talking with his GF the day of Thanksgiving.) It almost seems as if they were disrespecting her, and I don’t blame her BF for being upset on her behalf.

      I’m just glad that his friends showed up and all that food and drink didn’t go to waste. (When you plan to entertain, and you’ve prepared a huge feast and no one shows, that’s extremely discouraging. I’ve had that happen to me a few times, and I absolutely hated it.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 27, 2021 at 4:12 am

  2. I agree it’s polite and friendly to say you can’t make it. It would also be nice if we could politely say in advance that we can’t make it and not be pressured for a reason. We shouldn’t have to give one. It’s none of the other person’s business and might be too personal to share. A simple, “okay, thanks for letting me know” without hard feelings would be great. We don’t know what’s going on in another’s life. Went through this recently after being invited to something and when I said I couldn’t go but thank you for the invitation, got guilted with a ‘you don’t care about me or you’d come’ response. It wasn’t about them. It was about mental health and I shouldn’t have to say so. Especially not to a “friend.” Should you politely excuse yourself? Yes. If you don’t it looks like the other person isn’t important to you, and that’s rude. But if you are on the other side and get a “can’t come, sorry” response, have the grace to accept and appreciate they might not be able to offer more. If you’re really friends, ask afterward if they’re okay, without pressure.

    Kayelle Allen

    November 27, 2021 at 9:22 am

    • I agree with you, Kayelle.

      The only people I’d ask about if they couldn’t go are the ones who thought they’d go in the first place, but find out there’s a reason they can’t at the last minute. I probably would ask them. But providing they at least let me know they couldn’t be there, I’d appreciate that.

      At least with the story I found, there was a happy ending of sorts. The food got eaten, the drinks were consumed, there was a party, and good feelings were had by all. That the young lady’s friends were no-show/no-call was bad. But at least all her hard work didn’t go to waste. (Planning a party is hard work, too, even if it’s just for a few friends.)

      But yes. No one should give you a guilt trip if you can’t go somewhere. Just ask later if everything’s all right. (Or if you ask in the moment, say, “Is everything OK there?” and be prepared to get a noncommittal answer.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 27, 2021 at 5:26 pm

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