I'm having a bit of a problem -- I need to figure out how to tell one of my friends she has become that which she most hates. Or hated.
I've been friends with Kelly for about two years. During most of that time we've been each others default date... you know, the person you can always call when you need a member of the opposite sex to accompany you to some couples event. Or someone to go to the movies with, or get a beer, or check out the fun new restaurant that just opened down the street... for anything really.
We used to sit and laugh for hours, mocking those who were saddled with the responsibilities of a relationship, while reveling in our singleness. And Kelly would make retching noises and lament the lost friendships whenever one of her friends would meet the "perfect guy" -- yet another one lost to the dreaded We-itis, a terrible disease that causes the infected person to take someone else's opinion into account before going to the bathroom.
You know the type. You want to go out for a beer with your friend... she needs to check with her boyfriend. The kind of person who will break plans you've had for two weeks on the off chance she'll get to spend 15 minutes with HIM. The guy who starts missing the Wednesday night poker game he's been coming to for years.
What the hell is wrong with those people? How can they forget about those who've been there for them through everything? We'd clink beers and swear it would never happen to us.
And then she met Mark.
To be fair, he's a really nice guy. He treats her well, has a good job, and he's pretty cool to hang out with. I'm honestly happy for her -- for him too, they're a good couple. And yes, I expected to see less of her, it's totally understandable.
But so much for her not getting we-itis.
A few weeks ago I invited them both over for drinks before going out. Kelly called around 5 to say she and Mark would be here around 7:30. Not a problem. 7:30 came and went. 8:00. 9:00. By then I wasn't waiting any more. But the phone never rang, they never showed, I ate too much cheese, and I still have an enormous bottle of gin in my freezer.
And her excuse? Nothing. Sure, she apologized for not coming -- she's not THAT bad. But she actually couldn't give me a reason why they never showed -- and why she never called.
Well, maybe I'm too nice. I can forgive a lot, and while it was incredibly rude it wasn't the end of the world. I let it slip.
Then there was this past weekend.
A friend of ours was having a 30th birthday party on Saturday. We got a group together to have dinner and then go out dancing. Perfect. Of course Kelly and Mark were invited, and sure, they were only two of the eight or so people who were going to be there. So would they come?
I mentioned it to Kelly on Tuesday -- can they make it? She hemmed and hawed, and I got a definite maybe. She wasn't sure yet. I checked with her again on Thursday, but she still wasn't sure -- she had to check with Mark and he was away in New York on business. Presumably the phone between here and there wasn't working.
So I get a call on Saturday -- at least she remembered to call this time. They're not coming. Why? She gave some excuse about a wedding "thing" she had to go to. Now, what wedding thing could she possibly have to go to starting at 7 or 8 on a Saturday? Well ok, I can think of a couple. But how many of those would be a surprise?
People! Don't do this to your friends! There's a middle ground here . . . a place where you don't blow people off for no reason, and you make it to important events like birthday parties. A place where you can do things with your friends and your new S.O.-- and at the SAME TIME! If he's really the perfect guy there will be plenty of opportunities to spend "quality" time alone together . . . like the rest of your life. If he's not the perfect guy, why are you ditching your friends for him? The perfect guy wouldn't want you to.
So yeah, I'm pissed. And I'm sad. See, I had this friend . . . now she's lost but doesn't know it -- and I can't quite figure out how to tell her she's gone. I need to hold a mirror up in front of her so she can see she's become this horrible thing she used to mock incessantly -- except I don't know where to find her. And even if I did, I'm not sure she'd care.
She's one of them now, and I don't see that there's anything I can do. Except celebrate who she was before she got sick.
And find a new default date.