"r u coming 2 my ordination?"Ah, the dilemma of such a simple question, a question I'd been asked by S on what felt like a daily basis. One I had successfully evaded for the last month or so.
"not sure. need to check my schedule. gotta run. bye!"I quickly logged out of Facebook and into my Google calendar, hoping to find some legitimate excuse--a work event, a professional development training, even a teeth-cleaning--for that day so I could give a firm "No" without a guilty conscience. But nope, nothing--just blank.
"Crap," I thought. "I'm either going to have to go to this thing or come up with an excuse to miss a really important event in my friend's life."
Let me just say, I know I'm not a perfect friend. But I am one who generally shows up when it counts, and I'm happy to do so. Everything from wedding dress shopping to apartment-searching, I like to be there when my friends need me. I even went to another friend's ordination (snotting and sobbing most of the time, but I showed up!) the day that SCL broke up with me last March. For a good friend, there is nothing more special than being part of the highs and lows of life.
But, then there's friends like S. It's not that I don't like her. I do like her. A lot. But, she isn't what I'd call a good friend. We get along well, and we've been through shit together, but when it comes to her actually showing up when it counts, she just can't manage it. She has made bailing a habit, citing headaches or cramps or being tired or just "not feeling like it" for backing out of plans with friends. In fact, she canceled her own birthday party which she'd invited dozens of friends to at the very last second just a few weeks ago. While she has a lot of lovely attributes, reliabilty isn't one of them.
So, when she asks me (repeatedly) to come to her ordination a few hours away, I really don't want to say yes. Part of it is that I don't want to spend the time going there and back, but it's more than that. I think it's more knowing that if I asked her to do the same for me, she'd probably wouldn't show up. Because she hasn't in the past. Repeatedly. It's a pattern I doubt will change. At the same time, should I allow her behavior to shape what kind of friend I am in return?
When I logged back into Facebook again later that night, my newsfeed was littered with messages my friend S had posted to others' walls, very similar to the one she sent me: "r u coming?" "hope u can make my ordination!" "can u sing at my ceremony?" etc. I realized her hurried invitation to me over Facebook chat wasn't really heartfelt or thoughtful, and I wonder how much it would really mean to her if I showed up. I began to think maybe it's more about her getting a critical mass there instead of my individual presence. And if that's the case, I think I can cut myself a break on this one.