Mélange à trois is a series where we discuss life’s burning questions about life, love, and style. Have a question you just can’t find the answer to? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk about it!
I have this group of girlfriends that I see pretty often. I’ve known them for forever, and they are fun to hang out with – but lately I feel like we don’t have much in common, and even though I have fun, I leave feeling weird. I find myself giving more than I’m getting – initiating things with them, asking them how they are and not talking about myself at all… And I’m starting to wonder why I put in the effort. But I’ve known these girls for forever, and I would feel bad about turning down invites (even though they don’t come to my get togethers)… What can I do to not rock the boat, but to stop feeling bleh about the whole thing?
Okay. Let’s break this down:
- These friends don’t have anything in common with you
- They aren’t giving anything in your friendship
- You feel shitty after hanging out with them
- They don’t come to your stuff, but you go to theirs
The only things keeping you from changing it up are:
- You’ve known them for forever
- You feel bad turning them down
Let’s start with the two reasons that would prevent you from changing the current state of things.
It doesn’t matter that you have known them for a long time if you aren’t getting anything out of these friendships. It’s not like you’re banning them from your life, and if you end up having things in common later and life and they bring value as friends, then great, you can always pick things back up. But right now, your life is being weighed down by unnecessary shit, and this is something you need to cut out. We’ll get to why later.
But you also feel bad turning them down. Here’s the thing – what would you rather feel: irrational guilt for turning down an invite from them when they turn down yours, or that frustrated feeling you get when you realize you got off your couch and did your hair, all for a couple of hours that you wish you could get back to do something you care about?
Then there’s the bigger picture. It’s not just about your Friday night, or who has accepted the most invitations – it’s about your whole life. Which sounds dramatic, but hear me out.
When you look at your social calendar, how much of it are you genuinely looking forward to? 50%? 80%? I think it should be 100%. Sure, some things you can’t get out of, and some things are investments or necessary evils (for example, maybe your in-laws aren’t at the top of your fun list, but you know it’s important and it’s worth it). But when it comes to your people who you choose to spend your SPARE time with, why the hell is that something you’re dreading? Makes no sense!
This is something I am JUST figuring out, thanks to my wise sister. We have been talking about how important our time is and how it makes us feel. Think about it – you’re looking at your week like, “Okay Monday I have happy hour with this girl from work who I don’t even like that much and it’s going to be awkward, but she asked me so I had to go… then Wednesday I have my friend’s party where no one I know will be there, but I should go because I didn’t go to her last leggings/oils/crystals/makeup party…then Thursday I have dinner with the boyfriend’s family friends who I’ve never met… then Friday and Saturday I said I would leave for the weekend with friends that I have realized lately I don’t click with at all….” SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT WEEK. I’m already exhausted.
But we’ve all been there, right? (If you haven’t, props to you and please comment with tips!) With that kind of pattern, I would start to feel kinda depressed about my life – where is all the fun stuff I want to do??
So we need to start saying no. With no guilt. Even if someone did nothing wrong, but you’re just not into it, say no. Even if you LOVE this person but you don’t love their bowling club, say no. And once your schedule is 90% shit you love, showing up for someone you love to do something you’re not that thrilled about will be a million times easier.
It’s about your life as a whole, and viewing your time as a precious (and scarce) resource. If I say no to this party these girls invited me to, I will have more energy to say yes to other invites that are way more important to me. And I will have more energy to do other things that make me happy, like exercise or cook for myself or read that book. Suddenly, you have time to do the things you WANT to do.
And even if you’re SO BORED, and the only thing to do this Friday night is hang out with those girls, still say no – because you know you won’t have a good time. And with that freed up time and space, you make room for new friends, new hobbies, new habits – and you will only let those in that you think sound fun. It might take some time, but then you’re looking at a bad-ass calendar.
Think of it as a wardrobe capsule for your life. Less=more, quality > quantity.
Sounds pretty dope, no? So start embracing “no”. We’ll do it together.