I have an aunt who lives across the street from where my bridal shower was held and she didn’t attend. She didn’t call. She didn’t offer a rationale. She simply didn’t show up. I wasn’t in my feelings about it. I never even asked why she didn’t come. I assumed she had other obligations and we simply moved forward with our relationship as if nothing happened and that was that.
Perhaps that’s abnormal, but I was way too excited about my family and friends who were in attendance and the outcome of my shower to be upset over who wasn’t there. In all honesty, I have trouble even remembering who was unable to attend. And I say that with no shade whatsoever. In fact, I’m never one to get upset when loved ones are unable to attend my parties or outings. People have commitments and responsibilities and, sometimes, those things will conflict with what I have going on. In my mind, that’s perfectly okay. But there are people on the other end of the spectrum, who seem to take a declined invitation as a personal attack.
When scrolling through my social media timelines, I’m always disturbed when I see the jaded Instagram and Facebook posts of people slamming friends or relatives who have missed a baby shower or some three-day-long birthday celebration. To be clear, I’m not referring to people who RSVP to weddings and retirement parties — you know, instances where the host has to pay per person — then don’t show up. Those people are a different breed of flaky. Nor am I referring to instances where a person goes to great measures to host an event with low turnout. I’m talking about people who will have a 70 or 80 percent turnout at an event but choose to focus their attention on the 20 or 30 percent who were not present. It’s such a downer during the occasion and is also quite demoralizing to the people who came out to support.
Any time I extend an invitation to someone, I do so with the understanding that no one is obligated to attend. I recognize that when I plan something, there is a possibility that some people will be available and others won’t. It’s simply par for the course and is in no way reflective of the status of my relationship with that person or their feelings about me.
But for some it is. As this writer on heartsupport shared, “I had tied my self-worth to how many friends I had and what people thought of me. And a birthday party was a perfect way to measure that. My belief system was that the more people that rallied around me, the more worth I had as an individual.”
He went on to share that after his 30th birthday party, he finally realized how he was seeking validation by throwing grandiose birthday parties every year and wanting to be surrounded by friends.
“Quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Ultimately, it doesn’t mean anything if people don’t show to your birthday,” he wrote. “They might have had other plans, an emergency, or maybe are introverted and a large group setting makes them uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, it only means something if we let our self-worth get attached to it… Focus on the friends that actually care for you, because you’ll end up being a better friend to them and the type of person people actually want to be around.”
What are your feelings on the situation? Do you feel offended when people decline invitations to your events?