Over the past year I’ve noticed that I don’t always enjoy parties or gatherings like I did in the past with my female friends. I used to look forward to playing Bunko, getting together for the holidays at the annual cookie exchange and even showing up for some of the in-home parties. Now I feel like it’s the same crowd talking about the same old stuff. Some of these women are my friends and I don’t want to be rude by always saying no. Yet, at the last party just a few days ago I could feel my frustration as one of the women had to be her larger-than-life self. When I tried to escape to the kitchen, yet another woman was in there chastising a friend’s food choices: “You know, that beef you’re eating is probably loaded with antibiotics and growth-hormones.” Talk about a buzz kill! What do I do?
– Party Pooped
Dear Party Pooped,
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to step back from the whirlwind of parties and obligations this time of year. Turning down some of the invites is perfectly acceptable. If saying no is a challenge for you, go back and read my “Four-Step Program to Saying No” at this link: http://colettecarlson.com/article-display.php?Article=12
But it sounds like you’re tapping into something more profound than simple holiday-overload. You’re finding the gossip and judgmental attitudes tiresome, and you’re weary of Drama-Queen Debbie’s need to dominate the conversation. Perhaps getting together with just a few of the women, those you feel most connected to, would be more meaningful.
Or maybe you’re in a friendship rut, running with the same crowd that you have for years because it’s convenient and easy. These may be women who live in your neighborhood, or whose kids hang out with yours. Everyone’s just a little too close for comfort.
It’s natural for friendships to ebb and flow and some to simply dry up. As our interests shift, it’s normal to want to spend time with those who share our outlook and passions. Sounds like it’s time for you to broaden your horizons. It doesn’t have to be big or scary – invite that woman in your Zumba class for coffee. Or suggest to the woman you met at the charity fundraiser that you get together for happy hour. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone to make that connection.
Obviously, broadening our circle of friends doesn’t mean we abandon those who’ve been by our side long enough to know us best – and who love us anyway. What it does mean is that this time next year, you won’t be gritting your teeth as Drama-Queen Debbie regales everyone within shouting distance about her Botox crisis.