I am having problems with a friend who invites me to do things with her and then after I have already agreed, invites someone else to join us. This may not appear to be any big deal, however my discomfort with the situation is that she often asks people I’m not particularly fond of and don’t want to spend an evening or an activity with…people like my ex-sister-in-law. Yes, AWKWARD!!! Once I’ve agreed to attend, I don’t like to back out just because she invites someone to join us that I’m not comfortable with. But I’m really tired of dreading these times together. What do I do? I don’t want to lose my friend but I also don’t want to keep dreading her events and invitations.
I understand. This has happened to me. One thing I’ve come to believe is that if a friend changes something we initially agreed upon, the initial agreement is no longer in play. When I RSVP to a friend’s invitation, I do so on the condition that it regards specifically what she asked me about -- not something else I’m unaware of. If she changes major details there may not be an obligation to follow through as I have not agreed to the new terms. For instance, if a friend invites you to go to the movies and you say yes but later says, “by the way, we’re not going to to the movies…we’re going water skiing…” would you feel obligated to follow through? Probably not. You didn’t agree to water skiing and it is perfectly reasonable to decline. In your case, you did not agree to spend an entire evening with your ex-sister in law.
I am very careful about accepting invitations. If a friend has been known to do what your friend is doing, I become reluctant to say yes to invites. They usually notice that and ask me, “well…are you going to join me…or not?” and I’ll say, “Hmmmmm…not sure yet. It depends on who’s attending. Will it just be us?” If she says yes then I take the opportunity to say, “Great. As long as it will just be us, I’m in.” If she asks me why I’ve made this clarification, I would let her know that while I’m looking forward to spending time with her, I appreciate the opportunity to know who and what is involved before I make a decision. This usually solves the problem. I hope it works for you and you can enjoy, rather than dread, upcoming times together.
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Deanna is an author, speaker and certified coach who loves living in the Tampa Bay area with her husband of 25 years and their three children.