Friday, April 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Friend is weary of being the only organizer

Q: I have a group of girlfriends that I enjoy spending time with. The problem is, anytime we get together it's because I organize it. I'm a little tired of doing it all and if I don't, then we go months without seeing each other. What's the best way to handle this? I miss them, but feel that they don't miss me.

Always Organizing

A: Maybe they are showing love, their way, by showing up.

In other words, I think the "best way to handle this" is to avoid comparing them to you. You participate in a friendship by cruise-directing. Other people have other ways. Some stay in touch regularly by phone, some by forwarding things they think you'll like, some by keeping your secrets, some by always being there when you're in crisis (but maybe not so much when everything's fine). And so on.

Try recalibrating your expectations — based not on what you give, but on what you get. Then ask yourself how much effort you are willing to give in exchange for what you receive. Avoid the facile extremes: Don't just suck it up and keep planning, or harrumph these friends out of your life completely. Instead, weigh the details carefully.

For example: Can you fully embrace that organizing is in your nature but not in theirs, and take new, knowing pleasure in being their cruise director? Or, do you need to cut back to bring yourself to a place where you won't feel resentful?

Or are you really just through counting on people who don't share your way of showing friendship? If so, then start making a conscious effort to find compatible friends. You can always keep organizing the occasional gathering of the old crowd as you make this transition.

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