Friday, January 9, 2009

Friends in LA

So I had a rather tough dialogue with a friend yesterday.

She was all upset that I wasn't attending her birthday party.

And you know, I understand that birthdays are SUPER important to some people, especially women. I always figure the friends that make it a point to attend my birthday party are friends that think their birthdays are important (most of the time) so I do my best to attend theirs.

However, it was shocking to me that someone I never talk to on the phone or email about deeply personal things (as you do with really close friends) would be so upset with me. Because I was an awesome friend to her (helping her with job leads when she was out of work, lending a cheerful and encouraging ear when she was out of work, giving her lots of dating advice) would have the audacity to call me out and be "hurt and offended" simply because I wasn't going to her birthday party, even though I offered to take her out some other time and even though I know none of her friends and her birthday party isn't even just hers but with another friend she has that I don't know, and despite the fact that I hate karaoke with a passion.

So it begs the question - are you obligated to go to someone's birthday party just because they are your friend?

I think for close friends, absolutely, at least if their birthday is important to them.

But for someone you barely know? I think not.

The issue really was that while I was a great friend to her, I don't think I got the same back from her. It's nothing against her, just that I feel like I gave a LOT to her in our friendship and didn't really get much back. So to me, that entitles me to be perhaps a bit selfish, and beg out of some big dinner where I won't know a soul and karaoke, that I absolutely hate. Listen, I listen to enough bad music for a living - the last thing I want to do for "fun" is listen to more bad singing ...and to pay for the privilege.

Anyhow, sadly, that friendship has come to an end.

And it makes me wonder if I need to be a bit more selective/selfish when it comes to my friendships.

Because I was such a good friend, I am expected to do EVERYTHING right and perfectly, even when it's something I simply don't want to do.

That hardly seems fair.

Oh well.

I'm sure there are more sane and stable women in LA that I can make friends with.


Boris said...

I'm grateful that someone else seems to think karoke is incredibly over-rated!

What can you say: it's LA! This town was built on narcissism, and the social infrastructure caters to that whim. In some cases, it encourages it.

Not knowing your friend, and not having been a fly on the wall, I can't really accuse her of excessive self-importance, but at my age, it's easier to cynically presume that people will very nearly always bend things to suit their desires.

jennifery said...

Are you kidding Boris?

Karaoke is pure torture, especially to someone like me who listens to bad music all day long.

The last thing I want to do for "fun" is go and PAY to listen to even more bad singers. Besides, isn't that what "American Idol" is for?

Good observation about narcissism. Is it all the actors in this town that make being narcissistic people flock here..or do people become narcissistic after having lived here for a while?

I don't think my ex-friend was being selfish as much as she was just a girl from a small town who thought everyone would go to her birthday back where she's from so it's "expected" that I would do that too - even though I probably have about 30-40 "friends" in LA - not all of them do I feel obligated to go to their birthday party.

Anyhow, one day she'll grow up and realize that the world does not revolve around her and that in the middle of a recession and on a Saturday night, people have other things to do!