On Being The Other Friend

I have this good friend, we'll name her Sherry. I'm calling her a "good friend," but the truth is that we don't talk to each other that often or see each other that often now. We both work full time, and she had a baby recently, so we're both busy, and we live about an hour from one another. Regardless, she's one of my favorite people, so I think "good friend" is a fair term.

Sherry and I now see each other probably 2-3 times a year. We usually get together at her place, because she has the baby, so it's easier for me to travel than for her to travel. And I don't mind.

But when we get together, she always invites a few other friends. I haven't seen Sherry one-on-one in a long time... over a year, maybe two.

I guess there are different ways to look at this. Sherry's a busy woman, and if she's going to take the time and energy to entertain at her home, she might as well get to see a few friends at the same time.

But I also wonder if it means I am a less-important friend. I like Sherry enough that I'd block out time in my schedule to see her one-on-one. But I have other friends who I prefer to see in groups. For example, I have a childhood friend that still lives near my old hometown. We'll call her Nickie. Nickie's not one of my favorite people, but it's also not really worth it to "break up" with her. So, if she wants to get together, I arrange to see her when I visit my family or other hometown friends. And it works out fine, we see each other, but I probably wouldn't take the time to see Nickie one-on-one.

So, I don't know. Maybe Sherry, my "good friend," sees me the same way. Or, maybe she sees the other people as her Nickie, and she invites me along the same way I invite other people when I hang out with Nickie.

But I suspect that Sherry makes all of her plans with all of her friends this way. I think she sees it as a way to see all of her friends without too much effort. So, I don't think I should take it personally. But I would hope that she would realize that she doesn't need to put any effort into seeing me - I would be perfectly happy hanging out in her apartment, messy or not, and just doing nothing or playing with her baby, no further entertainment needed.

I guess another part of the problem is that I don't really like her other friends. (Which is part of the reason why I suspect that one of them is her "Nickie," not me. Because they're annoying, and I'm not. In my opinion.) But I think that if we were hanging out with a nice, fun group of people, it would be a little better, although I'd still want some one-on-one time with Sherry.

And I also understand that sometimes you think "Hey, this friend would get along great with my other friend, I should introduce them." I can appreciate that. In fact, I've met some of my better friends when they started out as friends-of-friends. But I don't get the impression that Sherry thinks I have anything in common with these friends. She's certainly hasn't said to me, "Jane is coming too. You'll like her. Just like you, she also collects pre-war confederate bottle caps." In fact, the other friends haven't even been new people. Sherry's other guests have all been people I've met before at her get-togethers, and it's not as if we really clicked the last time together.

The same way that I feel like it's not really "worth it" for me to hang out with Nickie one-on-one, I'm starting to feel like it's not worth it for me to hang out with Sherry and her other friends.

So, what do you think? Next time she invites me over, should I say, "Who's going to be there?" And, what, come up with an excuse if she names the other friends I don't like?

I could make a point of calling her and saying, "Let's get together, just the two of us." And that would satisfy my desire to spend time with her, but I still don't want to hang out with her less-likeable friends the next time that opportunity arises.

So, what do you think?

4 comments:

  1. How about suggesting an "appointment-type" event. Like you two go to a spa or manicure or something? Even moms like a little "me" time.

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  2. Or shopping. Do the "hey, let's get together, just the two of us. Maybe we could go shopping?" Totally doable.

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  3. Invite her to dinner someplace that requires reservations, and YOU make the reservation.

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