“Can you come to brunch on Sunday?” Gee, why does that suddenly seem like such a complicated question?
I was invited to a potluck brunch for this weekend, and as I was giving my answer, it occurred to me just how many different answers I constantly give to that same kind of invitation, depending on who’s inviting me and how I feel at the time. Right now I’m starting to flare (well, a flare within a flare) and that makes this weekend especially unpredictable (or maybe just predictable in a way I’m refusing to believe at the moment.) There’s always the question of how much to share, and what do I really want this person to know? And then I realized the most important point of all. But I’ll get to that.
Invitation: I want to be there, but I know I might not be able to make it. What to say? I need an excuse, in case I don’t show up.
Close friend: I’m starting to have some bad pain in my foot, so I don’t know if I can make it, but I’ll be there if I can. I’ll let you know, but it might be at the last minute.
Everyone else (these answers hint at the truth for less-close friends, and are totally uninformative for acquaintances): I may have to [insert weak excuse here], but I’ll try my best to be there.
Preparing: I don’t know if I can go, but even if I can, it might be tough.
Close friend: The pain is worse. If I make it, I won’t be able to bring anything for the potluck. Cooking isn’t happening now, and I wouldn’t be able to walk through a store to pick something up.
Everyone else: Um, by the way, is there parking at your place? Yes, I’d normally walk, but I, um, have to be someplace afterwards and I’ll need my car. Oh, and what floor do you live on? Is there an elevator? Oh, just wondering. I, um, have a bad knee.
Day of: If I can make it, then all’s good, and if anyone comments on my limp or other visible symptoms, I’ll just make something up. But if I can’t make it…..
Close friend: Damn this fucking pain! Hopefully I can make it next time. I hope you have a great party – let me know how it goes!
Everyone else: [Short email] I couldn’t get out of that other thing [mention previous weak excuse]. I won’t be able to make it, but thanks anyway. Hopefully I’ll be there next time!
How do you handle this kind of thing? I do this because it’s the best I can think of, but what I wonder what other people do and if there’s a better option. I hate hate hate editing myself. In all other parts of my life I just say what’s on my mind and it’s so much easier.
And then the most obvious point came up and whacked me on the head: Why do I do this? Why do I make up different stories for different people? Why not tell everyone the truth? Obviously I wouldn’t tell a stranger the whole truth – that’s way too complicated. But why not just say that I have pain sometimes, and right now it’s acting up, so I can’t predict if I’ll be able to make it to the brunch on Sunday. Sure, they may have a lot of follow-up questions, but if I’m not in the mood to deal with it, I can always brush them off. I can say that I can’t talk about it now, but I’d love to set aside a time to go over it with them later. Why not?
I think that I may just have to try this from now on. It may not be easy, but balancing out the different lies and half-truths isn’t so easy either. Besides, I’m generally a very honest person. People think I’m honest to a fault. The one thing I lie about is my health, and that’s just stupid. I don’t have the physical, mental, or emotional strength to deal with that kind of crap, so why am I wasting my precious energy on it? So for the next few months I’ll try telling the truth to everyone. I can’t wait to see how that goes. And it’ll have a fantastic added bonus: I won’t have to worry anymore about when and how to broach the topic – everyone will already know!
If you can relate to this, it would be so awesome if you’d click on one of the social media icons below to share this. Thanks!