Your Dubai diary is bursting, but you just want to slob at home. Angela Gilltrap learnt how to dodge unwanted social engagements
My commitment to non-committal started out innocently enough. A social double-booking irreparably altered my attitude towards attendance. The freeing feeling of not going where I didn’t want to go, not doing something I didn’t want to do, was exhilarating. It changed me. All of a sudden I realised that the world wouldn’t spontaneously combust if I didn’t attend a birthday party (even though I’d said I would). I was not a social leper if I missed after-work drinks with friends (even though I’d said I would). I made a momentous decision right there and then. Instead of being the dependable life-of-the-party, committed to attending the opening of any envelope, I learned to just say, ‘maybe’.
‘Feel like heading to Sanctuary?’ Mmm, let’s have a see, shall we? ‘Want to head to a friend’s after-after party in a villa somewhere in Al Quoz, even though it’s already 5am?’ Ooh, tough one, call me in five (hours). ‘Getting all dressed up to head to the Cavalli Club?’ Let’s play that one by ear.
What I suddenly found was that all around me others were doing the same. For instance, have you noticed that – perhaps after you pass 25 – friends who once berated you for Some would call it selfi sh, but perhaps this attitude is not a lack of loyalty, merely an act of preservation. Think about it: if you committed to every function, party, wedding, funeral, concert, coffee, cocktail and get-together you’re invited to just looking at your diary would give you a coronary. Knowing that ‘if you don’t want to, you don’t have to’ halts an inevitable meltdown.
I often think about generations gone by with their commitment to family, friends and community and wonder if I’m part of a flakier generation – or whether we simply have more to do than our forefathers? They may have made jam from scratch, built their own furniture and sewed a frock or two but they didn’t have to contend with online networking groups, tempting free club nights or that all-pervading prattling device, Twitter.
Whatever the answer, if I’m seen as lazy, disloyal or flighty, it can’t dissuade me from my convictions. So if you’d like to get together next week, I’ll put it in my diary (in pencil) and hey, let’s see how we go shall we? Angela Gilltrap’s travel memoir, Sunshine On Sugar Hill is published by ABC Books.
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Dubai resident Jul 20, 2009 10:42 am
Angela, while I agree that in our generation there are too many things to do on our calendar, I must disagree with the idea that you feel it's alright to decide on something last minute.
I'm fed up of people thinking that it's some kind of privelege to say no or turn down an invitation. And as Jenn said, it's rude and you'll eventually stop being invited to such functions (and we know no one wants that!).
As much as I believe each person should have time to themselves and do as they please, the last thing I ever want to hear from someone is..."MAYBE I'LL PASS BY"...as if the person is going to take their time to determine whether they can be bothered to see your face and that this all important decision can only be made on a last minute thought.
Oooh, I'm in such suspense to see if you might show up tonight...
neelam Jul 15, 2009 11:30 am
Jenn .....totally agree with you on that why to bothor calling such people.....and after sometime you start missing those social gatherings n then you question why people donot meet me in the same way or invite me .........
Reme Jul 09, 2009 08:02 am
Good one Angela! I guess we all suffer the rockiness of the same boat..but I do aknowledge that sometimes it's due to self indulgance & Sumbitting to the last minute mood to decide, pick & choose!
Guilty and shame to admit it...
Jenn Jul 09, 2009 07:52 am
"I often think about generations gone by with their commitment to family, friends and community and wonder if I’m part of a flakier generation – or whether we simply have more to do than our forefathers? They may have made jam from scratch, built their own furniture and sewed a frock or two but they didn’t have to contend with online networking groups, tempting free club nights or that all-pervading prattling device, Twitter."
So you're too busy keeping in touch online with people you do and don't know online to actually spend time with people you do know?
You don't have to committ to every social engagement you're ever invited to but the vast majority of people would rather be told that you are unable to make it rather than "maybe" and not showing up.
It's not "lazy, disloyal or flighty" it's just rude.
I've noticed that people that make a habit of this soon stopped being invited to anything, I mean why bother inviting them if they don't even have the decency to let you know if they're going to be there or not.
Might be just what the "maybes" need so they have more time to "keep in touch" online.
Oh the irony.