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February 23, 2014

Comments

I have so many things to say about this I wish I still had a blog to say them--except that they would not be terribly bloggable. But yes, I hear you and I don't think you're overreacting at all. I wish people understood what terribly bad manners it is to make a big thing of events to which not everyone in ones social circle was invited. I have several work colleagues who do this habitually without a second thought--both in person and on facebook. It's hurtful but I also sort of feel embarrassed for them sometimes because something about it just feels desperate.

I find that after I say no to an invitation or two, I stop getting invited ever (even if I invite back). Not being on FB also means I don't get invites. I'm at peace with this because I really don't want to socialize with colleagues every weekend, even if I'd like to more often than I do. For now other social groups fill that need... My colleagues probably see enough of me at work anyway.

OUCH. I'm so sorry, even though I think your read on the situation is probably exactly right and that it's not personal and not meant to be hurtful. But it does hurt to be left out, even if you might have skipped the event anyway. (When I saw that it was about the engagement of a teacher in your department, I bristled on your behalf--and then I realized that very likely there will be some kind of celebration of Romola's engagement and I won't be invited to that because--even though she and I are fairly close, one on one--there is a group of faculty she socializes with and I am not in it.)

These things can be so confusing and painful! Kudos to you for taking care of yourself--and also for recognizing that you were doing things that feel more important and authentic to you.

Thanks for the supportive comments! I've been a bit blue at school today, and I had a silly moment walking down the hall after lunch when I thought, "I'm going to get a job at another school, where I'm going to keep my head down and just do my job and not reach out or try to make friends with anyone!" And then self-knowledge raised its head and asked, "Who are you kidding?" and I was okay again.

WN, I had a similar experience earlier this year when I covered a class for a colleague only to find a stack of addressed holiday card envelopes on her desk, but I was not among the recipients! I felt snubbed, even though I would not say this colleague and I are close friends, but we work closely enough that I felt excluded and surprised. I am also introverted, and the double bind for me is that while I don't have much energy left for socializing on the weekends, I feel lonely when I realize how long it's been since I've seen friends. Sometimes I think what I really want is not to go out with friends, but to have already gone out with them--to have the memories and the friendly afterglow without the draining feeling I often have in large social settings. Does that even make sense, or does it just make me sound like a hermit?!

Jackie - it makes sense to me - I think many of us feel as if we SHOULD HAVE had the experiences, even if we really wouldn't have wanted them. We see the pictures on facebook and we think we're supposed to want that. And maybe we do, and maybe we don't. (And honestly? I still haven't understood this tendency to take pictures of you and your friends everywhere... feels very awkward to me - even with smart phones, my friends and I generally only take pictures on special occasions - well at least of US - if there's something amusing that we spot we'll take a picture obviously!)

@Jackie-- it's worse when it's wedding invitations! Even though probably you didn't get invited to the wedding because it's a destination wedding and you have two small kids (and wouldn't be able to go). Or maybe because you couldn't go to the bridal shower because your husband was out of town and you have two small kids... Best not to think too hard about it.

Argh.....I think I would be having exactly the cycle of reactions that you mention here.

Jackie and Ally, I love your observation about wanting to have gone out, rather than actually wanting to go out. So true!

And yes, I'm mostly fine with becoming increasingly introverted, but I don't want that to somehow mean that I don't have friends or a social life, and yet that's the way it's been working for the last few years.

And let's hear it for wonderful bloggy friends who understand!

Social media is the worst. I don't actually think that adults mean to use FB to hurt one another in this way, but it kind of floors me that so many adults fail to think about the consequences. Certainly it might have occurred to the photo-poster that you would be FB friends with someone who was tagged, right? Argh. Social media is too powerful a tool for lots of people. Do they really need to post such pictures for the sake of the people who were at the event? No, no they do not.

What I don't see here is that you occasionally or ever organize your own social events and invite these people to them.

I'm on the introverted side myself, but for whatever social-hierarchy reason I end up being a person who organizes various social events - happy hours, bbq in the park, what have you. Sometimes even stuff at my own home. And when there are people who regularly turn down invitations (without adding something like, "Gosh I have a conflict this time, but please think of me next time!") or just don't show up, and if those people also are not making the effort to reach out to me socially, I quit bothering. Not because I don't like them, but because *I've* been rejected.

Also, of course, it gets exhausting to *always* be the one responsible for organizing events. And so (I'm just thinking about my own behavior in this regard for the first time, really) I think it is accurate to say that even when people semi-reliably show up to things I have organized, if they are never reciprocally organizing *anything* with me on their own (even if it's just saying, hey you want to take the dogs for a walk together?) my invitation frequency might drop towards zero. Because why should I be responsible for doing all the work of maintaining social relationships? I don't want to - friends who don't actively want to see me are not really friends I'm highly motivated to keep.

I have no idea if any of this is relevant to the Queen Bee in your case - but I found myself kind of identifying with her as I read your post, so I thought I'd share. I guess the potential advice that would come from my perspective is, organize a happy hour yourself!

Little Bee, I appreciate your comment, and it's along the lines of my own thought process in the wake of all of this. One thing I've been thinking about is trying to identify who are the folks I most enjoy and feel kinship with; then, I'd like to focus on creating meaningful social interactions off-campus with those folks. My plan is to go for quality over quantity here!

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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