Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A hard call

I am supposed to be going out to dinner tonight with friends, to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday. It's not going to work out for tonight - I have already phoned my regrets to the birthday girl - and when I actually sat down and thought about it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that maybe it is for the best. We have these dinners 5 times a year - once for each birthday. The birthday girl tonight is a sweetheart, and I haven't seen her in ages. We talk on the phone from time to time, but we never seem to connect in person.

There were a few things about tonight that had me worried. The restaurant they chose for dinner is one that competes directly with the restaurant I work with. Times are tough, and every table counts these days. They are just around the corner from each other, and I felt guilty for going to this other restaurant. But I don't feel comfortable explaining my discomfort. I would almost rather just NOT GO and avoid the whole thing. And I certainly don't want to ask to relocate the dinner just because of where I work, or MY preferences..... Maybe they didn't suggest my workplace on purpose, so that I wouldn't have to hang out at work on my off night. But again, I wouldn't bring it up, because I don't feel comfortable making suggestions with this group anymore.....I feel that I should be grateful that they continue to include me in these dinnners.....

And the issue of money does enter the equation. I began 2009 choosing a cash-only lifestyle. And I do not have any cash right now. I used to think nothing of throwing down my platinum AMEX for these dinners - but not anymore. These dinners are to celebrate a birthday, so I definitely need to have extra cash on hand, to chip in for the birthday girl's dinner.....something that I never used to think twice about, but now I have to consider very carefully. My income and expenses have changed considerably. And that is not something I feel really comfortable opening up about with these women - especially at a birthday dinner.....and maybe, you know, that's a sign for me that I shouldn't ignore. If I *don't* feel comfortable being honest, then maybe I *shouldn't* be hanging out with them. They deserve better then that - these are awesome people, and great friends.....

And with that I begin to touch on how much our relationships have changed. Things have changed a lot since this group of ladies started going out on a regular basis 3 or 4 years ago. I feel like a 5th wheel. A stranger in their midst. I don't have much contact with them other then these every-few-months girls nights out....and I don't feel like I am their really good friend anymore. Of course, I don't know how much time they are spending together other then these dinners - maybe we ALL only see each other once every few months ? I honestly have no idea.

When taken all together, the prospect of tonight made me nervous. Uncertain. Not just a fun night out with the girls - it's loaded with all sorts of worry, concern, stress.......which is SO not what this is supposed to be about ! It's supposed to be FUN ! Birthday celebration ! Girl's Night OUT ! Woo FUCKING HOOOOO.

And for me, right now, well....not so much. And if I said anything, I would feel like a spoilsport. A pouter. A "take my toys and go home" kind of girl - which I am definitely NOT.

This is just the sort of thing that I will worry myself sick about...... and it seems so ridiculous. Stressed over going out to dinner ? Afraid of offending friends by sharing my fears and concerns ? God, I'm a schmuck. It's all moot anyway - I'm not going, so the problem is solved, essentially.

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