The Rando at All Your Parties: Is It Fomo or Friendship?
PROBLEM: I have a friend who always assumes she’s invited to casual get-togethers. Like, if some people are discussing a games night, later, she’ll mention that she has a conflict and can’t make it … when she hadn’t even been part of the conversation. It happens a lot — coffee, movie, dinner plans. She always assumes she’s been included. How do I break it to her that it’s fine for people to make plans without her?
KB: I’m going to be the mature one this time and say: Give this particular lonely friend a break. She is obviously desperate to be a part of your merry band of cool kids, and in her delusion, she’s imagined she’s included in everything.
If you specifically don’t want her at something, don’t mention it in front of her. And if someone does talk about plans and she inserts herself as per the usual, take it as a compliment.
MM: If she’s always around when you’re making plans it’s a sign that you should take these conversations elsewhere (like a WhatsApp group).
But I’m also curious to know — if you don’t like her enough to drop an invitation, how is that she’s always there for the pre-event convo? Maybe your friend group needs to find a cooler hangout spot so you’re harder to stalk. Or gift her a spa coupon as a distraction the next time you meet.
SB: Wait, why are you friends with this girl if you don’t want to invite her anywhere? I’m feeling sympathetic toward her, too. This is one of those times when making someone’s day by letting them feel included (without much required on your end) seems like it’s worth doing. If she’s not really showing up anyway, what’s the issue?
LG: As someone who has DefCon levels of fomo most of the time, I’m thinking maybe your friend already knows, can’t help herself, but then toughens up and makes her excuses as part of her 12-step Fomo Anonymous program. Good on her for staying strong.
But like the others, I’m side-eye-ing your use of the term ‘friend’ here. I know sometimes it’s nice to chill informally and strengthen friendships individually, but then why does it sound like she’s never invited to do so? Before breaking anything to her, maybe consider whether you’ve been the most stand-up friend a girl can have.
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