Fifteen years ago I would have never skipped a friend's party.
But times have changed and so have the parties.
Last weekend one of my best friends from high school had a 1st birthday party for her second child and I was invited. I didn't go. I love this friend and she has been more compassionate and understanding than most, but I can't say the same about her friends. When I went to her first child's 1st birthday party, every conversation basically went as follows.
Me: Hi, I'm Phoenix.
Other Person: Hi, I'm Myrtle. How do you know Awesome Friend? We work together/have play
dates together/went to prenatal yoga together/are in the neighborhood moms group together.
Me: Oh, I've known Awesome Friend since we were 17. Isn't she the best?
Other Person: Yes! So which kid is yours?
Me: Oh, I don't have kids.
Awkward silence... (Because there's absolutely nothing else to talk about in life, am I right?)
Other Person: Well, I'm going to get another drink/slice of cake/check in with my husband.
So, despite my love for my friend I just couldn't muster the energy or interest to go to the birthday party. Instead of feeling bad or repeatedly questioning myself if I was making the right decision, I just decided and went on with my day. That is definite progress on my part.
The more I take care of myself, putting my feelings and considerations first, the easier it gets.
And guess what? The world doesn't end when I skip these parties.
In fact, better things continue to fill the space. Like last weekend for example. One of my husband's friends from college ended up coming in to town so we met up with him for several hours and it was a lot of fun. I would've missed that had I gone to the party where I would have inevitably been left standing by myself.