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What To Do When People Suck

One of my earliest themed parties was a big birthday bash I threw for myself: Candyland.

It was brilliant. I'd found this perfect dress and would go as cotton candy. I created the board as my very first (and successfully awesome) backdrop. I had candy goodybags, colorful props, and an amazing cocktail menu. My invitations were simple yet effective, and 50 people RSVP'd.

13 showed up.

Can I tell you that there are just these moments in your life when you feel at your absolute worst? At the risk of being too vulnerable, this was one of mine. To have so many people take my friendship so lightly, all at once, was devastating, and is the reason why to this day I have a really hard time forgiving people who can't come to my own large events at the last minute.

So what do you do when people suck?

1. Look around. So 13 people showed, and not the 50 you were expecting. You still see people, do you not? These are the people who matter. Give your attention and love to those who are really truly there for you. Appreciate them.

I had a very tough time attempting this at the start of my Candyland party, and needed to be reminded that it was the better friends who were there and wanted to celebrate me. These are the friendships I kept pursuing after the party. Focus on the people who bring out the best in you, the most loved. There's plenty of you're-not-enough mentality to go around in life, and there's no reason to let it creep into yours.

2. Eat more cake, drink more wine. But not out of self-pity! This is a "well, more for me" glass-half-full perspective, one I needed to have, because my immediate reaction was closer to the glass-half empty perspective at the time.

What I'm saying is: have a great experience despite your first reaction. Party like you were going to anyway, because who are these absent people to to discern how good of an evening you're going to have? They're not even here, so why should they get a say on your happiness level? (And then, hey! You have more delicious leftovers now! Sweet.)

3. Forgive. I have to fight my urge to remain angry at people who flake on my big events even ​still, but the truth is that sometimes, people have a good reason they couldn't make it. And it's certainly not your job to corner them and ask them why; the friends who want to stay connected with you will let you know. Those are the people you say, "Give them another chance" about.

4. Reevaluate the guest list. Yes, absolutely forgive them. But pay attention if there are some friends who've become not as close as they once were. Maybe they don't seem super interested when you talk about your next party (because of course there will be a next one! Always get back on the horse). And when it comes time to create your next invitee list, I give you full permission to be more loyal to yourself and your own feelings than your acquaintances. Do you think they'll make you feel like you weren't worth celebrating again? Don't give them that opportunity this time. Give new and true friends that honored place on your guest list. They are worth it, and so are you.

In truth, I needed to have this experience during a birthday years ago, because it shaped how I react when people back out unexpectedly to this day. Do you think all the people who said they'd be at my wedding were there? No. There were a few whose seating arrangement cards were still on the front table by the time everyone left. And I knew there would be because I was mentally prepared this time. I was determined to focus on the people who were there at the party and in my heart.

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