My childhood friend is having her marriage celebration a year after they were married. When they tied the knot, they didn’t have the money to have a big party, so they got married at the courthouse with plans of hosting one in 2017.
So I just got the invitation, and it's the weekend of my 30th birthday, in a rural location in my home state. If I go, this will be a big expense for me: A flight, rental car for a 5-hour drive to arrive at a cabin in a lodge type location. The plan is I'd be bunking up with my three other childhood friends and their husbands. Yes, I'm the only single one in the group.
I'm feeling anxious and unhappy about turning 30 as it is, especially given that I'm pretty much terminally single at this point. I'm not sure I want to spend that weekend with my three married friends and their husbands, to celebrate the year-old marriage of our fourth married friend. I also have very limited vacation days, and so burning two of them for this weekend seems unappealing.
I feel guilty that I'm considering not going to this celebration; I don't want my friend to feel slighted. So basically...do I have to go?
Tiffany M. — Reno, NV
Bunking up with married people, yay! No. You do not have to go. I’ve found that the greatest gift we receive in aging is the facility to gracefully say “no thank you” and to not feel bad about it—not even a little bit. Your “no” will get easier every year. Happy birthday!
So before you turn 30, let’s practice together, ready? Here’s your note to attach to a nice gift that costs waayyyy less than the trip in its entirety would set you back.
“Thank you so much for including me in your wedding celebration! I’m sorry I won’t be able to join you guys. Please know that I love you. I got you ___, and I hope that when you two use this gift you’ll think of me and feel my love and blessings for your life together. When you’re in [your city here] you always have a place to stay. Fondly, ___.”
You do not owe everyone you love your presence for everything they do. Just like you’re not demanding the eight of them fly in for your 30th birthday.
If she absolutely needed you there, it’s on her to call you and say, “Hey, I need you here, so let’s check dates and locations together to make sure what I’m planning works for you.” Did she do that? Nah.
Celebrate your 30th in a way that makes you happy. Choosing to do something that is a big sacrifice, that’s too expensive, and that causes anxiety is not the answer, and not the way to celebrate a landmark day.
Hang with loved ones who can make the day about you instead. And sure, if you’re up for it, take a moment to call into your group of friends during the party to say hi and to tell them you’re thinking about them, but call that one friend who you can count on to get you off the phone in the shortest amount of time.
Now, let’s address your “terminally single” status. Terminally single is a choice. If you want that, then own it and tell anyone who’s bugging you about it to fuck right off. If you don’t want that, then make a different choice. The first step is to stop saying those words. Words are powerful—they cast spells. And girl, if you want help, I’ve got you; read my book, come take my class, or work with me! Your status is totally changeable, and there’s nothing terminal about your love life.