Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

This Memorial Day Weekend has been a long and busy one for my family. My brother’s wedding took place (yippie! Mazel Tov, guys) so I spent the last three days in a flurry of bachelorette parties, rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, and finally the main event. Then today my husband had a good friend of his over for brunch. It was so much fun.

Afterward I collapsed on the couch and slept for two hours, and I am NOT a nap person. If I were a kid (like my nephew’s 10-year-old friends who were running around in circles on the dance floor for 3 hours last night) you’d say I was over-stimulated and needed a timeout.
That’s about the size of it. I’m one of those types who will happily spend (or perhaps waste is a better word) a whole weekend sofa-surfing, baking cupcakes, all-around puttering. I often look up at the end of a Sunday evening surprised to discover myself still in Friday’s lounging sweats, nothing accomplished beyond the next level in Lego Indiana Jones on my Nintendo Wii.
Nothin’ wrong with that, right? 
Well, that depends.


I often make or agree to plans that sound appealing in the abstract, then fink out on them at the last minute out of sheer laziness, ennui, social anxiety or a combination of all three. 

This is not a sterling quality of mine. Yet, despite my many efforts, while I’ve been able to mitigate it to some degree over the years, I have not been able to eradicate the tendency completely and suspect I never will.
I know this behavior has the potential to put my friends out. They’ll ask me to picnics, movies, parties, etc, and I’ll agree because I love them and I want to be the sort of person who enjoys these things. And you know what? Often, when I push past the hump of the above laziness, ennui, social phobias etc, I do have a great time. But other times I just crave solitude, “me time” on the weekends. And I never know ahead of time which is going to take precedence. I don’t want to be thoughtless and put my friends in a bad spot (or piss them off enough so they won’t ask me to hang out again). But I don’t want to give up my decompression time either.
So over the years I’ve developed a code of ethics about my weekend wuss-outs.
  • I will not wuss out of a dinner party unless I’m only one of dozens of guests and my absence will not be missed.
  • I will not wuss out of a get-together without a call or other form of communication in which I am completely (or at least reasonably) honest about my reasons for not coming.
  • If I fink out of going to someone’s event, I will follow up and try to reschedule at a less wussy time in the very near future.
  • I give as much wuss-notice as humanly possible before any weekend fink-out. 
  • If it’s a brunch-type thing or trip to the movies, I make an effort to suss out whether the event is something the other party is really counting on or would secretly like to reschedule as much as I would.
  • If I sense ahead of time that I might need to conserve my energies that weekend, I ask if any plans we make can be tentative; if my friend is okay with that, great. If not, I either commit firmly or back out ahead of time rather than cheese out at the last minute.
Now, I know I have not always done the best job at living up to these principles. And if any of my friends are reading this, please know that I love you and it’s my own failings that glue me to the couch, not a lack of enthusiasm for your company. But if, dear readers, you want to comment on the ethics of friendship and following through on your commitments, please, feel free to do it here.
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