This past month, I have learned to say no. I know, I know. Clap a little louder so I can hear you while I take a bow. In the past thirty days, I successfully turned down three in-person Stella & Dot parties; five virtual parties of assorted sundries like lotions, bags, makeup, and diet pills wraps magical concoctions that won’t work; a Stitch Fix subscription request; and an invitation to pay money to drink wine and paint. I am so proud. I also feel a little bit like a jerkface. But mostly, I’m just proud.
Most of these invitations have come with “easy out” opportunities, like a polite click of the “decline” button followed up by a text message thanking the host for the invitation and suggesting that we catch up soon. But one of these parties came with a never-ending email chain threaded between all the invitees. While I kept my reply short and sweet as a courtesy, here’s what I’d really like to say:
Stop asking everyone to buy things. Including me. I know you invite me because you think I can afford it. How do I know? I’ve actually heard you say — both to my face and behind my back — “Oh, she can afford it if anyone can.” Yes, those two married teachers are rolling in dough, aren’t they? Actually, you’re not wrong. I could afford a Stella & Dot necklace or six*. I can also afford to probably scoop up all the other non-essentials. But at what cost? Not only would these invitations easily max out both mine and Mr. P’s “mad money”** for the month, but they certainly would not bring us any closer to our goals, financial or otherwise. And just because you think this paisley print, penguin patterned tote bag is the bee’s knees doesn’t mean I want one. They’re not my needs, and they’re not my wants.
While we’re on the subject of needs, how do you think this invitation makes our other friend feel? You know, the one who just lost her job? Probably, you just wanted us all to feel included. But maybe that backfired. Hanging out with people is expensive enough when there is just coffee, a meal, or margaritas involved. But to come to a party — BYOB, by the way — and then purchase jewelry to pad the pockets of a salesgirl we don’t even know and make sure the host gets her items comped, come on. That is not what an emergency fund is for. I’m not even sure that’s what friendship is for.
In fact, if you really know me the way I think you do, you’d know that I’ve been spending countless hours decluttering my closets. I even helped you set up a Poshmark account. You’ve heard me decline invitations to meet up at the mall and suggest other activities instead. We even laughed while we agreed to make grocery shopping our new LOFT shopping so we could still spend time together and check off our to-do list at the same time. One time, you even asked me for help setting up a budget. I love spending time with you, truly I do, but please stop asking me to buy things.
Call me cheap. Call me Scrooge. Call me whatever you want behind my back while you sip wine, select bobbles, model handbags, and slather each other with seaweed wraps to trim an inch off your tummies. But please, don’t get upset when you call me about one of these parties and I decline. I’ve finally learned how to say no.
*This is actually hyperbolic. I looked up the prices of some–because I am spineless and considered just purchasing something to try to buy away my guilt–and my heart almost stopped. Seriously. I spent $700 for wedding shoes, and I think the prices are cray-cray. Especially considering there’s nothing to say how these items are sourced or manufactured.
**When I was really little, my grandma told me to go get some mad money out of the Pringles jar. I asked her why it was angry. Grandmas are the best.
So Tell Me…Would this post be more aptly named “how to lose all your friends”? Have you had to dodge any unwanted spending situations lately? What’s your strategy?