OH YES, this is most excellent news!
@Lisa Frank I KNOW. But I still believe it, and I have to struggle to resist the pull to respond to (perceived) passive-aggression with more passive-aggression.
I might be way off-base, but I usually I read "Hey, [close friend], can I bring [boyfriend you aren't especially friendly with] to [conversation-heavy event]?" as a tacit invitation to cancel.
That is, I think that friend doesn't want the burden of saying "Hey, I'm prioritizing my boyfriend over our plans" by cancelling but they half-expect you will.
… which leaves me split between cheerfully skipping an event that will not be fun for me and will frustrate me or doggedly refusing to do that friend's dirty work for them by cancelling. (I certainly have friends whose boyfriends I'd love to see or get to know better at brunch, but when it's a lukewarm relationship, that's different.)
Jia! I'm sorry to see you move on and excited to hear where you've landed. Thank you for everything.
“I didn’t have lunch today, I was so busy!” is the obvious, apologetic way to go.
I reject outright the notion that eating cheese, especially free cheese — lots and lots of free cheese — requires explanation. Besides, anyone sticking close enough to the cheese table to notice is employing the same strategy and has no right to look askance at you.
Tom Junod's "Opinions Of A Boner," ladies and gentlemen.
I'm just going to lie face-down on the dusty floor while I consider my options.
That was the intended take-away from this article, right? Because WELL DONE.
LW 1, your friends are being rude to you. Even as someone who rarely hesitates to ask a friend if it's convenient to stay with them because I'm almost always making the trip to see them: we're likely to stay up late on the sofa or the front steps, drinking wine and telling old stories and laughing ourselves sick. Their home, if they're comfortable opening it up to me, seems like the obvious place to do that, and if they do me the honor of letting me stay, I'm going to do everything in my power and budget to make it easy for them: doing small chores while they're on their way home from work, bringing in breakfast or cooking dinner, babysitting, walking the dog, buying groceries and wine and flowers and a little gift, being grateful for a room or a bed or sofa or an air mattress because the company, not the accommodation, is the point of the visit.
And if they say "Nope," I say "Thanks anyway!" and get on with planning the visit; when a friend of mine asks to stay with us, I feel similarly free to say "Sorry, this time doesn't work for us," and anyone who questions that is probably not going to get invited another time.
Even with my oldest, closest friends, I would never couch (ha!) my request as your friends are couching theirs: "you have the space" and "you let me once, why can't I now?" is presumptuous and pushy and putting you on the spot, and you never have to feel guilty for just repeating "That doesn't work for us."
In your shoes, I wouldn't make an excuse; in my experience, people who are willing to presume like that will also think that your excuse is an opening point for negotiating you out of your "no."
To be fair, that Cheez-Its thing is just a natural consequence of me buying Cheez-Its.
@Lucienne Not long after I commented, I thought "Yeeeah, but no, I'm not being fair about this." Your comment perfectly elucidates what was wrong with my original metaphor, thank you.
Dowd's essay is peevish and self-indulgent, but you make an excellent point about the range of choices available. I still think she should have taken some responsibility to ask or seek answers, to say "Hey, I'm entirely out of my depth here, what's appropriate?" But you're right that it isn't always easy to guess.
And that's one of the virtues of legal drugs: we can seek answers and ask questions without incriminating ourselves, and we can patronize responsible merchants who will take time to answer questions.