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Are engagement parties more important than work


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A friend of mine has found her the one and the engagement party is the big celebration for it (the wedding is gonna be super low key). 
 

I was free on that date so I rsvped. I’ve since been booked for a job which means I’ll miss most of it but I can still be there for the first hour or so. 
 

I gave her a heads up cos catering expenses. Turns out too late to reduce the catering and she’s disappointed that I would take a job on that date and that I would attend for only 1 hour. 

 

In my head I’m thinking ‘mate I don’t even turn down work for family events, why would I do it for an engagement party for a friend I’ve seen on average once a quarter since she met this guy?!’

 

I think at the end of the day it’s important to her so in the case of this human, yes the engagement party should have been more important than work. 
 

But I wonder more broadly speaking are you meant to forfeit income to attend engagement parties?

 

For more context, we were close once but since she found the one we have drifted far, far, far away and we had a pretty substantial, temporarily friendship ending argument a few months ago which we’ve since come to see each other’s side a bit better but I would say on my end at least the sense of closeness is gone. 

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And, I’m in the process of looking for someone to take my job that night. 
 

At the end of the day we prioritise the things that are important to us. And although this friend these days makes me feel more anxious than comfortable and I’d happily dial her down to an almost never friend, for old times sake I think I should attend. She extended the friendship hand by inviting me and if I don’t attend I don’t complete the social circuit and miss out on a celebration.

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54 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

But I wonder more broadly speaking are you meant to forfeit income to attend engagement parties?

 

Depends. If you can come for an hour, come for an hour and then go to work, that is OK. Attendance is what counts, not you being fully commited there. So, if you can do both, do both.

More broadly speaking, you shouldnt book gigs when you already got other plans that you said that you would honor. It would be different if the gig was booked first as then it wouldnt be professional to cancel job because of engagement. Manage your time better next time if you have the same situation.

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Well, I’m going to be responding as a low key celebrator. I wouldn’t ask someone to miss work if it’s important for a wedding. That’s an individual choice and the fact that you are making it for an hour would mean a lot to me if you were a close friend and I knew you needed to work. In my view? It’s silly getting worked up over it. It doesn’t change that I’d be very happy either way that evening. 

I’m sorry to hear that you both had a disagreement not long ago. 

I’d decide if this is a friendship you’d like to keep. I don’t think she would be so annoyed with you if she really was a friend. She doesn’t understand you and maybe vice versa. This may run its course and you both go your own way later on. 

 

 

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If this friend is so bothered about the expense of catering for one person who can't stay the whole evening, then you could offer to reimburse her. I think that by attending until you have to go to your job you've been quite reasonable. It's not like you're the only one going to the party, so it's unlikely your departure is going to make any difference to her enjoyment. 

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If I could only go for an hour to a catered event I wouldn't go.  I would drop off a gift if possible or send a gift if it was a good friend.  We've declined invites to events because of work schedules. 

Next month there is a family event in another state.  We are already away part of next week and I was just away for 8 days.  I often put in working hours on weekends.  But since we'd have to leave for the family event during the work week I told my husband I would not be going because I simply cannot miss more work.  I am sure our family understands.  

Over 20 years ago however I apparently made a big mistake.  I was working insanely crazy and unpredictable hours.  The week before my friend's wedding I was slammed with work and my attendance at the wedding was iffy.  I called the bride (I was friends with the groom) and told her.  She was upset with me.  Said they had to pay the caterer so please let her know then (it was just me, no plus one).  Told me crassly how much $ my plate was (I believe it was $75 back then).  I'd planned on giving the same gift whether I attended or not (more than $75) and found her attitude crass because this was a work emergency and I planned on paying for my plate anyway.

Turned out I went - I think I told my boss that day the situation as that was a good friend.  But I wouldn't have just showed up for the ceremony given the expense and left -that to me would have been rude.  

I do think if you pay for your plate with a gift you can tell that to your friend and show up for the hour but I do see her perspective.  No, broadly speaking you are not supposed to prioritize an event over your work and yes I've forfeited income many many times for events - especially since I am now paid hourly.  It's all relative -pun intended - depends if you can recoup the income (I can to an extent if I like work on the plane, etc) and how badly you need the income and how close the friend is. 

Also why did you say yes if you think so little of your friend?

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7 hours ago, 1a1a said:

I was free on that date so I rsvped. Turns out too late to reduce the catering and she’s disappointed.

Just decline. Send a gift or whatever. They can invite a plus one/extra/whatever to fill your spot, that's her problem. At least have the sense to say 'no' to the wedding since your work schedule is so erratic.

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11 minutes ago, Blue_Skirt said:

“Are engagement parties more important than work”

I am not sure that that is the right question here, because there is no right answer to that question.

From reading your text, you are not even that close to her anymore, so probably it would have been best to decline the invitation in the first place.

I personally have a real problem with the attitude of today and people cancelling so easily. For me, if I accept an invitation or promise something, I’ll stick to it, hence I don’t accept invitations lightly. Only in case of a real emergency, I would cancel and I would explain why.

If you find your work more important, which is totally fine, then don’t accept an invitation.

Correct . 

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2 hours ago, Blue_Skirt said:

“Are engagement parties more important than work”

I am not sure that that is the right question here, because there is no right answer to that question.

From reading your text, you are not even that close to her anymore, so probably it would have been best to decline the invitation in the first place.

I personally have a real problem with the attitude of today and people cancelling so easily. For me, if I accept an invitation or promise something, I’ll stick to it, hence I don’t accept invitations lightly. Only in case of a real emergency, I would cancel and I would explain why.

If you find your work more important, which is totally fine, then don’t accept an invitation.

This is basically my feelings about it too. The way I feel about events isn't really like: "Is an engagement party more important than work", but more "Which event did I RSVP to first". Also to be fair, engagement parties are important to the people who are having a party. Getting engaged and married is a happy and exciting time for them. Usually people don't invite too many guests to an engagement party and only invite people they want. So obviously your friend, while not close anymore, wanted you to come.

Personally I don't think it's a good look to RSVP to an engagement party but then take a shift at work. It's not even necessarily because the engagement party is more important but because you already told the engaged couple you'd be there. And it is actually a one off celebration for them, whereas I'm assuming you work at your job all the time? Lol 

I actually also feel this way about more low key plans too. For example, let's say I was going out for dinner with a friend and they cancelled on me because they took on a shift at work instead. I'd be annoyed because when I make plans, I think it's a set thing and most of the time I honour those plans. In the very least I would want my friend to talk to me first and explain why they need to bail on the plan. Like, if they said: "Hey, sorry about this but I really need the money/it's double pay this shift/I need to swap another shift for this one/some other good reason. Do you mind if I work and we reschedule our dinner?" But if they just tell me: "I'm not coming because I chose to work instead", I think that's actually rude.

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1 hour ago, Tinydance said:

This is basically my feelings about it too. The way I feel about events isn't really like: "Is an engagement party more important than work", but more "Which event did I RSVP to first". Also to be fair, engagement parties are important to the people who are having a party. Getting engaged and married is a happy and exciting time for them. Usually people don't invite too many guests to an engagement party and only invite people they want. So obviously your friend, while not close anymore, wanted you to come.

Personally I don't think it's a good look to RSVP to an engagement party but then take a shift at work. It's not even necessarily because the engagement party is more important but because you already told the engaged couple you'd be there. And it is actually a one off celebration for them, whereas I'm assuming you work at your job all the time? Lol 

I actually also feel this way about more low key plans too. For example, let's say I was going out for dinner with a friend and they cancelled on me because they took on a shift at work instead. I'd be annoyed because when I make plans, I think it's a set thing and most of the time I honour those plans. In the very least I would want my friend to talk to me first and explain why they need to bail on the plan. Like, if they said: "Hey, sorry about this but I really need the money/it's double pay this shift/I need to swap another shift for this one/some other good reason. Do you mind if I work and we reschedule our dinner?" But if they just tell me: "I'm not coming because I chose to work instead", I think that's actually rude.

I agree.  What I have done also is make it tentative especially if a group plan "I will do my best to be there but I might have to work".  If it involves tickets/laying out money for me I either won't make the plan or absorb the cost.  I had a new friend cancel on me about 9 years ago because after we made all the rather complicated plans (I had a short time window while child was in preschool, as did she) she cancelled last minute because her husband suddenly got the day off and could spend family time. 

I wasn't "mad" but decided it was up to her to reschedule.  She never did.  So I'm glad she cancelled because I need someone who's far more reliable than that.  I'm also the "only if an emergency" person.  

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If I recall correctly, you've had trouble in the past where someone stepping into your gig ended up taking over forever. Also, when you are so dependent on getting jobs, I think it's more important for you to take care of yourself in this case and take the job, rather than go to this engagement party of someone who is no longer a close friend of yours. Consider that she will fade even further away from you as she gets married, they start living their life, maybe start having kids and so on.

Don't waste your time on someone who has already shown to you that they are exiting your life. Rather than  just show up for an hour, I'd call it off completely, send her a present and be done.

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She isn't a close friend and attending the engagement party for only one hour isn't worth it. 

To compensate for the lost catering fee for her, be gracious and send a generous gift to her, write 'congratulations' for the nuptials, wish them all the best and be done with it. 

I remember when I dated my husband and early years of marriage.  (Still married after all these years and parents of two sons.)  Even though I have friends, I did not see them as often as when I was single.  I was too happy and also extremely busy working a lot.  Your friend will most likely become less available as a friend after she is married and more so than now. 

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Just to me personally rudeness and flakiness is a big pet peeve. I feel that if someone made plans with you, but then take a shift at work, basically they don't respect your plans and don't consider them important. Also to me it doesn't seem like it's necessary to take on the shift at work because if the person wasn't originally working, it's not their usual roster. Presumably they already work enough hours to live and this is just something extra they wanted to pick up.

Unless there is a special circumstance that they really must take the shift. For example if they couldn't find permanent work and they have some kind of casual, on call job and they only get work when they got called. But to me communication is important and I would want them to talk to me first and give me a heads up that work called and they want to accept the shift. Unless it's a case where if you don't immediately agree to work, the work just gets someone else.

I think it's worse with bigger events like a Birthday party or engagement party to accept a shift at work. It's a one off event which is special to that person. So in that sense yes this is important to THEM. And if they paid for catering they would prefer everyone who RSVP actually showed up rather than throwing the food out. In some function venues you can't take the food home because the waiters just bring them out on trays. And if there is food leftover they just take it back to the kitchen.

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Depends which came first. If I accept an invitation, I show up. My calendar is closed to conflicts, I'm simply not available on that date at that time. 

If accepting work is my priority at a given time, then I won't accept invitations that could conflict with that priority. 

In your case having accepted both, I'm glad to see you thinking this through. If you can find a replacement for the job, I'd contact friend immediately to let her know that you resolved the conflict and apologize for having upset her. 

Regardless of how annoyed we might be with a friend, even to the degree that we might phase them out, it's on us to not cause them insult during highly important times. Sure, on some level we might be inclined to villainize them and hold that up as an excuse, but our highest intelligence knows exactly what we're doing, and that's why we have a conscience.

Good job using yours! You will thank yourself later.

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This has been a valuable set of perspectives, thank you. 
 

I found someone to cover me and I let her know I’d be able to come and she didn’t reply for a few days and then love heart reacted to it this morning (acceptable I think, although the leaving messages unanswered for many days thing I find pretty rude). 
 

It seems I probably owe her an apology (or, more specifically when I rsvped I should have spoken the caveat that if I have work I’ll be MIA). Default mode of honouring the commitments I make seems pretty sensible going forward. 
 

All the same I cannot find it in myself to actually apologise to her (I have, in actions, but the saying of the words, I don’t feel it, I could say it but it would feel simpering and icky). I’m vexed and perplexed at how hard I find it to own my side when it comes to conflicts with this person. 

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30 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

... although the leaving messages unanswered for many days thing I find pretty rude). 

Glad to hear that you reversed this, but after the insult you imposed and the upset you caused your friend, you're not exactly positioned to judge her on rudeness.

She likely needed some time to cool down. This is such a stressful time for her. If it were me, I'd have been furious with you for putting me through that extra layer of upset.

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... when I rsvped I should have spoken the caveat that if I have work I’ll be MIA).

Oh, ghaaad, no. That defeats the purpose of the RSVP. You're to answer the question, "Will you graciously accept our invitation to dine with us?"

That's a yes or a regret. Raising such a caveat is beyond rude--it says, "Sure, you can go ahead and order me a nice, pricey dinner, but that doesn't mean I'll show up for it--or for you..."

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I’m vexed and perplexed at how hard I find it to own my side when it comes to conflicts with this person. 

If this thread demo's how little you recognize the impact of your carelessness on someone you once cared about, then you might have trouble allowing yourself to feel guilty.

If you'd rather try to justify your behavior, that is unfortunate--for you, not for her. She's not the one who will need to BE you in the future.

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1 hour ago, 1a1a said:

All the same I cannot find it in myself to actually apologise to her (I have, in actions, but the saying of the words, I don’t feel it, I could say it but it would feel simpering and icky). I’m vexed and perplexed at how hard I find it to own my side when it comes to conflicts with this person. 

I can totally relate to this, and I think that it's because, deep down, you don't actually feel any tenderness toward her as a friend anymore.

Here's what you've shared about your friendship throughout this post:

On 7/27/2022 at 11:53 PM, 1a1a said:

For more context, we were close once but since she found the one we have drifted far, far, far away and we had a pretty substantial, temporarily friendship ending argument a few months ago which we’ve since come to see each other’s side a bit better but I would say on my end at least the sense of closeness is gone. 

 

On 7/28/2022 at 12:13 AM, 1a1a said:

this friend these days makes me feel more anxious than comfortable and I’d happily dial her down to an almost never friend

I personally probably wouldn't have even accepted the invitation under those circumstances, but since you already did, and you have decided to go through with honouring your commitment, I would attend the engagement party, but then completely part ways with your friend after this.

It sounds like your friendship never recovered after the "temporarily friendship-ending argument" and you don't feel any warmth or tenderness toward her anymore. You're just going through the motions and delaying the inevitable.

I wouldn't even bother having a serious heart-to-heart about it with her - it sounds like the friendship has completely run its course.

I would just decline all invitations going forward and fade out of her life, which shouldn't be difficult to do, since it sounds like you guys barely see each other or interact at all anymore as it is.

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9 hours ago, 1a1a said:

(acceptable I think, although the leaving messages unanswered for many days thing I find pretty rude). 
 

She is really busy with planning her engagement party and dealing with all the details most likely and you complicated the RSVP process.  I agree with Catfeeder.  I've been on her end of things -as far as planning gatherings and dealing with nitty gritty details and having someone act in a very high maintenance way as far as whether they could make it, under what conditions, back and forth etc. 

Not re: my wedding (didn't have reception, party or showers, didn't want) - but with similar people who complicated matters with high maintenance requests, oversharing about whether they could/should come and under what conditions etc.  I can't imagine how much more stressful it is if it's a big engagement party with an upcoming wedding.  Well I can to an extent.

Apologizing is hard.  Watch the Fonz on Happy Days try to do so.  Iconic.  So what.  Lots of times doing the right thing is really hard. I've been in that situation several times recently and I had to pull out all of my tool box whether it was walking away (meaning to avoid being rude -not to avoid owning up), genuinely apologizing (and yes it bordered on feeling -how did you put it -simpering? admitting my fragility) - or lots and lots of self talk before I said or did something I might regret.  Each time it doesn't get "easier" but I amass more tools that I learn through this process -meaning which tools actually work and which are meh.  

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