Friend: “Hey! I’m having a few friends over this weekend for some drinks & food. You should come!”

You: “You know, I might come by… What time?”

Friend: “Eight-ish? It won’t be formal, so people will probably start showing up around that time.”

You: “Ok, cool! I’ll see you then.”

The weekend’s come and gone, but your lying ass didn’t make the get-together. And you had no intentions of going when you said it. Usually, this happens with “friends” you’ve made in class, at your job, through your real friends, or former acquaintances you randomly run into. I wonder why we do that? “Hey, can you help me move?” You’re thinking, “Of course not,” but you say, “Yeah, just let me know.” Is it rude to tell the truth? I’ve asked myself if I’d be mad at someone for telling me no, because while it seems logical that the truth would be greatly appreciated, the sting of rejection (that is, the perceived sting the other person will feel) causes us to blurt out a lie. We’ve collectively decided, I guess, that people we aren’t that cool with don’t deserve our honesty.

A few weeks later….

(You see that same friend at a distance, but you’re unable to avoid him/her. Before the interaction, you’re mumbling obscenities & planning your story.)

Friend: “Hey, there! How are you? What’s been up?

You: “Hey, I’m good. I’ve just been chillin’. Work, school, life….”

Friend: “I was looking for you to come by a few weekends ago; what happened?”

You: “Oh, I wasn’t feeling too well, and my brother needed a ride from work. Plus, I had a lot of homework and just wanted to chill at home. But next time, I’m definitely in there!”

Friend (half-heartedly): “Ok, sounds good. I’ll make sure I let you know.”

You (embarrassed): “…Yeah. Text me or something.”

After that sorry explanation, you have not only proven you’re a liar, you’ve also excluded yourself from future gatherings. AND, you’ve ruined your friendship-in-the-making. What a loser! You should always keep a handful of loose acquaintances, because they’re great place-keepers for times when your real friends can’t be there for you. Plus, if you maintain the understood rules of this type of relationship, you can earn the right to flake, and it’s all good.

For future reference, know that you’re obligated to keep the first invitation you agree to, especially if it’s the first engagement excluding the mutual friend. You don’t necessarily have to be totally committed, but you do have to put forth enough effort to remain cordial. If that’s too much for you, accept your existence in solitude.