My line of work is a constant reminder of how we fake everything in our lives, every single day. Kids fake illness to get out of school, they fake being rich so that they’re not cast out by their friends, they fake being in relationships — which are also fake, depending on how old they are — so that they are admired and envied. Adults fake illness to get out of going to work, they fake being smarter so that their peers don’t think they got the job because their somebody’s somebody is the Chairman of the company, and they fake being happy for their friends who are getting married and/or knocked up because things like Facebook demand some sort of public response.
While faking illnesses, personal wealth and brain capacity is normal, and on some level, acceptable, because it’s human nature to want to appear better than we really are, what about faking happiness for others? One of the most significant changes in life as I get older is the number of wedding invitations I’ve been receiving. What amazes me isn’t the number of invitations, but really who I’ve been receiving them from. Two ex-boyfriends, two church friends, and a few acquaintances I made in my much younger years. I rejected them all. Aside from the fact that I (a) detest weddings, (b) don’t believe in inviting former lovers to weddings or attending any held by them, and (c) haven’t seen my church friends since my extremely short-lived attempt to be a good Catholic died out two years ago, I don’t really understand the logic behind inviting people who are in no way a significant part of your life.
Recently, I received an invitation to a wedding of someone I considered a good friend — until I realized that she wasn’t. I had long known of her habit of getting in touch only when she wanted something, when her boyfriend was off doing something on his own, or when her other friends were too busy that she had nobody else to hang out with, but I chose to overlook it because I have known her since before I was legal and, being the antisocial butterfly that I am, I was not one to turn down friends. But friendships and romantic relationships ultimately know the same bounds, and it was when I reached my breaking point that I decided this was one friend I could afford to do without. I figured that if she was already behaving like this x-number of months before her wedding, she would likely be no different after it. Especially when, right after getting engaged, she adopted the I’m-getting-married-and-my-life-is-complete-so-let-me-sit-back-and-judge-everyone-else air.
So I decided not to go for the wedding.
Before you balk at that, ask yourself: do you really want a guest who is at your wedding simply because they didn’t know how to decline your invitation? I have been to weddings of couples — especially the bride — who invited as many people as they knew because they wanted to be able to show them that they were getting married, and didn’t really care how well they actually knew them.
Over the years, I’ve learned that there is absolutely no point in keeping up a friendship if nobody is making any effort to do so. I’ve had a hard enough time keeping in touch with my friends from Buffalo and the students I had in Boston — although I tried to rectify that — so it sometimes baffles me that two people living in the same vicinity have an even harder time with it, and worse, take it for granted. And now that I’ve reached a point in my life where I have no time for anybody except the ones who really matter to me — the total number of whom I can count on less than two hands — I think I’m in a position to be able to say, “No, I will not be attending this troll’s wedding because neither they nor I deserve it.”
Author’s note: Due to the sensitivity of this subject, any questions pertaining to the identities of the people mentioned in this piece will not be entertained in any way.