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Commitment: not just for those you date

Lately I've been asking myself the question of how much commitment do you have, not just to your significant other, but to your friends? For myself, as well as for many others out there, friendships are one of the most important things in my life, for without your friends, what joy would there be in living? Life cannot be fully lived in solitude - so much of the richness of our experiences and emotions comes from our personal relationships; however, it would seem that not all theseexperiences are good. At times, friendships can require as much maintenance as a romantic relationship.

A certain amount of maintenance is expected in a romantic relationship. If you wish to be that close to another person, of course you will have to pay that much more attention to their needs and feelings. Friends however, don't usually have such an intense relationship and there is a more forgiving leeway to basically "cut each other some slack". Friends don't get upset if another friend doesn't call the other back within an hour, or when a friend bails on them for their latest booty call. If these instances are not common occurrences, then friends should shrug and move on, knowing that they too will someday likely do the same to their friend. I have had friends ditch me at times to hang out with their boyfriend/girlfriend after making plans, and while it was an annoyance, so long as they didn't do it repeatedly, I got over it. However, lately I have noticed that some people are much more touchy regarding "faux pas" such as this. In my own experiences this would have to do with returning phone calls. Firstly, I would like to apologize and acknowledge that yes, it is annoying to not have someone return your call, but the calls in question were 1) not phone calls, but text messages 2) were returned within a 24 hour period, despite my phone dying from lack of power and 3) did not seem to be of an urgent matter. Perhaps people have gotten too used to me answering my phone on the first ring like a loser, but I have a life too people! Plus I was out of town at the time!

Nonetheless, you would be mistaken at thinking that I advocate ditching one's friends at any moment and basically being careless with their feelings. If you have made concrete plans with friends, i.e. mutually agreeing to do a certain activity at a certain time and place, then you should certainly show up. However, in that huge gray expanse between booking time together and actually saying "yes I'll be there" is a whole obstacle course of perceived snubbings. I am beginning to hate hearing or saying the phrase "I'll call you to make/confirm plans." That is a loaded gun!! Within that supposedly harmless phrase, there lurks hidden expectations by one party that plans have been made, and by the other thinking that nothing is set in stone and between that is the gray expanse of perceived snubbings. From now on, both parties should simply commit to either being there or not, because why do we all feel the need to call each other at the last minute when we've already got a hold of each other and could just make the plans right then? Perhaps we are such a commitment-phobic society that we are all making each other one's "back-up plans" in the hopes of something better coming along. As in relationships, what usually happens is that "something better" doesn't appear and the thing we've got gets fed up and ditches you. So here is the solution I plead for myself and everyone else to follow: make your plans when you're talking about them, and forget the "oh I'll get back to you" crap. If you're unsure what you will be doing in the near future, then make that clear up front! And for those who get all riled up when the other person bails on you, don't see it as them bailing because really you never did get them to commit anyway, so suck it up and realize you have or will probably do the same to them. Oh, and while you're at it, realize that the universe does not revolve around you and that life is too short to be upset, or to damage friendships over something so small.


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