My husband and I moved to Wilma five years ago. We have developed a large circle of great friends, and we do a LOT of entertaining - mostly small dinner parties.
We also generate a ton of getting together with our friends outside our home: theatre, movies, restaurants. We really do like our friends, but only a few of them reciprocate, and we're starting to feel like we do all the work at considerable expense without feeling like there's a healthy balance in the relationships. We've tried being gently honest with a few couples, and that resulted in no change. It feels like if we stop being the "hosts with the most," we'll spend a lot of time without these otherwise great guys. Suggestions?
Dear Hostess doing the mostest,
I'm from the South, and we're guilty of being too polite, so I understand trying the gentle honesty route, but some folks don't like it gentle; they need it rough and direct. Find your inner Ouiser Boudreaux and get to the point. You would also be surprised how many people are simply completely unaware of themselves and the situation. Some folks need you to be direct and let them have the unvarnished version. That can make you uncomfortable, but try to find some humor in pushing back. Tell them, "I've always wondered what brunch would taste like at your house," the next time you host. Always remember that people will have the relationship with you that you allow them to have with you. It's perfectly ok to say some of you need to pick up the slack and start pulling your hosting weight in the friend group. What I hear also is a fear that if you don't do this, you might lose some of this friend group, and there is no easy way to say it, but if that is the case, then it isn't real, to begin with, and they'll be doing you a favor. Never waste time on people who won't waste time on you.
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John Porter is an entrepreneur and founding partner at Oasis Asset Management. He has served as a political organizer and strategist within the Democratic Party, as well as serving as an executive board member for the Miami Yacht Club.
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.