Just as soon as the party invitation, funeral notice, or wedding announcement arrives, the familiar thoughts begin: Do I have to go? Will I be missed if I don’t? Is there any way to get out of this?
Even when the summons comes from a close friend or beloved family member, there are often other things you feel you want or need to do instead: work projects to finish, household jobs to complete . . . and can’t a guy just enjoy a lazy Saturday morning for once?
So you assess the plausibility of various excuses. You weigh the cost in money and time.
When you find yourself in this position, waffling between skipping or going, ever lean to the latter.
It’s been said that 80% of success in life is showing up, and while this is typically applied to professional aims, it applies equally well to relationships.
There’s a lot that goes into being a good friend or family member and building a strong bond with others: sharing interests, lending a listening ear, offering encouragement. But so much of it comes down to simply being there — showing up not only for a significant event, but in a middle-of-the-night emergency, and even on someone’s phone via a “just thinking about you” text.
One of the deepest human needs is to feel that one is not alone in the world. That you have social resources that can be relied upon. That you are somebody to someone.
So whether you’re the only one who shows up to a birthday party, or simply add one more comforting face amidst a crowd of mourners, your presence will have an outsized effect — disproportionate to this small act of service for someone else.
Years later, you’ll have entirely forgotten whatever it was you had hoped to do instead, but they’ll always remember that you came.