Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
For the past ten years or so I have had a very up and down friendship with
someone I will call Michelle. I met her in a social context where we were the only
two Jews in a room of otherwise like-minded folks. But when the atheists and
agnostics started decrying religion we both defended the idea of being spiritual
people. In the interim I have watched her go through many life changes, even
dated one of her exes, and generally have been supportive of her attempts at
self-care, even when I had mixed feelings about choices I would never have
made. She had just rebranded herself as a life coach and called to pick my brain
for ideas about a workshop she is doing in my town (she’s moved away but
keeps ties here). I just got a FaceBook request asking me to publicize her
workshop to my friends (none of whom do this kind of thing) and to “hold the
date.” I stopped reading that kind of self-help advice decades ago nd never go to
workshops. I was also horrified to learn she expected me to pay $85 to hear my
own ideas parroted back to me. How much or little should I say when I decline?
No ^&%&$ Way!!
Dear No ^&%&$ Way:
Send her a very prompt, polite, and specific response to her request.
Tell her that your friends burned out long ago on networking for
events that they would not attend. Say you agreed to a mutual pact to
relieve one another from information about everything from bake and
candy sales to workshops unless they were the presenter.
Explain that you’re happy that she’s happy to be remaking herself into
a new career. But that as you said in your conversation with her, the
material she is going to present is about life issues that you feel you’ve
resolved long ago to your own satisfaction. Tell her also that you’re not
the type to attend workshops at all, and that while you sometimes
read self-help books, that’s a part of your world that feels very much
in the past. Tell her that, if she’s holding a place for you, to please
give it to a paying guest who’ll benefit from her wisdom. Wish her luck
and let this friendship die a natural death, unless you want to continue
to be her unpaid teacher.