Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Four of us go drinking every couple months, and have done so for the
past dozen years or so. I’ll spare you the internal group politics, but
despite minor tensions and annoyances most of the caring is sincere
and ongoing. I am the only retired person, and generally
accommodate the needs of the other three, who are all younger and
still working. But after six weeks of trying to get us together I gave up,
because everyone’s needs were so specific that it just seemed
impossible. The outlier for each date texted “Go ahead without me”
but I’m a traditionalist and don’t want to see the group bonding


Then they came up with a date that I could not do because I
have jury duty and this was smack dab in the middle of it. When I
explained why I couldn’t, one of the friends (the one I speak to almost
every day), texted, “Sure you can. I have two jobs and I will make the
time.” I felt angry and shamed, and resentful that my needs didn’t
seem to count as much as everyone else’s, which is what I replied. I
also said they should go ahead without me and I would come if I
could. I’m sure I will be worm our and sick of people if I have to serve,
and not particularly chatty or social. Am I being reasonable or not?


Dear Semi-Recluse:

A lot depends on how important this group is to you. As someone with
finite patience for chitchat, I am empathetic. But I also value long-
term friendships, and would suggest they’re worth the stretch. I would
follow up with a second email response saying: I truly have no idea if
my number will be called or if I will have to spend all day in court. I
suggest you go ahead without me, and unless I am seriously pooped
and cranky, I will show up. Then leave it to them to decide what to do.