Standing up a friend for night out at a bar opening is shallow

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Dear Alex, next week I had a long-standing plan with an old friend, but now I’ve been offered a guest pass to a new bar opening with two work colleagues. I really want to go and would hate to miss out on it, but feel guilty about letting my friend down, even though many have gazumped me in the past. What should I do?

Are you afraid of missing out on the best night ever, that your colleagues will talk about for weeks to come and completely make you feel like a second-class citizen because you didn’t go?

Will this event be something that you tell your grandchildren about or just another night of free drinks and socialising? You’re not the first person to take a so-called better offer over an old friend and you won’t be the last, the question is though, how flaky will you become in future? Once you start being a flake, when do you stop? It may become a habit and very soon you will be known for it and friends will stop inviting you out knowing there is a good risk you might dump them for a better offer. And it might not just stop at friends, it may go further and you start to gazump family members too. People will start to see you as unreliable which isn’t a great label to have and you’ll find that fun nights out will be harder to come by. There is an unspoken rule in friendship about loyalty. We expect our friendships to be based on that in order for us to feel relaxed and happy with that person. If you begin to be fickle and let’s face it, a little selfish then the friendship bubble will burst and will be very difficult to repair.

The next question is, what will you tell your friend when you have to explain why your date is off? Are you going to tell her about the better offer or will you be tempted to lie to her? I think cancelling friends for a night in is understandable, but cancelling friends for an alternative event and especially one you’re not going to invite her to, is rather lame.

You’ve got to ask yourself if going to this bar opening is a short-term gain with a long-term pain. No matter how you approach it you will hurt her feelings, even if she says she’s fine with it she wont be…would you? Is it really worth potentially tarnishing an old friendship over? How would you like to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot?

It doesn’t really matter how you’ve been treated by others in the past, that should not make it all right for you to do the same. Instead you should stick to your values and stay true to the people you care about. Deep down you know you’re not shallow and you know what to do.

Alexandra Watson is a leading Happiness Coach and best-selling author. www.Alexandra Watson.com