“Please Don’t Make Me Watch Your Shitty Play” [Advice]
I have a good friend who are very artistic and acts in a lot of theater productions. She makes a big deal out of all the shows she is in and always tells me it means so much to her when I am in the audience. Problem is, the shows are usually terrible, not because of my friend, but because they are usually low-budget amateur, avant-garde, or just plain not my scene. I really don’t want to keep going to these shows, but I want to support my friend and I certainly don’t want to hurt her feelings. Should I just suffer in silence? I know that if it were me acting in something she would always be in the audience for me.
Are you sitting down? Good. Have you eaten anything in the last two hours? Good, because you don’t want to crap your pants when I tell you this one thing that will literally blow your mind all over face:
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
Yes, it is that easy! We are humans with free will. Which is a nice bonus to our already advantageous opposable thumbs, capacity for language (not to mention warfare). Life is short, do you really want to spend it during a three hour production of Speed the Plow? Is Speed the Plow a good play? I’m not even sure but the title makes it sound like the worst thing ever. You don’t have to go to a show ever again. Spend time making the world a better place, feeding the poor, find the cure for cancer, or whatever it is that all this theater-going is keeping you from.
You know what else exists? God damn consequences. There are consequences to things, especially to not doing things. Visiting family, eating healthy, going to bad regional theater productions. Doing things out of guilt is probably the worst thing there is. I hear many of my peers complaining about their “obligations” to visit family during Thanksgiving for example. Or going to spend time with a husband/wife’s friends because they “have to.” I am telling you, there is literally no one forcing you to go. If the consequences of not doing it are bearable, then why do it? Of course, if something terrible will happen, like your family will disown you for skipping Thanksgiving, maybe that is a consequence that outweighs the action. But how often is it this extreme?
Take Ms. artsy-fartsy friend. What would happen if you, say, only went to every fifth performance of hers? Will she be so mad at you that it will end your friendship? If that is the case, then what kind of crazy egomaniac is this friend? I can see if she has just started out in the craft and is proud of herself for finally living her dream, but if she does a lot of these, is she really truly interested in making a connection with you through her thesbianism, or is she trying to fill seats?
My god, this makes me think of all the shitty improv class graduation shows I asked my friends to come to. I apologize to all of you.
Talk to her about her upcoming shows. Ask her which ones she thinks you will enjoy the most, and which are most important to her. Compromise and go to only a few of them. Or not, because you don’t have to do anything.
Submit requests for advice on anything here or email firstname.lastname@example.org