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6th December
2008
written by Steph
We went out for dinner last night with a good friend of ours who this past week both successfully defended his PhD thesis and turned 30.  To celebrate him being both older and wiser, Tony & I asked if we could take him out for dinner and drinks yesterday.  His choice of restaurant was not a place either of us would have suggested had it been up to us, but seeing as it was his night, we went along with it.  I had mentioned in passing a few days earlier when speaking to this friend’s girlfriend that I didn’t know why anyone would ever go to this restaurant by choice as I didn’t like it very much, only to find out that apparently it was one of our friend’s favorites. In the end, although there wasn’t much on the menu to tempt me, both Tony & I found options that we were satisfied with and that ended up being quite delicious.  Unfortunately, this morning I received an email from my friend (who, being a grad student (although no more!), suffers from intense-guilt complex) saying his significant other had told him I didn’t like the restaurant, but thanking me for going anyway.  I was really upset that he had been told this, because even if we had agreed to go to the restaurant out of respect for him, I certainly didn’t want to feel as though we hadn’t enjoyed the evening or that we had sacrificed ourselves on the altar of his celebrations.  I shot him back a quick email saying that in the past I hadn’t necessarily been a big fan, but we both had a great time last night (food included), so he shouldn’t fret about it at all. Mostly, I’m peeved that his girlfriend shared this information with him, as I don’t really see the point in doing so.  We had already had dinner, so it’s not like we could go back and select a different restaurant.  I feel like sharing that type of information with him, even if it is true, only served to be hurtful as well as unhelpful.  I dislike this idea that seems to be embraced more and more often that so long as you’re telling the truth, then that is the only accountability you need for what you say.  I do not think that truth need always trump tact.  Sometimes it is more important to be kind than it is to be honest.  Of course, I don’t mean that one should avoid telling others things that may be painful for the other party to hear simply to avoid an uncomfortable situation, but I really wish more people would consider the ends they hope to achieve when speaking. As an aside, one of our dining party last night (the birthday boy had invited another friend to the festivities) is forever in my bad books for showing up an hour and forty minutes late without an explanation or even a genuine apology.  I understand not everyone is as adamant about punctuality as I am, and am willing to forgive unexplained lateness up to about 20 minutes.  If you’re going to be much later than that, I think you are obligated to get in touch with the other party if you can and inform them of this.  We showed up at the restaurant at 7, were told we had about a 40-minute wait for a table, and were seated at 7:45.  We phoned our dining companion, who was at this point 45 minutes late.  She said she would be there in about 20 – 25 minutes.  She showed up at 8:45.  I think this is especially egregious given that we were at a restaurant for dinner (a busy one at that), so no one felt comfortable ordering anything other than drinks until she had shown up.  Given how late she was, a courtesy phone call telling us it would be ok to go ahead and order without her would have been nice.  I know some girls like to be late to make an entrance, but maybe they ought to strive to do so before other people have made an exit!

1 Comment

  1. Simona
    12/06/2008

    I’m completely with you. The only thing I hate more than unexplained tardiness is habitual bailing. I mean, if you don’t intend to do something why not just say no in the first place? I understand that from time to time things come up and one must cancel plans, but this should not happen frequently!

    Secondly, yes, sharing your feelings on the restaurant with him was not only completely unhelpful, but actually clearly hurtful in this case. Being his girlfriend suggests that she would know he has a guilt complex and that this information would not sit well with him. So why tell him?!

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