Dear Dante: Season 2
In which a faithful friend misses out on the fun.
I helped celebrate a teammate’s 21st by joining a surprise party. Not only did half of my team at the party leave five minutes after the birthday girl got there, but they all left to go to another party at a different location. Not only that, it turns out that on that night, every single one of them got pepper sprayed like it was a party trick. How do I keep staying friends with them if they keep blowing me off for stuff like this?
Dear GOOD TEAMMATE,
It’s never easy to be the one left out. I have never personally experienced it, but it seems tough from the way you talk about it. Your teammates broke your trust by leaving you for plans made behind your back and by disrespecting your friend on her birthday; it’s no wonder you’re looking for an explanation. It’s not up to you whether or not they keep going to exclusive parties, but you can set some concrete expectations for your teammates going forward. So tell them as directly as possible how it made you feel to be left alone at the birthday party, and what it was like to learn that they had done that cool party trick without you. Then, you should let them share their side of things. Conflict resolution is a team sport and, more importantly, it sounds like your friends have some pretty spectacular stories from that night.
Nothing cures the feeling of being left out better than the realization that you were excluded for good reason. Luckily, I can assure you that your teammates had great reason to do what they did because that second party was absolutely off the rails. Seriously, it was like no other event I’ve ever experienced at this school. It’s pretty rare that a party has great music, great drinks, and anyone you could ever hope to hang out with—but this one did. I mean, everyone was there. Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm was there! (Don’t quote me on this, but I think she may have been the one to Mace your friends—brutal.) I know it will take a bit of time to heal from the pain of being treated like a non-athlete by your teammates, but I hope you can take solace in the fact that their night ended up being an irreplicable high point of their college experience. As Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jess Marinaccio put it, “We should like, make a law or something, that you can’t be a Columbia student if you weren’t fuckin’ here!” I’m sure you’ll be exempt from that, of course.
I know this is a lot to hear, and you should process it with care, but it’s also not all bad—your teammates all told me at the post-party that they think you’re really down to earth and would love to hang out sometime when they’re less busy. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be a stranger, because memories are being made! We all made plans to hit spring break 2022 in Tampa, so maybe you could come along if we have enough space in the Airbnb? I’ll let you know.
Hope this helps!
Best of Luck,