My best friend has decided to follow her lifelong dream and open her own coffeehouse. She is always telling me to come down and relax with a cup of coffee and to enjoy the “open mic” nights and poetry readings she hosts, but the problem is that I am not a coffee drinker; her open mic nights are like the worst of American Idol tryouts; and the poetry people recite is just plain bad.
I try to be a good friend and stop by once every week or so to see how things are going, but “Suzie” wants me to stop in more often, saying that running a business takes all of her time and that my visits are often the only time she gets to see me – or any of our friends. If stopping by meant actually getting to visit with her I would be fine with it, but she is always too bust to even sit and have a cup of something with me. Worst of all, I am expected to pay for the coffee I buy, which is not cheap because Suzie is always pushing me to try some expensive blend of coffee. Her coffees start at over $20 a pound, and quite honestly I think they taste awful!
Obviously, I cannot be honest with Suzie about why I don’t get by to visit more often, and I would like to curtail my visits even more. How do you think I should handle the situation?
Dear Tea Drinker:
Why can’t you be honest with Suzie about why you no longer wish to visit her at her coffeehouse? You don’t have to give her the unvarnished truth (that her products and her entertainment are just plain awful and/or overpriced, at least in your mind), but a polite version of your feelings would not be out of line.
The next time Suzie invites you to stop by and visit her during working hours, explain to her that you would love to visit with her when she has time and that while she is at the store you feel like you are taking her away from the responsibility of running it. You could even further with the thought that during business hours, her attention needs to belong to her customers, not to you.
Since Suzie is your best friend, she should already know that you do not like coffee, but it could be that she is trying to turn you into a coffee drinker by introducing you to exotic and/or gourmet roasts. To someone who does not drink coffee, these roasts will all taste the same – bitter, burnt, or otherwise unappetizing. Most coffeehouses also offer other hot beverages, such as tea. Would you be willing to support Suzie’s endeavors by stopping in to buy a tea every once in a while?
Being the new place in town, I am not surprised that Suzie’s open mic nights are attracting a wide and varied crowd. Open mic nights and poetry readings can be quite competitive, with time slots for performing in crowded places a premium score. Once word gets out that the new coffeehouse has spots to fill, more talented players are sure to take notice and join in the festivities. Why don’t you tell this to any musicians and poets you may know? I am sure they will appreciate the tip!
Opening your own business can be a stressful endeavor, so try to support Suzie as she makes the transition from being someone who used to hang out in coffeehouses to someone who now owns one. I am not saying that you must learn to appreciate coffee, but I am suggesting that you keep the full extent of your honest opinion to yourself. It is better to be in the coffeehouse with your best friend than in the doghouse with her!
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.