Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Being A Friend Means Standing By During The Painful Times

Dear Tazi:

Do you know that old Beatles’ song “With a Little Help fromMy Friends”?

Well, I do sing out of tune, and my friends did get up and walk out on me! I was so humiliated! A local bar has a regular karaoke night, and I have always wanted to try but was too scared to try. I made a New Year’s resolution that this would be the year I got up and sang, so I chose a song that is always popular that I didn’t think would be too tough to learn (“Jolene”, by Dolly Parton) and I practiced it on and off, in private, for six months. My plan was to WOW my friends, since I am normally shy and only sing in the shower when nobody can hear me.

When I got up to sing my song, one of my friends decided to step outside to have a cigarette. His girlfriend joined him, and another friend had to go to the bathroom at that exact moment – something about the bar food disagreeing with him. My only other friend who was with us felt “awkward” sitting there by herself so she joined the others outside.

I got a smattering of applause after I finished my song so obviously I wasn't a total train wreck and I should feel good about myself, but I am really hurt that my friends didn't stick around to hear me sing! It took a lot of courage for me to get up there and do that, and none of them hung around to watch me. I told them afterwards how hurt I was and they told me not to make such a big deal out of it – it’s just karaoke, not an American Idol audition and that I can sing it again the next time we get together. I would like to try and sing again, because it was fun and since it was dark in the bar I didn't feel like everyone was staring at me, but I don’t want to be known as a one trick pony; the person who can only sing the one song that they have prepared. And what if someone else sings my song first? Then I won’t be able to sing at all!

Am I being unreasonable to ask my friends to apologize for their inconsideration?

Shy Dolly

Dear Shy Dolly:

I would first like to congratulate you on overcoming your fear and performing! I, for one, am quite impressed (and if you have ever met a cat you know how hard it is to impress one!). While it would have been nice for your friends to stick around to watch your moment in the spotlight, it is possible that they thought their presence would make you nervous and uncomfortable. This could be why the smoker chose to leave at that exact moment. The friend with intestinal distress should be excused regardless! A shy person should understand why the friend who was left alone felt awkward about sitting there by him/her self; perhaps a little more understanding on your part is what is needed to get your friends to see your point of view. I realize that you were hurt by their absence, but it sounds like you lit into them without giving them a chance to explain themselves (although the friend who needed a bathroom offered what I feel was a very acceptable explanation, and no apology is needed from them!).

There are a lot of people who sing karaoke regularly, and they come prepared with a few “regular” songs that they have rehearsed and know how to perform well. While Jolene is a commonly sung song in many bars – particularly now since an altered version of the song has gone viral – it is a popular one that people like to hear.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of being thought of as a “one trick pony” than don’t be one; learn another song or two that you can add to your repertoire as either a second piece to sing or as a back-up song should your first-choice already be taken. Since you have gotten up to perform once already you now know that you can do it; doing it again will be all the easier, and letting your friends know that their support and attendance is important to you should be enough to keep them in their seats for the five minutes it takes you to perform. I suggest you calmly tell them this and ask that they stay seated during your next performance.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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