If you’re in this business for more than a minute (heck, if you’re in this LIFE for more than a minute), you’re gonna see friends come and go, you’re gonna have fans love you then hate you, you’re gonna experience the chill of that agent who was crazy about you suddenly forgetting you’re alive, you’re gonna feel a casting office go cold on you after it was hot for a nice long run. Ouch. Yeah. That happens to everyone. And the more I say, “don’t ever take that personally,” the more eyes roll (including my own), because we all know that’s easier said than done.

Until now.

Yup. I’ve come up with the best freakin’ analogy ever to help us all deal with this. (Okay, okay, perhaps I’m overstating that. I have a LOT of pretty amazing analogies, but I’m really crazy about this one, so let’s try it out and see if it flies for y’all too.)

You’re the host of a great party. Guests are laughing, talking, making new friends and connecting with existing friends. You’re circulating to be sure everyone is having a great time, glasses are filled, snacks are plentiful, music is lively. It’s a great party.

Then you spy out of the corner of your eye someone leaving without saying goodbye. They’ve grabbed their coat and they’re slinking out the door. “Oh no,” you think. “What’s going on? I’d better go find out.”

And out you go, into the street, chasing this friend who has — for whatever reason — left the party. You want to find out what you could’ve done differently. Did you not spend enough time talking with this friend? Was the music too loud? Does this particular friend have a problem with what you’re offering in terms of food and drink? Or maybe there’s a mutual friend there with whom this friend had a falling out? There’s some discomfort not even related to you that would somehow cause this friend to leave? Oh, but then this friend would’ve said goodbye. That can’t be it. It must must MUST be something you could change, so out you go, into the street, chasing this friend down to find out why your party was no longer entertaining.

Um. You just left your party.

And whether there are 100 guests, 50 guests, 20 guests, or those last four best best BEST friends who always stay ’til the sun comes up, laughing, talking, and helping clean up, YOU JUST LEFT THEM to chase out into the street someone who — for whatever reason — was feeling done. How rude!

Look, people will leave your party. An agent that was hot for you will dump you. A producing partner that loved huddling over story ideas will stop taking your calls. A very best friend that you thought would never be anything less than a very best friend will simply fade away without ever telling you why — even when you ask. A casting director who loved bringing you in will stop doing so. A fan who swore undying love for you at the film festival at which you first met will write a scathing review of your next play. It’s gonna happen. People will leave your party.

It’s your choice whether you, too, leave your party in some futile attempt to find out what went wrong. I say, don’t leave your party. You stay there and celebrate those who are loving what you’re doing. You stay there and laugh with those who are having a blast. You stay there and refill the glasses of those who still want to have a toast for all the good things going on. Those who left? Maybe they’re gone forever and you’ll never know why. Maybe they left for a bit and they’ll be back to the party someday. When they’re ready. Being chased down the street doesn’t make them ready. It only disrespects those who wonder where this party’s host suddenly went.

I’m not going to be able to convince you not to THINK about those folks you see leaving your party without saying goodbye (or even those who storm out in some swirl of drama you’re happy to see make an exit). You will think of them. You will wonder why they left. And you may never know for sure. When my brain goes there for a moment, I assume they just ran out to grab some more ice! How thoughtful!

Now, let’s get back to the party.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001547.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. Sasha November 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Hello Bonnie,
    I am really, really confused. I have a good manager and I am not trying to sounds ungrateful at all, because I am grateful to even be represented, but I am starting to feel distant. My friend recommended me to another manager that has tons of success with their clients a couple months ago, and the manager said to get more settled in Los Angeles and take an acting class, then to contact her again if I don’t have management at that time. I want to contact her again after pilot season, but I think she knows I am represented by another manager. I am barely over a year in contract with my current manager and it has been super quiet career-wise. Do you think I should contact the other manager? If she wants to sign me, am I even allowed to drop my current manager? Could I lose all representation if I meet with another manager and my current manager finds out? I want to get represented by this manager with a passion, but I don’t want my career to fall apart because of meeting with her.

    Sasha S.

  2. Ms.M June 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    OMG amazing! Ever wonder why actors always notice that one bad comment amongst a sea of good comments. This post really helps.

  3. Bonnie Gillespie June 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hiya Sasha! Of course we’ve emailed and you know I’ve covered a response to your questions in the Your Turn at my column. 🙂 Hope all is well!

    Ms. M — So glad this perspective helps you. I think it’s part of the creative brain to want to DO better, and therefore we’re looking for critiques and areas where we can improve… but that can lead to us spending WAY too much time, energy, and focus on something that’s not actually *our* issue to deal with! 🙂 Stay positive!

  4. Karolina March 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I love this. And it’s because my instant thought was a web series I began in 2012 which is not only thriving online but its filming a third season. Nothing like creating content to make you feel like you are throwing this party of creativity. And I’ve seen people come and go, and it’s easy to want to dwell on why people may have been flakey or unappreciative of an opportunity but I am definitely at the point where I’m too busy celebrating the ability to write, act, and create, and have an audience. Anyway. Love this. And agree.

  5. Bon April 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Love this, Karolina! YES! It’s so delicious to celebrate the collaborating that *is* going on and it frees you from even SEEING what no longer is at your party (for now). Thank you and keep creating!

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