Anxiety Aunt: How to tell my gardening club friends I want out

Dear Anxiety Aunt,

For the past six years I have been in a gardening club with six friends. We meet monthly at someone’s house and garden, meaning every six months you have a morning of several people in your garden helping out, which is handy. We work for an hour or so and then relax with a cup of tea and a chat.

I used to enjoy our set-up and looked forward to the monthly get-togethers, but for the past year that has changed. I was never the most enthusiastic gardener among us and lately I’ve lost interest in maintaining my garden in between the bi-annual visits. If it wasn’t for the gardening club I’d pave most of the yard and just have a few pot plants. I have become increasingly resentful about having to go work in my friends’ gardens every month, especially seeing as they mostly have big and unwieldy gardens they struggle to maintain.

After so long I feel quitting gardening club will be controversial, and I am worried I will upset people by leaving. What should I do?

Sincerely, No longer a green thumb.

Your Aunt hesitates to answer such a questions because quite frankly, anyone who would willingly join a gardening club has a few issues to begin with. Book club? Sure. Movie club? Why not? Social sport? Well, if you must. But gardening! Giving up a morning a month to do hard labour in someone else’s garden? Do you offer to do the dishes and scrub the bathroom while you’re at it?

That you have spent the past six years in this club means you have done your time. It is time to switch hobbies to something more reasonable, like parakeet grooming or writing Emily Bronte fan fiction.

If these people are really your friends, and not just exploiting your reluctant green thumb, they will be perfectly amenable to you bowing out of the club. Just don’t do it after your month — that’s simply bad manners.

Normally your Aunt would tell you to come up with an elaborate excuse or leave the country to avoid having an awkward conversation. A perfectly reasonable reaction to a mundane situation.

But in this scenario, honesty is the best policy. Just tell them you don’t think you want to dedicate the time to gardening anymore and you are considering paving over your own garden.

If paving over a garden is not the sort of thing that goes down well with gardening club, you could just tell you them you have developed an intense allergic reaction to anything green.

And if you are worried about being left out of the social loop, suggest a monthly movie night. A far more accessible activity and one which doesn’t involve plastic footwear.