Part 1, aka: a series of text messages between me and a person i don’t even know but am trying to reach out to
Details changed to protect the innocent.
Elisa: “Do you wanna come over for dinner next Tues?”
Acquaintance: “Thanks for the invite! I’m busy that day, but another day would work.”
E: “Okay…. what about Thurs?”
A: “I’m suffering from allergies, and I need to go to the hospital. I’m not able to do much.
E: “I’m so sorry to hear that. Let me know when you feel better. Have a great week.”
A: “Hey! I’d like to hang out, but I just can’t come to your house.”
E: “Uh… okay. What about the morning? I could come to your neighborhood.”
A: “My sister’s in town this week, but next Monday is OK.”
Elisa: “I’m over it. I didn’t want to hang out with you anyway.”
Just kidding. I made up that last part. But that’s how I felt.
Part 2: things to say instead
As amazing as I like to think I am, I get that not everyone understands my brand of awesomeness. Because you know what? I read that self-help/chick-lit book by Sex and the City writers, He’s Just Not that Into You. And yeah, it was about romance, but I can apply it to fledgling friendships, too.
So…. if you made plans and didn’t bother to let me know you’d canceled them only in your mind? Or….. if you let me extend my offers without suggesting a different hang-out date? I’m going to read that as, “You’re just not that into me.”
Because you know what? I read Buddhist texts. And Deepak Chopra. So I can accept this.
And I can accept that, (1.) Sometimes, people are flaky. Or (2.) Out of touch with themselves. Or (3.) They can’t commit to a date/time in advance because they imagine something better will come along at the last minute.
But those are the people I don’t want to be friends with, anyway. While I like to “branch out,” I have friends. And those friends are awesome. And while I’m certain I’ve been one of those horrible, flaky people in the past (because I was in category (2.) “out of touch”), I am now 32 yo, not 23 yo.
At the wise (sic) age of 32, I don’t need any flaky people or opportunists leading me on to believe we have a beautiful friendship ahead…..when we don’t.
So I came up with 10 things you, or I, can say if we are avoiding a social situation.
Or if we know we can’t follow through on a social situation. Since deep down, our lives sometimes get too crazy.
Can we just be honest? This way, we can all avoid wasting time sending text messages or emails to future-less friendships…. when we could be sending text messages and emails to our current, awesome friends instead.
10 Lines You Can Use to Avoid Hanging Out with Someone:
1. (If invited to hang out and you have mutual friends) “I’m really busy these days, but I hope to run into you at the next event.” End of conversation.
2. (If invited to hang out and you don’t know them) “I’m not available these days, but thank you for the invitation.” End of conversation.
3. Say nothing.
4. At the end of talking with them: “It was wonderful to meet you.” End of conversation.
5. At the end of talking with them: Simply say, “Thank you. Goodbye.” End of conversation.
6. Smile at the end of a conversation. Do not offer to hang out again.
7. (If invited to hang out again) Tell them gently that you’re not interested in hanging out. This also works well (so I’ve heard) after a first date. It might work in non-romantic situations with the right person.
8. Drop to the floor and start searching for buttons. Just kidding, don’t do that. Also, let’s not say, “Yeah, call me sometime!” if you don’t mean it. There is nothing worse than an empty, meaningless, “Call me….sometime.” And then a hope that they don’t call. Let’s not lead anyone on in that way. (This reminds me of how I almost didn’t hang out with B again, because B dared say that to me at the end of our first date. I therefore assumed B’s interest in me was fake.)
9. I once knew a girl who told people, “I’ve been depressed lately and not felt like hanging out much. I’m sorry.” Was this the healthiest thing to do? Maybe, maybe not. Did I admire her honesty? Yes.
10. Do not give them your phone #. Do not give them your email address. Do not Facebook-friend them. Or, if you have to give something, give your email address. Then implement #1 or #2 through email, if you really can’t handle breaking the news in person.
And finally….. if you find yourself in a position where you have somehow managed to make a date to hang out with said-person again….. just go.
Suck it up.
After all, it’s possible you might end up liking them enough to be their friend.
Otherwise, let’s do everyone a favor and be honest with each other.
Now…. on the other hand, if you really WANT to hang out with someone, but CAN’T on that particular day….. this is the post for you.
- 7 things to know about loving your ex
- The 5 Worst ways to ask someone out
- 10 ways to say "no" to hanging out