A particularly repetitive bad habit of mine is inviting people for coffee, often a shallow invitation as I don’t really mean it. That’s wrong of me i hear you say, when you don’t actually want to. It is. Because we both create false pretences and situations perhaps neither of us would like to be in. I have been for coffee with people, then never spoke to them again. Perhaps if we had not gone for coffee (or a drink or food, the activity is interchangeable) then we would not be in this position. I would not be feeling guilty and rude. They would not perhaps feel pressured to go with moi. And we may still speak.
From this I acknowledge the need for me to normalise and recognise surface level friendships. Not everyone I meet will be in my life forever and that’s perfectly normally. I don’t have to instigate plans, our friendship or acquaintance situation may not require plans and I certainly don’t need to enforce them. We talked on the bus. That’s okay, we don’t need to swap numbers. The girl I spoke to outside yoga, we don’t need to swap instagrams and pretend we’re friends because it was just a chat. An assigned study partner is just as assigned study partner. Keeping in touch works both ways, you’ve done it once it’s not your turn now - you can have friendships for different parts of your life. This is not harsh or rude, because sometimes you may get on really well with someone and suddenly you are ride or dies. Im simply saying remove the obligatory aspect to make contact. You do not need to pressure or push things. Remove the expectation aspect that you have made a friend.
Accepting surface level friendships would be a step in unburdening myself from people and perhaps them from me, creating an expectation from one another. I may start to appreciate what they bring to my life a lot more rather than wondering why they lack something they never owed me in the first place. A long rambled way of saying don’t have expectation from coffee dates.
So how should I handle this in real life? It’s all well and good being idealistic but how does this really work. When you’re chatting to someone at the bus stop or outside yoga, finish the conversation there and say have a nice day instead of asking for their Instagram or phone number. When someone asks to meet up for a project, politely suggest a zoom perhaps if coffee date is not your thing. If you go on a date, don’t expect a follow up one, perhaps it was one time. You go for a drink with someone and don’t want to go again, politely say you’re busy next time. Same goes for them using the same excuse. Try things once but don’t feel coerced, it’s not mean and it will stress relieve you in the long run.
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