Picture this scenario that I’m sure we’ve all encountered:
You’re picking up a coffee, at the grocery store, or out at dinner, and you run into someone you haven’t seen in years (this happened to me a few weeks ago). You’re friendly, you chat about recent big events and small details about each other's day-to-day. Great. All is well. Good to see you, I wish you all the best. But no. So many times this perfectly authentic, acceptably brief conversation ends with “Let’s grab coffee sometime," or “We should go out for drinks!”
That’s all fine and well if this was something we both found realistic. But more often than not, this is someone I haven’t seen in years.
Why would we put this pressure and weirdness on tentative plans to see each other again?
Wouldn’t we have already done that if we really wanted to? Why add this looming “Maybe one of us will text the other, but chances are, we’re both going to retreat back to our same lives.” I'm all about being on good terms with people, no burned bridges, no hard feelings. But it’s about authenticity.
This conversation would have pleasantly ended if it weren’t for the obligatory “Bye, but not really bye, because starting now we’re gonna see each other again.” Then it’s like this looming “Oh, I never reached out to her!” for weeks after (at least for me it is). But was the plan to really see each other again? Or was that just a closing remark we felt obligated to say?
I think part of the reason we do this is because it’s proper “etiquette” or whatever - to end conversations with a continuation to show that you enjoyed speaking to that person. It can be hard to acknowledge your true relationship with someone (i.e. we’re just work friends), but by offering these “fake” closings it’s as if not suggesting coffee afterwards is to say that you don’t respect them as a person. I really don’t think this should be the case.
This idea of being ruthlessly authentic does not only apply to how we interact in our relationships, but also how honest we are with ourselves.
I think we all have things here and there that we “pretend” to like. Not in a lying way or even in a serious way. I think sometimes it’s easier to convince ourselves that we like something rather than truly listening to ourselves (as trivial as it may seem).
Here’s my list of Things I Pretend to Like:
- Raw broccoli
- Sorbet (That’s like, not ice cream)
- “Get’cha Head in the Game” from High School Musical
- Core workouts
- The actual act of shopping
- A lot of my Spotify playlists, honestly
- Talking on the phone (because I always feel like it has to be at least an hour long conversation)
- Playgrounds, specifically monkey bars & swings
My brother Brian’s Things He Pretends to Like:
- Wearing a suit anytime
Maclaine’s Things She Pretends to Like:
- Live music ("I want to be able to turn that off whenever I want")
- The expectation to actually chat over Snapchat
- Conversational texting
- Eating out at restaurants
In the comments, let me know what you would add to your list of “Things I Pretend to Like”or even “The Worst Grocery Store Small-Talk Line” you’ve used.
People, it’s time to get REAL!