Sunday, April 24, 2011

Checks Your Ass Can't Cash

What is with people and their open ended offers?
"We'll get together soon." or "Let's do lunch." or "Let's have dinner."

I had a professor at the University of Skokie (a.k.a. Oakton Community College) who spoke of this often. Why can't people just commit and follow thru?  Rather than saying, "Are you free for lunch on Thursday?", it's just a vague saying in passing, "We'll have lunch soon." When is soon? What day is soon? I want to make sure I am available on soon.

I have encountered way too many people in my life who live this way. Franky, I find it annoying and a bunch of bullshit. If you really wanted to get together, you would schedule a firm date and time with me.
Why is it so hard to commit? The people who have such a hard time committing to a meal are the same people who cannot commit to anything else in their lives. For example, the professor I spoke of, divorced his wife for reasons that weren't really concrete, in my opinion. And, later on, he too, realized that they weren't concrete. She had moved on and remarried. He missed her terribly. He would speak of the regret he had over his decision and had wished he could go back and do it differently.  He wasn't happy being "tied down". He thought the grass might be greener elsewhere. It wasn't. He was alone and sad and unhappy. He realized his mistake. He decided to live life differently. Whenever a friend asked him for coffee, he would open his date book. (This was back in 1996. Today he'd open his iPhone or Blackberry calendar) He'd take out a pencil and ask the person what day and time so he could mark it down. Now, I realize his divorce and making a decision to actually schedule plans with people aren't quite the same. But his lecture that day was on both topics. So I am writing about both.

Also, remember to reciprocate. If people consistently invite you to their home, or parties, or for holidays, or pick up the check, keep that in mind. When you don't show any gratitude or reciprocation, it doesn't go unnoticed. You just look like a giant schnorr. And no one likes a schnorr.  Don't make offers that "next time" you'll pick up the check or that "next time" it's on you. No one believes you after you have made this offer several times and have never followed thru on it.  When the check comes, pick it up. It won't kill you. I promise.

So, I know this is on the shorter side today. I'm tired and crabby. But my point is this: do not make vague offers. Don't write a check your ass can't cash. If you really don't want to have dinner, don't make the suggestion to do so. I won't be offended. What offends me, is your empty offer. Trust me, I have people who DO want to have lunch or dinner or coffee or whatever with me. I don't need you pretending you want to do so.

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