There was a time — back in my youth before life made me jaded and cynical — when I loved meeting new people. It didn’t matter if they were friends of friends, strangers I’d befriend at the bar or even people I’d talk to online and then meet up with in real life. I was young, carefree and didn’t have a worry in the world. The more the merrier.
But now my motto is “no mas.”
I suppose it’s more than a little hypocritical for a blogger and communications major to say he hates meeting new people and making new friends. But it’s true. At least in real life. Meeting people online is great because, let’s face it, we communicate via Facebook status updates, comments and 140 characters at a time. It’s not like having “real life” friends because you can tune out or log off online. But in real life that’s not an option.
I love my friends. Both my real life friends and my online friends. But simply put, I’m done making new real life friends.
I know that makes me a misanthrope but I don’t care. I’m officially old, stubborn and set in my ways on this front. My real life friends have been there for years and they’re used to me. Because let’s face it — I’m not easy to get along with. I’m crass, brash, bold, loud and obnoxious. I make fun of everyone and everything, while expecting the same thing in return. Every time I hang out with my friends it’s basically a Comedy Central Roast. Nothing is sacred. But at the same time, no one takes offense. I don’t have to worry about offending them, making small talk with them or placating them with bullshit. It’s a nice little arrangement.
In a nutshell, I want to keep the friends I have and put a bubble over my world with a sign that says “New Friends Need Not Apply.”
But I made one big tactical error regarding my Bubble Plan.
MJ. She’s going back to school and still battling a host of medical maladies. In an effort to break her out of her funk, I told her to interact more with her classmates. In my head that meant study partners, homework buddies, etc. I never imagined — not even for a second — my advice might have repercussions outside the classroom. More to the point, I didn’t think it would ever affect me. Whoops.
“Hey babe, we’re going out to dinner Friday night,” MJ said to me a couple of weeks ago.
“Cool. Is it just you and me?”
“No. We’re going out with friends,” she said with a hesitation that gave me pause.
“OK. Who? Dave and Amanda?”
“Vic and Alicia?”
“Craig and Kelly?” I said with a curious inflection.
“Nope,” she said, turning her face away from me which is what always happens when she’s about to deliver bad news.
“Well that’s curious since that about exhausts the list of friends with whom we can easily go out to dinner. What’s going on?”
“OK, don’t be mad but — “
I knew I was in trouble right away. Every husband knows nothing good has ever followed the words “Don’t be mad but…” And that’s when she told me she made dinner plans with a friend of hers from class. My jaw hit the floor. Partially because MJ had completely ignored the “No New Friends” rule, but also because it’s so out of character for MJ to put herself out there like that.
“Really?” I said with a mix of disgust and surprise. “Who is this girl??”
“Well,” she said. “Don’t be mad but…”
Yup. A double dose of trouble. MJ went on to tell me weren’t just going out with her friend from class, we were going out with her boyfriend. Alarm bells and sirens started going off in my head as the word “WARNING! WARNING!” repeatedly sounded through my brain.
Since I’m incapable of hiding my emotions and I have no filter, the look on my face must’ve told MJ exactly what I thought about her plans. But I can’t help it. I automatically think of all the forced small talk, the get-to-know you background conversations, the how-did-you-meet stories. And all the while I’m fighting the urge to check my email, jump on Facebook and tweet about what a horrible time I’m having.
Yes, I’m a dick. I know. And so does MJ. That’s why she wasn’t surprised at my complaining. I told her I hate the get-to-know you crap, the niceties and polite dinner conversation asking all the usual questions. Which is why she cringed when she dropped the third bombshell on me.
“Well, actually you can’t ask them about how they met or any of that stuff. They just broke up.”
“Uhhhh…what?” I said in disbelief.
“Yeah. They broke up. But she’s hoping this dinner will help get them back together.”
Boom. There it is.
We haven’t even been out with these new people yet and it’s already more trouble than it’s worth. Sure I hate the usual small talk, but at least it’s an option. Now MJ gives me a list of questions I’m not even allowed to ask them. Furthermore, she told me I had to pretend I didn’t know they were broken up because it would just cause unnecessary drama. I’ve never even met these people and I’m already mixed up in their personal relationship issues. It’s bad enough to go out with new people and find out their weird idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes in due time, but this is a whole other ball of wax. This is craziness right off the bat and the whole thing is starting off based on lies — they’re lying about still being together and I’m lying about not knowing about their break up.
All I can picture is going out for dinner with two people who’ve spent the last week fighting and having several of those 6-hour should-we-or-shouldn’t-we-break-up marathons. After a few drinks they start bickering with each other and throwing out little verbal jabs. Then comes the screaming match complete with a drink thrown in his face, followed by the two of them storming out of the restaurant before they can pay their portion of the check, which the waitress just dropped in our lap.
This is what happens when you open The Bubble!!