Last night, as I was leaving yoga, I overheard the tail end of an exchange between two girls. The farewells went like this:
Girl #1: Let’s hang out!
Girl #2: I know!
And then they turned and went their seperate ways.
My immediate reaction was to laugh out loud. Probably not the most polite response to a conversation I had no part in, but I couldn’t help it (and they didn’t hear me). These ladies sounded like quintessential “valley girls” (is that even a thing anymore? Or did I just break out a straight early ’90s phrase?), plucked directly from a Saturday Night Live skit. I felt ok about my giggle, too, because I know I’ve been one of those girls before–and people have laughed plenty at me. It’s the circle of life.
But then, when I thought about what they actually said, it hit me: This is the problem today! This is why we find ourselves on BFF searches. The first girl, the one who suggested the hang out, gave no indication that she meant it. First of all, it wasn’t an invitation so much as a statement of fact. Second, she said it as she turned around to walk away–it wasn’t as if she waited for an answer, breaking out her calendar to get the hang-out on the books. It was a courtesy, like “nice to meet you” or Chandler’s “we should do this again.”
And girl #2? “I know”? What is that? It’s not even a response that makes sense! She too walked away as she said it, calling over her shoulder as they parted ways. Not “I know, we totally should. Call me and let’s set it up.” Or “Ok. great. I’m free Saturday.” Just “I knooooow,” said in a whiny tone that implied she is sad to never hang out with girl #1, but has no intention of actually making it happen.
Witnessing this brief interaction, it was one of those moments where I was like “Oooh, right. This is how we got here.”
I don’t know these girls from Adam. They are probably perfectly lovely people. But I haven’t been able to shake the exchange, probably because I felt like I was witnessing the precursor to a BFF search. Or maybe it just felt like watching myself, two years ago. I wanted to be like “You both seem to actually want to hang out. So bust out the schedules! Make it happen. ‘I know,’ isn’t going to get you very far.”
We’ve all been party to these conversation. I wrote about my own experience with such an exchange last week.(Btw, our date was fab.) But if I had to choose just one thing that could change the situation for every one of us who’s ever friend-searched it would be this simple nugget: When someone says “let’s hang out,” call them on it. Say, “Ok I’m free on Thursday.”
What do you think? Think this small exchange is emblematic of a larger problem? Or am I overreaching?