I have. And it is rather a pet peeve of mine.
|"Imagine running into you here on Fifth Avenue!"|
"Yes, indeed—we really must get together soon!"
I believe that when one makes such statements, which I consider to be quasi-invitations for further social intercourse, that it obligates the person who says it to follow through and make plans. Otherwise saying such a thing is disingenuous.
I have been the recipient of such statements often enough and have found it sufficiently irritating when there is no follow-through that instead of responding with something as nebulous as "Yes, that would be nice," I now make the point of saying something along the lines of "That is a great idea, let's put it on the calendar right now. I'm free on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings next week. Do either of those two dates work for you?" This usually elicits a somewhat startled response from the person who has so breezily (sort of) issued the (sort of) quasi-invitation for us to get together. And it is then that I find out whether they actually meant what they said, or if they thought they were giving me a "let 'em down gently" blowoff because they never intended to follow through with it in the first place.
|Despite statements they may make to the contrary,|
something tells me these two dames have no intention of
getting together for a friendly drink anytime soon . . .
I recently heard through a mutual acquaintance that some friends of ours, a married couple I have known for decades but who we hadn't seen in almost a year, had said that they missed seeing us and hoped to get together with us again soon. I found that interesting feedback, for the last several times we had seen them was when they were guests at our house, either at parties or when we had them over for dinner, and we hadn't heard from them since. In other words, we had only seen them when we had made the effort to invite them to get together with us. That had happened enough times without a return invitation (or even an acknowledgement of any kind from them after we had entertained them) that I had decided to concentrate our social activities on other, more reciprocating friends (see Reggie's Rules for Social Reciprocity, Part I and Part II). But when I heard what they said through our mutual friend I decided to swallow my pride and reach out to what I now assumed to be our somewhat socially inept friends to arrange to get together. So I called their telephone number one weekend afternoon, and this is the conversation that I had:
"Hello, it's Reggie calling."
"Oh, hi Reggie, we were just talking about you and Boy the other day, and how we haven't seen you in ages."
"Well, that's why I'm calling, to see if we can get together. We'd like to have dinner with the two of you in the city one night. How does your calendar look over the next few weeks?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, but X [the spouse of the person I was speaking with] isn't here right now, so I can't make any plans since I don't know what his schedule is."
This struck me as rather odd, since Boy and I routinely commit to social engagements without checking with the other first, with the understanding that we will confirm with the person we are making the plans with afterwards. In any event, I responded with:
"Well, why don't you discuss it with X when he returns and then call me back with some dates that work for the two of you so we can put something on the calendar?"
"Okay, that sounds like a good idea. I'll call you."
"Great, I look forward to hearing from you soon."
Needless to say, that conversation, which took place this past October, was the last time I spoke with what I thought had once been a friend and is now what I consider to be a former friend. Unless I hear from them, which I seriously doubt I will, I suspect that I won't be socializing with them again any time soon.
What is it with people?
I believe it is inappropriate to make empty statements like "We should get together soon" or "I'll call you" and then not follow through on it. Of course Reggie is a big boy, and understands that not everyone out there wants to socialize with him or be his friend. And that's just fine with him because he doesn't want to get together with everyone he meets, either. His social life is already active enough as it is, thank you very much. Regardless, he firmly believes that it is wrong to issue dangling invitations or make empty promises when one has no intention of following through on them. He makes every effort never to do so, and he thinks you should, too.
And that's a Reggie Rule.
Photographs courtesy of LIFE Images