Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Jenna: Excess Baggage
Here's an awkward situation we've all been in. A simple misguided judgement of character that leads to an uncomfortable series of events in which you cannot effectively or tactfully get rid of someone who's company you no longer desire.
It's not like you're trying to be mean. Or hurt anyone's feelings...but sometimes, people just don't get the hint. And there's very little you can do to imply that you don't want someone around without being glaringly obvious.
This has happened to you right? You meet a person who you seem to hit it off with at first (perhaps romantically, maybe as a friend), and invite them out to some fun group enterprise with a bunch of other friends. This way it's not a date and you get to see how this person will acclimate to your social group. You are the common link with everyone though, and you are obligated to spend time making your new friend feel comfortable. This is fine at first, but suddenly you run out of things to talk about. Or that habit they have of constantly mentioning that time they lived in Prague, or their restoration of a new car, or some band they've been following for years, becomes less endearing and increasingly irritating. Your friends think he's kind of lame and time seems to move in fast forward until you quickly realize that you can no longer stand to look at this him anymore. However, because you have put yourself in this situation (due to innocently misplaced enthusiasm) there is no tactful escape route.
Depending on the person in question, there are varying levels of awareness of the fact that your presence is no longer desired. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to sound like a bitch. I'm sure I've been on both sides of this situation, having overstayed my welcome in many a social situation. But I, at least, have the social aptitude to know when it's time to throw in the towel. Some don't. And with those kinds of people, as mean, rude, and awful as it may make you feel, one must be extraordinarily clear about your intentions. As in...you no longer have any. That this experiment has been a failure and must recorded in history as such.
My basic tactic is to start talking to your unwelcome guest less and less until they kind of wander off, get bored, and decide to leave. It's not the best way to handle the situation, but in my opinion, it's the path of least resistance. And until I develop a stronger ability to see into the future and head these things off at the pass, I will work on my tact and stop inviting near strangers out to day-long social events. Lesson learned.