Am I the only one who hates it when you bump into someone you haven't seen in years? I'm not talking about your former best-friends or anything, either; I'm talking about acquaintances, like the guy who had the locker beside yours in your sophomore year of high school or that shady kid you used to work with 10 years back (you know, the one who tells you his 'humorous' breaking & entering anecdote right before he asks directions to your house for the party you didn't want him to know you were having).
You always see them first, too; at the mall or an outdoor concert, about 30 feet away. You can't help but to look at them for a lingering moment, "is that who I think it... SHIT!". Usually, this happens to be the time they turn and look directly at you. No escape now, time for EXCITING SUPER-FUN SMALL TALK! You Take the lead:
"It's Been a while!"(if only it was a little while longer...)
"Yes, it has."
(insert introductions of other people in both groups here)
"Have you seen (insert mutual acquaintance here) lately?" (if I cared, I'd have seen them lately myself)
"Yes, Mutual Acquaintance is brief summary of mutual friends marital status, location of residence & employment"
"No, not for a while, (response question about other mutual acquaintance)"
(Answer to their mutual acquaintance question)
Now comes the endgame. The trick is to wrap up this little slow, painful death of a conversation without giving up:
1. A phone number. You obviously don't really care to have this person back in your life, or else you would have kept in touch with them. Besides, do you really want to invite the chance of more conversations as excruciating as this one? The only upside is the small sliver of hope that they might just be asking to be polite- because, let's face it, they haven't really tried to track you down either.
2. Your email. This is the kiss of death. Unlike a phone call, which takes them more time & requires more commitment, any jackass can put you in their address book. I mean, they're doing you a favor, right? Forwarding you all those funny lawyer jokes & inspirational messages? How could they in good conscience not let you in on a surefire way to GET RICH QUICK!!!
3. A commitment to get together some time. This one isn't too bad, or in any way binding you to an actual future meeting with them- it's just hard for me, personally, not to grimace at myself while the lies slither off my tongue like snakes.
Then you say goodbye, part ways, and you silently kick yourself while making a mental note to move out-of state. And can you believe we actually look forward to our high school reunion?