At the time of this post’s publication at least five separate friends have emailed me an article from The New Yorker titled, “Let’s Get Drinks.”
“B: I am total garbage at scheduling and forgot we were supposed to meet up tonight. Could you do Mon? SO SORRY. I feel terrible.
A: OMG, do not feel terrible. You are not as bad as I am. If you’re garbage, then I am, like, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, because Monday doesn’t work. What about tomorrow?
B: I am worse than the global food crisis. Tomorrow’s no good. This is embarrassing, but I signed up for a yoga workshop. (I know, eye roll.) Anyway, hopefully I’ll get my shit together and stop being the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami by next week. Xo.”
So, haha, because been there, done that and things are funniest when they’re true.
I just searched, “Don’t hate me,” and “I’m the worst” in my archived inbox, a return which proved I’ve said both phrases at least 15 times in the past three months re: plans to which I’ve either run embarrassingly late to or cancelled entirely. Similar sentiments were echoed by my fellow plan-canceling friends, all of us at fault for hyperbolic one-upping and underlining our please forgive me’s with the sign off, “XO.”
A few “drinks” with my fellow XO-ers have recently — victoriously! — been nailed down. Most impressive is one that includes six people and will occur this Thursday evening…which I probably just jinxed. All of the plans are with people that I would genuinely like to see. Friends rule. Drinks are fun. And everyone’s gotta eat. But in the age of multi-tasking, and multi-dating and multi-careering, our social to-do list has suddenly become a greater burden than our jobs. The scale of work-life balance has been tipped because we have too many plans to get tipsy.
That’s just echoing what the writer was illustrating, though. What I find most interesting is not the concept that we overbook (because no shit). What’s interesting is that we feel guilt when we bail.
Yes, it’s considered rude to drop the axe on plans last minute, and it inconveniences others when you need to change a date or switch a time. But isn’t it technically worse if we attend a dinner tired, unable to participate in the conversation because we’re stressed, or spend the whole evening preoccupied because we’re on deadline? I’m beginning to think yes — and it’s become my 2015 goal to come up with strategies and solutions:
1) Say yes to less. (Critics call this one TLC’s “most boring show!”)
2) Shorten the dates themselves. Not everything needs to be a meal, or involve alcohol. Suggesting tea is hydrating, seasonally appropriate and offers enough time to catch up or talk business without it feeling like a sidewalk drive-by.
3) Though this one goes against everything George Costanza stood for: blend your worlds. It’s good for networking, new friendships, and leaves enough nights free each week to wall-stare all by your happy lonesome.
Comedian John Mulaney once said that, “in terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.” Can we just all agree that this is true? That our friendships have the capacity to withstand social dry spells in the name of alone time? Or is this actually a terrible idea? Maybe I was right. Maybe I’m just the worst.