Friendships that Feel Like Jury Duty
We all have friends we love, people we can spend hours with and never get bored. These are the friends we can call when we’re miserable and we never feel like they are secretly happy we’re suffering. But there are other friends we keep in touch with and we’re not sure why. At one time we went to school with them, or we knew them at our last job, or we met them a few times through an old roommate. Now, years later, they check in all the time via email or Facebook, sending photos and updates about their exciting life.
We’re fine with their occasional contact, as long as it remains occasional. But what do you do when these people cross the line, when they try to take the friendship “to the next level” and they want to start hanging out again? And what do you do if you never really liked them much in the first place? Do you just ignore them entirely? Do you hang out with them out of guilt, laying yourself up on the altar as a social sacrifice?
Most practices instituted by the U.S. government would not work in other areas of our lives, but a civic responsibility provides the perfect solution to this uncomfortable social situation. If hanging out with someone feels like jury duty, why not treat it as such?
Picture this: you go to lunch with your long-lost buddy, you grin and bear the small talk for about forty-five minutes, and then when you’re done, you get a stamped piece of paper guaranteeing that you will not have to do it again for at least two years, possibly even four. You’ve done your duty, you didn’t offend anyone or burn any bridges, and now you’re off the hook for awhile! And if you’re lucky, you might be able to move out of state before the term expires.
Just think of how great it would when they email you the next day to find out if you can go to lunch again soon and you have a certified piece of paper to get you out of it. You don’t have to invent excuses, lie about how busy you are at work or how sick you’ve been. You just read off the number on your form, letting them know that you have another 24 months before you have to meet them back at Pita Heaven. Copyright 2009 © Alison James.