"Let's get together next week," says person who has no intention of seeing you next week
Awkward, chance encounters are completely unavoidable. Hence the phrase “chance encounter.” It seems like we run into the people we least want to see when we are at our very lowest - buying hernia cream at the local CVS or walking down the street balls deep in a Big Mac from McDonalds that you know you shouldn’t be eating.
You’re simply not in the mood to have a conversation with someone when you’re doing activities like this. Going out in public for these types of things - eating food that is horrible for you, buying Prep H or Plan B - these are activities that leave you no room for error. It’s in, out, and back to the safety and serenity of your apartment where no one can judge you.
There are certain people that you just have to act cordial with when you see them in public, though. It’s usually the friend of a friend, which is where this awful, non-committal bullshit phrase “Let’s get together next week!” comes from. The most empty of gestures.
You lock eyes as you’re passing each other at the store or on the street and societal norms tell your brain that you have to say something. At the very least, you have to take the earbuds out and say hello.
A head nod and a fast paced walk simply will not do. You’re about to enter stop n’ chat territory, and for me personally, this is the absolute worst kind of conversation you can get into because it’s never with someone that you actually want to stop and chat with.
It’s always, always these people just outside of your normal friend group. They are fringe friends. People that you see semi-regularly at functions, be it at the bar or at someone’s apartment.
You’re always friendly to each other, obviously, but you’re not close. You probably have their number in your phone as “Brad” and then last name “Guy from Sarah’s Party” or something like that.
You say what’s up to them when you’re out as a group and pretty much leave it at that. But when you’re alone and you see this person in the grocery store or whatever, it’s required that you say something. And so there you stand, talking to this person that you don’t really like and you don’t really hate. You’re completely indifferent about them in every way possible, standing there discussing mindless bullshit and praying to higher powers that you can just get out of this wretched discussion as quickly as possible.
“Oh, you know...works fine I guess. It’s fuckin’ work, am I right?”
“How’s your new spot? Heard you just moved in with uhhh… Jessica, right?”
“Did you see [insert mutual friends name here] is having a party next weekend?”
Just really awful shit. And then you or the other person starts looking around and it’s mutuall agreed upon that you’ve done enough small talk to satisfy your social requirement as a decent human being. That’s when it comes out. Maybe you say it. Perhaps they do. But make no mistake - one of you is going to do it.
“Let’s get together soon! Maybe grab a beer or something.”
And then you get the classic “Yeah, dude for sure! Just hit me up I’m free all next week.” It’s just become apart of the awkward stop n’ chat.
Deep down in your heart of hearts you and the other guy just know this meeting is never materializing but you say it anyways because well, you have to. That shit gets me every time because as I’m walking the opposite way from the person I just spoke with, I smile and shake my head a little bit, and in my mind all I say is “I will never grab a beer with that guy.”