Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Let's do lunch!" and other social lies

I admit it. I can be incredibly gullible, and naive.

For example, for years (and still even now, occasionally, even though I'm supposedly older and wiser) I actually believed that when someone said to me "Let's do lunch!" or "Let's grab a coffee!" or "Let's do dinner!" she (or he) meant it. And I would stupidly try to arrange a coffee, lunch, or dinner date with said person, often repeatedly, only to be blown off or stood up (every time).

What a rube I was (am).

What I didn't get, or understand, until recently, was that when people say "Let's do lunch!" etc. what they almost always mean is "I want to end this conversation -- or get away from you -- NOW, but I don't want to seem rude or impolite, or have you dislike me, so I will say something nice that will make you think I like you, so you will like me, like inviting you to have a coffee or meet for lunch, even though there is no chance in hell that I would spend an hour with you."

It's the same thing when people say "Call me!"

If they really wanted to talk to you, they would pick up a phone and call you, not ask you to call them.

At this point you are probably thinking one of two things (other than "Wow J., have you always been such a cynic?"*):

1. But, J., when I said "Let's have lunch!" I really meant it. At the time. But, you know, I have, like, a zillion things to do, and I spaced. And I didn't mean to blow you off five times. Really!

Uh huh.


2. Really, it took you this long to figure it out?

I know. I am ashamed of myself.

Look, I get people are busy. And I am sure that some of you are totally sincere when you say "Let's  have lunch," etc. But if you don't really want to have lunch, or coffee, or dinner with me, or whomever, why put the invitation out there? Why not just say "Gotta go!" or "Bye"?

Maybe one of you psychologists or students of human behavior can help me out on this one. Maybe we could, you know, grab a coffee, or have lunch, to discuss it.

UPDATE 1: Of course, when I say "let's do lunch [or dinner or coffee]," I totally mean it.

UPDATE 2: "Email me" is just as bad, if not worse, than "Call me," unless the person doesn't have your email and he knows you have his. (Yes, I'm talking to you, guy on Twitter who was too effing lazy to email me his "great small business story idea.") Really bad? When someone emails you the message "call me."



lindaroo said...

Okay, now you've gone and popped that bubble. Why does life insist on divesting me of my pretty illusions?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this! I worked with a girl who would do this ALL THE TIME. She also happened to be a self-absorbed user who only reached out to me whenever she needed something from me. Your post made me realize her "lunch" statement was her way of ending the conversation on a good note so that she could do it again later. Disingenuous people are the worst. I applaud you for not being one of them.