I'm at that age where I'm officially done making best friends. I've got my clique that I Snapchat with. I've got my Gchat crew. I've got the 5-6 people I'm willing to make tee times with. But If I meet someone new and am not initially taken by them, there's really no coming back from it. I already receive too many text messages and have my read receipts on as a measure to say, "Yeah, I fucking saw your text and didn't respond. Get the drift." After all, it's the 21st century. I see every text that comes through my phone and I immediately register whether or not I'm going to respond within five seconds of reading it.
But as I get older and my network is supposed to be expanding, I find myself dodging pitches for social activities almost constantly. It's not necessarily that I don't want to be universally liked or anything. Don't get me wrong - I do. But the balance I crave between "me" time and being social is quickly changing the later into my 20s I go.
Because at the end of the day, no, I don't want to go to happy hour and have forced conversation with someone I just met only to spend $25 on some watered down half-ass cocktails. So what do I do? I turn to my rolodex of tricks to get out of any and all plans.
Yeah, I'm dogsitting for Tube Socks's parent's again and yeah, I have to let the dogs out regularly. But that only takes about ten minutes. What am I really doing? Probably listening to a Motown playlist in their kitchen while tipping back some red in my Patagonia Baggies and an over-sized longsleeve pocket tee. Because when I left the bar saying, "Ugh, I can't stay. I have to go let the dogs out," what I really meant was, "This sucks and I'd rather be on my own program for the rest of the night."
Bait & Switch
You've already stupidly committed to going to a restaurant across town with someone you don't really feel like seeing. Is it really worth going through the effort of getting ready, spending $30+ on an Uber, and dedicating the next four hours to getting drinks with someone you'll probably not see until this time again next year? No.
So what do you do? You shift the responsibility onto them. "Hey! So about tonight -- I've got some old friends that are grabbing drinks at a bar near my place. Want to head over here instead?" The second you drop that bomb on them, they're immediately going through the mental turmoil that you just put yourself through.
Worst-case scenario? They accept the invite and you have to scrounge up some friends near you. Best-case scenario? They take the burden of cancelling the night and you get to knock out some episodes of Bloodline.
Pull An Audible
The countdown to the plans you made is sounding more and more like the intro to 60 Minutes - just a ticking clock that's pushing you closer and closer to the edge of insanity. You don't want to grab this dinner, and hell, they probably don't either. So you put your white lie pants on and perform an audible.
"Ugh, working late. Reschedule?"
"I totally forgot I told my friend I'd help them prepare for a job interview tomorrow - you don't hate me, do you?"
"I've felt under the weather all week and I feel like I'm finally about to turn the corner of being healthy again. Another time work for you?"
They're probably already in their chillin'-the-most outfit thanking the Lord you said something before they did.
Is there anything worse than when you've mentally committed to getting butt-deep on the couch for the night and then all of your friends start bombarding you with, "Just come out!" texts? They're buzzed up, they're having fun, and they can't fathom why you wouldn't want to do what they're doing. Not you though. You've known since the second you woke up this morning that you aren't going out tonight, and changing your mindset now would be climbing your own personal Everest.
Then when tomorrow comes you simply dole out a series of "Ah, sorry, crashed pretty early last night" messages that no one can refute. After all, by this time they're probably all too hungover to care that you weren't there anyway.
And when all else fails?
Say, "Sounds great!"
"Sounds great!" is how I end 90% of my conversations with people I don't want to talk to. Not only does it come off as nice and enthusiastic, but it's completely non-committal without being overly-"no way in hell I'm doing that."
For example, "We should grab drinks this week!"
"Sounds great!", which also means, "If I really wanted to grab drinks, I would have tossed a day out to you."
Or maybe someone says to you, "Can you help me move a few things this Sunday?" You hit 'em with a "Sounds great!" before turning your phone off until it's dark out.
Because you know what? Sometimes doing absolutely nothing sounds pretty fucking great.