Thursday, 21 June 2012

Commit to a Date

So many times, after running into an old friend, we would say to each other “We must get together soon!” Rarely did these desired visits ever materialize in spite of the best of intentions. Recently, I decided that the obvious solution was to just commit to a date. Right there, right then.

The results have been great. It’s very easy to work around a coffee date that is set three weeks in the future. Friends have also embraced this new philosophy. About a month ago, when I nonchalantly said to a close friend from home that she should visit me “sometime” in my new city, her immediate response was “I am free during these specific weeks. Let’s pick dates now so that the opportunity does not pass us by.” Brilliant. This means the visit will actually happen, even when I forgot to follow my own advice and commit to dates.

This new philosophy also forces me to pay more attention to what I say to people. “We should get together sometime” is often used as a polite expression of warmth with no substance behind it. I’ve caught myself saying just that to people I didn’t especially care to spend copious amounts of time with, but felt somewhat obligated to acknowledge the past familiarity between us. I try to choose my words more carefully now. “It was so great to see you” works nicely for these situations. It’s something I can genuinely say after a serendipitous five-minute catch-up at the grocery store with an old acquaintance, with no implication of future commitment.

And now, I must go prepare for my friend’s visit.

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