This has really been weighing on my soul lately: Why are people so effing awkward? I remember one time I was at a bar with my friend. A guy walked up to us and started a cool, casual conversation. When the conversation waned and he was ready to go, he just said “It was nice talking to you” and went on his way. We didn’t pretend we’d see each other again, we didn’t exchange social media, we just enjoyed our brief time interacting like human beings. That. Shit. Doesn’t. Happen. Anymore.
Nowadays our lives are filled with combative social media messages, wishy-washy come-ons, and an onslaught of anxiety. Most of my friends now exercise their fight-or-flight instincts: “Yeah, I’m gonna warn you now that I might not make it out…so I don’t stab somebody.” My poor young friends are like, “It doesn’t get easier, does it?” Nah.
Why in the world don’t we know how to interact with each other? I have a friend in his 60s who suspects it’s either a generational issue or the fact everyone’s trying to be P.C. Now this guy…you may not always like what he says, but he states it plain – like a champ! If he thinks you look nice, he’ll say “Damn! You look good.” If you’re driving like an idiot, he says, “Quit driving like an idiot.” He’ll talk politics without attacking you and tell you he’s married in a heartbeat. It’s a beautiful thing.
I think the new generations are communicating backwards. Gen Y males will pop up in your life to say hi, express a hint of interest, disappear for months, and then pop-up again like nothing happened. Are you interested? Not interested? Did you have to wait until your girlfriend wasn’t around? What do you want?
To be fair, let me tell you about Gen X females. I’m still enthralled by what happened at this year’s holiday party. It was my last holiday party at this company, so naturally I’m saying my farewells and getting sentimental with a few good people. One fellow tells me I’ll be missed, and I’m just like, “Don’t make me sad!” “Don’t worry,” his wife says, “I didn’t work with you and I don’t know you, so I won’t miss you.” Y’all I was stunned. I laughed to keep from fighting.
I wish more of us could just say how we really feel. “I’m in a relationship.” “I have a crush on you, but I’m chicken.” “I don’t know what I want.” “I don’t like that my husband has attractive female coworkers.” Whatevs. It’s all better than this weird limbo we have to live in where people have to interpret whether you love them, hate them, or are some type of asshole/creep combination.
I’m guilty of being awkward, too. I think I’d rather burn in a raging fire than tell a guy whether I like him or not. My techniques are evasive at best: Let me just position myself in his line of sight repeatedly. Or, no, I don’t like him, but he can follow me on social media. I also remember wanting to have lunch with my female coworkers but balking at the possible rejection. We just had lunch together yesterday. Doesn’t she want a break?
No wonder we can’t just enjoy each others’ company anymore. Every social interaction is like a mortifying game of roulette: Will my friends resent me for not being perfect? Who will run out of oxygen on the small talk treadmill first? Will I get smacked by a micro aggression? Maybe all three!
There’s only one possible solution: be unapologetically you. Speak you. Live you. Do you. Make life less awkward by showing your true colors! That way we can all make clear decisions about who we want to spend our time with.
“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, and fuck you, I’m out.”