Let’s (Not) Hang Out, Please?

There are hundreds of reasons why a person may not want to hang out with you. That being said, there are another hundred reasons behind those reasons why a person may actually not want to hang out with you. Here is a key I’ve developed for deciphering those confusing responses you get when you ask someone, “Hey, want to catch up over coffee later? We could totally hang out, you know!”

See, well that’s the problem. I remember back when I was younger and there was no Instagram and smartphone addiction, ‘hanging out’ was The Coolest Thing you could do with your time. Hell, if you weren’t out there, having a crazy time with your BFFs, you seriously needed to scrutinize why. WHY AREN’T YOU HAVING FUN! No seriously, why not? What is so important that you can’t get out and spend an entire day, doing absolutely pointless things which lead to funny stories you can reminisce about later in front of others? At least that was how things worked back in the 90’s. You asked someone if they were free after school or on the weekend and they said yes and that would culminate into something fun, platonic, stress-free and well…fun.

Things aren’t so simple now. There are people who are very much involved in the hanging out scenes and there are those who are simply not. When you ask someone if they’re free later to hang out and they tell you that they will let you know, chances are they are never going to be free. Period. You have to pick up the pieces of hope you pinned up on that friendship and move the hell on. Also, if I’m not wrong, this person will most likely be doing this to you…All.The.Time. Unfair as it is, it seems as though you’re continuously asking for something which they possess but will not part with, i.e., their time.

Let’s dig deeper now, shall we?

You ask someone if they’re free later to hang out and they tell you that they will let you know. Have you considered that probably they might not be free later? By giving you a diplomatic yet hopeful response they’re also leaving sufficient room for uncertainty, for disappointment. Next time when you hear that response do brace your heart, love.

Sometimes, and most of the times, people do not like to hang out. It’s entirely possible that they’ve thrown themselves into their studies and careers and just cannot afford to take a break. Also, they wouldn’t want to trade their few hours of spare time in a week where they burn the midnight oil just to make some quality time for themselves, later. When and if you ask such a person out for coffee, it’s not their fault if they say an outright, “no, I’m busy.” Truth is, they are busy and do not find you worthy enough to devote the last few hours of an hourglass that they’re constantly racing against.

I also know people who are very enthusiastic about being asked to spend time with. They anticipate it with a renewed sense of excitement and slight trepidation. I admire such people because I’m not one of them and from where I see it; it’s quite difficult and exhausting. They know that it’s going to be a new experience and they are well aware how things can sometimes go south. But they fly at the opportunity, anyway.

One of two things can happen, when you go out with said, enthusiastic person. You can either have the exact conversation you’ve replayed to perfection in your head while in the shower or (and that’s a big ‘oooorrrr’), you will want to fake a cardiac just to get yourself out of the torture of sitting across them for another few hours, arms crossed, tapping foot, while they’re too busy sliding their thumb over their Facebook feed. It’s a clear sign when a person cannot stay away from their phone for at least 15 minutes that they want out. Pick up on That Sign and let them go. Tell them that they’re dreadful conversationalists and that you did not want to waste your precious time and money over a coffee that you sip while staring at them, staring at their smartphone. It is by all means unacceptable and someone needs to put their foot down, already.

I read somewhere that the less commitments that you have in your life means lesser the compromise, and in this environment you can get a lot done. This works because I know a friend who was extremely social but got grounded for a stretch of many months and didn’t know what to do with all his free time. He was stumped later by how much he could get done on his own. Of course, he’s back to his old ways now, more or less. But you get the point, don’t you? I’ve been termed as a ‘hermit’ and also someone who is “anti-social” (seriously, get your vocabulary checked when you use that term in this context), and I know that we all need human interactions even though I’d much rather stay home because well, it’s free and I have broadband internet and a refrigerator. Maybe you could try other ways, like Google Hang Outs and Esc(ape) with the excuse of a poor connection (works every time!) Or (the small, happy ‘or’ indicating hope and possibility) appease me with your stellar wit and beautiful mind from across thousands of miles and for a change make me want to ask you out for coffee, later, maybe?

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