Saturday, January 29, 2005

Label it, ship it, send it to me.

So most people that I meet socially I meet because they're friends of friends, which means that they come sort of pre-vetted, which means that there's a better than average chance that I'm going to have something in common with them. So even if we don't immediately click and become fast friends forever, most people that I meet socially I basically like.

Occasionally I meet people that I click with pretty fast beyond just sort of basically liking them. One reason I'm sad Jake and Kara are moving is that they're both people I clicked with more quickly than usual -- in totally different ways -- which is really pretty rare for people that come in a couple.

So here's the thing: rarely is it that I meet someone socially that I actually dislike, but once in a while it happens.

And here's where I can tell that I've lived in Seattle for a while now: I don't really meet people neutrally anymore. Everyone comes with a social context. It's postmodernism gone wild! (Most. Tedious. Party. Ever. That's another post.) And so when I meet people, at this point it's kind of like it was in Philly. I already know if/that I'm supposed to like them. In Philadelphia that made sense, because I lived there for years and years. Here's it's a newer experience, and at least in part it happens because I, like most everyone I guess, try really hard to stuff the people I meet into personas based on the limited information I have to begin with. Putting people into boxes before deciding who's worth the effort of going through and unpacking. It's easier to deal with categories. The taxonomy of friends, and friends of friends.

So then what do you do when every social force dictates that you've put someone in the wrong box? Which is another way of asking: what do you do when you really dislike someone you meet socially?

Is it better to be harmonious or to be correct?

Let's be honest: what I really need is to have Cassie or tvdetective or Atissa or heathalouise around to totally validate my impressions.


Blogger heathalouise said...

That's a really hard question. My problem is that I'm not nearly as guarded as I should be when I first meet people, and then later on, I just get disappointed. It happened to me a lot when I lived in Athens, which was really tough since I knew nobody before getting there. It was great to move to Philly; it almost feels as if I moved back, even though I had never actually lived there. But, that's all longwinded. I end up being a total wuss and attempting to ignore someone I don't like socially. I'll talk to them, but I try to avoid it.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Kieran Snyder said...

My general strategy has been to try to go along to get along but to communicate (not on purpose) my secret disdain through a variety of looks, gestures, and snotty remarks. It just comes out that way. I'm thinking this isn't a very good general strategy.

1:36 PM  
Blogger heathalouise said...

Yeah, I make the snotty remarks too, as much as I hate to admit. I am also queen of the eye roll.

6:02 AM  
Blogger TV Detective said...

Well, what else can you do? I usually end up being way too friendly in trying to conceal my feelings and the person ends up thinking we'll be friends. Then I have to ignore his/her phone calls and even feign bad vision the next time we run into each other and I don't say hi.

10:47 AM  

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