You know how when you lie in the city, when you see someone you know, you end up uber excited and greet them like you both just came back from different wars at the same time and WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT??? LIKE NONE???? Even if you’ve met twice, there is a ton of hugging and “OH MY GOD I CANT BELIEVE I RAN IN TO YOU HERE!” and false promises of meeting for coffee and naming your firstborn after one another. It’s all terribly dramatic but it’s just expected.
In a small town, this is so not the case. And it still feels really weird. I go to the exact same coffee shop every day to write. I see the exact same people, people I’ve had numerous conversations with and know their parents or kids or both. I see the same people every day at yoga, or at the grocery store or buying tampons.
I think in the past two days I have seen like 4 faces that I don’t recognize at least marginally.
So I’ve had to get used to not being surprised at seeing people. Because it isn’t a surprise. They live four blocks from me and are the cousin of my brothers ex girlfriend. Seeing them was bound to happen at some point that day.
So it is a constant battle to figure out the appropriate level of enthusiasm at running in to them. Some days its just a casual wave to acknowledge you’ve seen each other (like when you’re in the same aisle at the drug store and they are clearly trying to figure out what condoms to buy and you’re loading up on super absorbent tampons) or do you start a conversation. And how do you END those conversations without basically asking them to move in with you the way you do in the city? Do you just…. walk away? Or do you throw in the “well, I’ll see you at our super secret satanic ritual thing on thursday” and make the sign of the devil?
Do you ALWAYS greet people with the same level of enthusiasm or is it situational? I feel like I need some sort of guide that gives me a basic overview on social situations and how to properly interact with people so I avoid accidental ass grabs in front of churches.
And how do you advance a “casual acquaintance” in to a friendship when you realize someone is totally awesome? Because it feels sort of invasive to shout to the girl you always end up beside in pilates that you’ve noticed that she too wears a disproportionate amount of skull clothing and that you should go hang out sometime. Would it make things weird? HOW DO PEOPLE MAKE FRIENDS?
I’m at the point where I’m tempted to create a chart of friendships I’ve gained, with pictures, and action items for each so that we either decrease our association, maintain our current level or improve our friendship.