Friday, August 8, 2014

What Not To Text: Friend Dating Edition

This may or may not have been me my second year in T-town.

When I moved back to my second hometown a couple of years back, I found myself in a bit of an awkward situation. While nearly all of my close friends from college had settled in Houston, most of my friends from high school had moved away after graduation and never came back.

I had a couple of good friends in town, but they were married—and let’s face it, it’s a bit harder to pull of spur-of-the-moment movie dates with a gal pal when they have a husband or kids or both. The scheduling—it’s complicated.

I decided that after my first year, and after yet another close friend moved away, I would join a local volunteer organization in order to meet some more women my age. 

Sidebar: In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, while I joined this organization to make friends, the girls I got closest to all happened to be Aggies active in the local A&M club chapter, which means I would have met them anyway, and saved myself $300 and many loooong meeting minutes.

Finding new friends after high school and college is hard. Depending on your line of work, you may be meeting fewer people your age or in the same stage of life as you, and it’s not as easy to find people with common interests, at least in my experience. So, it was with a hopeful heart and a somewhat open mind that I jumped into the friend dating pool.

On my very first project, I was sitting next to a young woman with whom I struck up a conversation. At the end of the day, she suggested that we all exchange numbers so that we could find one another the day of our event. She was also new in town and seemed eager to make some friends, and as that was the precise reason I joined the League, I acquiesced (a word which here means “agreed”) and gave her my cell although she displayed a disconcerting disregard for personal space while we were sitting together that day.

What followed was one of the most ADD conversations I’ve ever had in my life.

Jennifer:  Hey! Let me know if you could get coffee in the next few days!

Sidebar:  Note her initial suggestion.

Me: I could do tomorrow or Thursday evening!
Jennifer: What time could you meet tomorrow night?
Me: Anytime between 5 and 8
Jennifer: Would you be able to meet tonight?

Sidebar: Um…what? Okay…I guess

Me: What time?
Jennifer: Would you want to come to the gym around 5:30 today or meet after 7PM tonight?

Sidebar: The gym? No, I don’t want to meet you at the gym—what the hell?

Me: I could meet after seven
Jennifer: Sounds good! What would you like to do?

Sidebar: …get coffee?

Me: Would you like to just meet at the Utica Starbucks? That’s not too far from me—not sure if it’s by you.
Jennifer: I’m just curious—do you live in a house near Utica Square? I’m looking for a rental house, and I’m trying to figure out what part of Tulsa I want to live in.
Me: [gives answer and recommends neighborhood]
Jennifer: Thanks! Would you want to go bike riding at Riverside?

Sidebar: …

Me: [makes excuse about being sick and so avoiding exercise before attempting to get my cocker spaniel-like friend back on track]
Me: So Starbucks at seven?
Jennifer: Gotcha…do you know any non-chain coffee places? Or, would you want to go get crepes?

Sidebar: Number of proposed activities that have not involved coffee: 3

Me: [gives a couple of suggestions of non-chain coffee shops in midtown]
Jennifer: Let’s go to the Starbucks near J-------that seems more in the middle of where we lives since I live in South Tulsa J
Me: Oh I’m sorry! I didn’t realize

Sidebar: because you didn’t say anything when I said I wasn’t sure if the midtown Starbucks was near you seven texts ago.

Jennifer: No worries!

So we’re all set to meet up in a couple of hours at the chaniest of chain coffee shops. The text exchange was a little weird, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Then she sent this about forty minutes after we set our plans.

Jennifer: When’s the latest you could meet tonight? Thanks!

Sidebar: Perhaps she had a perfectly innocent reason for wanting to know just how long after sundown we could meet up and perhaps I’m simply paranoid, but to me, this was just another example of an awkward text that makes it sound like you want to murder me. At any rate, I had had enough.
Me: Actually, I just realized that I have something else that starts at 7. Rain check?
Jennifer: Gotcha…let me know another day that you can meet!

At some point I mentioned this weird exchange to another friend at a happy hour for new members. She instantly knew whom I was talking about and warned me against her, saying I would only hear from Jennifer when she a) wanted to get coffee, b) wanted me to find her a house, or c) wanted me to find her fiancé a job.

Sure enough the next time I heard from her, she sent a rapid fire, five question text block with varying questions about how I liked my neighborhood and where else would I recommend. This kicked off another weird exchange in which she once again asked to meet up for coffee, asked about a dozen questions about the plans I already had that night to which I invited her to tag along before she said she couldn’t go.

I continued to get random texts from her over the next few weeks, but it wasn’t until she texted me early on a Saturday morning about whether or not I’d heard of any job openings for her fiancé that I lost my temper.

Me: Good morning, Jennifer. I don’t recall your mentioning your fiancé’s job search to me, so this seems a little random—is he a teacher?
Jennifer (busted): I apologize…he prefers an accounting or analyst role…how’s your day going?
Me: Well, I had a late night last night, so I’m actually still in bed. As far as a job goes for your fiancé, I’m in education, so I can’t really help you. Perhaps you should try contacting a headhunter to help him find work if you’ve not been having any luck.

Jennifer’s response should come as no surprise.

Jennifer: Thanks! Also, we should get coffee soon!

We never did go on that coffee date. Or go bike riding. Or get crepes.