Are you one of those people that likes to say, “Let’s do lunch sometime” when you don’t know how else to exit a conversation? Well, unless you really mean it, I implore you, please don’t. There are a lot of people in the world (including me) that will take you at your word. And when you never get around to making that lunch date happen despite the many times I bring it up, it makes me feel shitty about me and you. Words are very powerful and if you don’t actually want to dine together, there are so many other things you can say on your way out the door that wouldn’t make me continually question whether I suck at relationships or whether you do. Rather than saying, “Let’s do lunch sometime”, how about, “Hey gotta run, much to do. Have a lovely day!” as you turn and walk out the door. You can even lie and I won’t know any different.
Look, I don’t know much about your personal life so if you tell me you’ve got to get home because you have to take care of your grandma because she’s suffering from a particularly nasty case of diverticulitis or gout or hemorrhoids or she needs her nails trimmed, I’m not going to argue with you. Or how about the truth? You can say, “I really don’t like you personally and you have really bad breath so I’d rather not see you again and I certainly don’t want to dine with you but have a nice day anyway”. No, DON’T DO THAT. It’s terribly cruel and even if that is what you’re thinking, don’t say it! And the alternative to saying something? You don’t have to say anything at all. You can just smile and wave, no explanation required. It’s that simple. But please don’t say something you really don’t mean and get my expectations up.
On the other hand, if you do want to get together for lunch, I’m all in! Just name the date, time and place and I’ll be there. You don’t even have to pick me up, I’ll just meet you! Of course, that’s unless you actually do want to spend more time together. Do you really, truly want to spend more time together?? If that’s the case, give me your address and I’ll swing by and pick you up. Oh! You’d prefer to drive? Not a problem at all. Here’s my address, I’ll see you at 11:45. Seriously, I’m game for just about anything but please don’t ask me out for sushi or Indian food. I can’t eat raw fish due to my health (I’ll explain some other time) and after seeing “Along came Polly”, I’m just too paranoid to eat any Indian cuisine. But hey, anything else? You name it! American fare, Italian, Mexican, Chinese. I’ll take a burger and fries or a hearty portion of lasagna with garlic bread and a salad or a Chimichanga and some chips and salsa or a nice combo plate with General Tso’s Chicken, some white rice, soup and an egg roll.
I’ll do you one even better. Let’s do separate checks! I’ve had enough meals when one person says, “How about I take care of this one and you can get the check next time.” It’s all well and good except that your friend likes to enjoy a fair amount of liquid courage with their meals and you usually order water along with the cheapest thing on the menu, so things tend to be a bit lopsided whenever the bill comes. Look, if we do separate checks, neither one of us will resent the other after the meal and we can still continue to be friends or co-workers or acquaintances, or whatever. The thing about each person taking a turn (at covering the bill for the entire table) is that there’s no guarantee you’ll even meet up again so that everyone’s ‘square’. There are no guarantees in life. Unfortunately, that’s something else that I’ve experienced. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth which can really spoil a nice meal.
Of course, if you actually do want to hang out sometime, there are alternatives to lunch. Covid has made us all become a bit more creative. Fortunately, the weather’s been pretty decent for the last few months so doing stuff outside has been rather nice. When the snow starts to fall, things might get a bit challenging! For the time being, we can still do stuff, you know? How about we each bring a chair and meet up at the park and visit for a while? Don’t have a chair? I’ll bring two. Oh! You do want to have lunch but your budget’s tight and eating out really isn’t an option at the moment? Easy! I’ll bring along a couple of egg salad sandwiches and share with you! Don’t like egg salad? How about PB&J or tuna? I’ve got both in my pantry. Need to stretch your legs? Let’s go for a walk or a hike. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. I’d just love to spend some time with you and get to know you better. You seem like a really great person!
Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. We all need connection, it’s what makes us human after all. But if you really don’t want to “do lunch sometime”, don’t blow smoke up my you-know-what and give me the impression that you do. Use a little imagination. A little imagination goes a long way. And if you don’t have much of an imagination, it isn’t necessary to say anything at all. Just smile and wave as you go about your merry way. I most certainly would appreciate it as well as a few other folks that tend to take people at their word. Anyway, thank you for letting me get that off my chest. Hope you have a lovely day! By the way, would YOU like to do lunch sometime?