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July 22, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Fixing Your Life (Because Ours Are Written Off)

Hi,

It’s winter, and hardly anyone’s happy about that, but they keep scheduling parties and coffee dates and lectures and working weeks that mean I have to leave the house on a regular basis. Do I really have to maintain any kind of social calendar? There are so many reasons why that should simply get fucked.

Yeah,
cheers.

 

Janet:

Sometimes bad things happen, right? And you can’t do anything about it, right? Right. WRONG! Like making Lion King references to lengthen columns, the art of bailing on social events is nuanced but ultimately achievable. I don’t want to assume anything, but it sounds to me like you are an introvert with no car that is trying to avoid someone in particular. It’s like looking in a mirror.

Work is not avoidable, so I can’t help you there. It is, however, possible to navigate your social calendar so as to minimise the time you spend bored and freezing your nuts off in someone’s Aro Valley living-room, waiting outside Customs for a perpetually late friend, or wasting your day off ‘catching up’ with three different people and returning home exhausted after thrice recounting your latest romantic failure to lacklustre scones and three separate “I told you so”s.

Everyone I know seems mired in winter and having a vaguely shit time. We are all focussing on our own mental health (read: Student Health counselling services are booked out until the cows have not just come home, but made a couch fort and watched 16 consecutive episodes of 30 Rock). Someone said to me yesterday, “I haven’t seen you in ages,” to which I shot back with, “Yeah, well, I’ve not been doing much, so that’s my half of it, now explain yours.” Getting in touch with people is a two-way street (like when my mum would respond to 14-year-old-me’s angst with, “Well, are you texting them?”). Remember that for your efforts to be rebuked, you have to actually make them. Another way of putting this is, if you don’t make plans, you logically cannot piss anyone off by bailing on them.

Admittedly, a lot of the time you’re looking to bail on parties or dinners to which other people have invited you. Think carefully. You never really *have* to go to anything, but the smaller the event or the closer you are to the host, the more noticeable your absence will be. Some will tell you that a ‘bury head in sand, cunningly turn off iMessage at 4 pm, pretend phone is ‘dead’’ approach is the best. NO. Be assertive. You are also better than “maybe attending”. We all know this reads as “waiting for a better offer”, or worse, “cbf, and what’s more cbf even telling you i cbf”. Just admit that you knew all along that you’d stay in, because you are in a relationship and the prospect of hanging out low-key with someone that quite enjoys seeing you in thermal pants is one that you can’t resist. Maybe one day I’ll be able to call a spade a spade without making any digs, but it’s not today, Josh, you flake.

Best, with hearty resting bitchface,
Janet.

 

Hector:

Look, at the end of the day you should just quit your job, drop out of uni and not have any friends any more.

If you can’t do that, maybe you should realise that it’s all a balancing act. You obviously want to do some of these things and not others. We’ll take work and uni as things that can’t be avoided, and focus on socialising. When it comes to the Last Possible Moment before you have to commit to leaving, just ask yourself whether you actually want to go out, or if you would be much happier at home in bed. Don’t think about the way you *might* feel in an hour’s time; think about the moment. There are always ways to warm yourself up, either through cups of tea, more coats or the alcohol blanket. Be smart. Use them.

Don’t be that idiot who wears inappropriate clothing out and about on these wintry nights. It’s not sexy, it’s awful. If you’re a guy, you’re going to want something with long sleeves and a normal-sized collar. T-shirts on a cold night just ensure you aren’t to be taken seriously. Taking a jacket to town is a pain in the arse, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. A merino underlay is also something that no Wellingtonian should live without. I’m not so wise to women’s fashion choices, but I do know that there are people who get by without matching a beanie, scarf and puffer jacket with a short skirt and bare legs.

I have to disagree with Janet on the ‘maybe attending’ point. Unless someone has solidly asked for your RSVP, why the hell wouldn’t you leave yourself open to just not showing up? It’s better than saying ‘yes’ and turning up anyway. Facebook isn’t the concrete database of social certainty that we sometimes pretend it is. Besides, a ‘maybe’ is far, far sexier than a ‘yes’. Your mystique will pull far better than you ever could. And that’s what you really care about.

Yours in this land of ice and snow,
Hector.

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