What's A Faux-Vitation... And How Do I Get Out Of One?

17 August 2012 by

This is me (above) pretending to like someone (also above)

NO is a strong word. I find it very hard to say. On, say, a tea round, even if I don’t want tea I still say YES. Why? Because I can’t say NO. I will instead pass over my mug to whoever has offered to go to the kitchen, then gratefully receive the tea upon his/her return, even making, on occasion, an ‘mmm’ noise. Then I will watch as it slowly chills to room temperature on my desk.

So imagine what I’m like making plans. In the last few weeks I’ve bumped into a handful of people I haven’t seen for a while. All lovely people, two girls and a boy since you’re asking, and each time the same thing happened: we made plans we have no intention of keeping. The only thing is, all three plans have fallen on this weekend. And I have no intention of seeing any of them.

Each time it happened on public transport and went something like this: Spotting one another, we both stopped on the escalators/tube/bus stop and smiled. What followed were a series of squealy noises, then some anodyne questions about each other’s respective careers and housing arrangements  before finally, almost simultaneously, we both looked at our watches (neither of us have a watch) and said: ‘got to run, I’m late for [insert imaginary person’s name here]. But before we ‘ran’, we both ended the conversation with ‘let’s get a drink sometime’.

It’s probably happened to you hasn’t it? God forbid they read this but if they do, maybe it’ll save a lot of time: the truth is, all three of these were ‘faux-vitations’.

For the uninitiated, a faux-vitation is a fake invitation made by two people neither of whom have any intention of seeing it through. It’s something you say in the moment because historically there is no other way of ending a conversation. Invariably it leads to hours of agonising or worse, a weekend wasted in someone’s company. But what I want to know is am I wrong? Or does everyone make faux-vitations? And if so, how on earth do they get out of the drink without seeming rude?

The truth is, I’m not a huge people person. I don’t like hugging, or kissing friends. If I had my way we’d all shake hands. When my best friend, Az, who lives in Bermuda, comes back home for a visit as she walks through Arrivals, we wave. That’s all. ‘Hiya’, I say, and then help her with her luggage. Az and I, we’re on the same page. With these three (and I’ll say it again) really lovely people, we’re just not on the same page. They want to hug and kiss, sometimes both, and that’s probably why we’re not great friends anymore. I’m 29, I have a pension scheme, but I am incapable of not making faux-vitations. So if anyone can help, please do. Because I really don’t want to have those three drinks this weekend.


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