Yes, we would love you have you over for dinner and a chat! You know, whenever…
One of the major difficulties I have experienced after coming back to Southern California after my four years of going to college in Central California, was trying to survive in social group settings.
It was fantastic being told all the time that people wanted to get together, only to find that they were totally caught of guard when I decided to take them up on the offer. It tends to drive people to make up slightly more detailed, yet still wildly vague stories. They will tell you, “maybe next week sometime,” or “I’ve been busy with x-y-z, I’ll let you know when it slows down in a month or so.” That’s So Cal Speak for, I simply didn’t mean it and I refuse to be labeled a chump for outright rejecting your friendship.
I have since learned to be a bit more thick skinned about dealing with the fact that this is going to happen frequently around these parts. I have also had to learn to still try, to hope for the best, and to keep in mind that I don’t have to let it discourage me from being consistent. I also now greatly appreciate the wonderful people who don’t fit that particular description here and from out of town.
I can usually tell right away when someone is from out-of-state or up north by how they are actively listening to what I am saying and responding in a direct, declarative way. They are the kind of people who tell you they will come to your party and come. They are also the kind of people that will ask when and where, when you ask them if they would like to hangout sometime.
That is not to say I haven’t met anyone from Southern California who has been down to earth and specific with their responses about whether or not they wanted to hang out, but it’s very rare. The other side of that is learning to be ok with people who will directly tell you they wish they could, but they can’t due to completely legitimate reasons. It’s a little disappointment, but much more merciful to mean what you say and say what you mean. At least it gives the other person an opportunity to make other plans.