Emdash friends


A convention of Jane Austen’s literature and others of that time is an emdash followed by the word “shire.” So in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy is visiting from “—shire,” which a librarian led me to believe is intended to be said, “Mr. Darcy was from *coughcough*-shire.” The other day a friend and I were talking about what we had done over the weekend. I told her that I’d done absolutely nothing, and she said, “Nice!” And I said, “I know, right?!” Because I belong to the Mean Girls generation.

Anyway, this got us to talking about how some people don’t understand how awesome a weekend of nothing can be. How, after being busy with work all week, sometimes all you want is to be in your home watching television you’ve already seen and never getting out of your pajamas.

Which leads to this happening:

You are going about your business, content in the knowledge that you have a weekend of nothing-doing ahead of you. Your Emdash friend approaches/calls/texts/shouts across the room at you.

Emdash friend: Hey, a bunch of us are going to [insert club/concert/bar/bowl/country name], you in?

You: I’m doing nothing this weekend.

Emdash friend: Awesome, we’re all going to meet at [person you both know]’s to [pre-drink, probably], and then—

You: No, you don’t understand. What I’m doing this weekend (dramatic pause) is nothing.

Emdash friend: … oh. Okay.

And they leave, and never invite you to anything ever again.

End scene.

You see, the problem with Emdash friends is that they don’t understand that not wanting to go out one weekend is not the same as disliking them. Even if you remove the dramatic pause. They are also the kind of people who will ask you if you’re mad at them when you’re quiet. They are work.

But they are often really fun. And because they can’t understand wanting to do nothing, they are almost always doing something. Those things aren’t always appealing, but they’re happening. And if you don’t want to miss out forever just because you didn’t want to go to the club one Friday but instead wanted to wear your onesie and work on your night cheese, you kind of have to lie to them about your nothing doing. You have to tell them that you’re doing something so that they won’t fuck with your nothing.

I don’t have any real advice for dealing with Emdash friends, except to say that you should be as vague about your plans as they will let you get away with. If you can get away with a mumble and a cough instead of a location, do that. You don’t want to have to remember this shit later on. Especially if you have a bunch of Emdash friends.

(Sidenote: not all Emdash friends do fun things and not all fun friends are Emdash friends. That’s just a silly application of the transitive property that doesn’t have any bearing on reality.)

Anyway, just wanted to remark upon this phenomenon, and attempt to introduce a term into wider usage.

What do you think? How do you deal with Emdash friends?




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