The holidays are upon us, which means a few things here in Green Country:
- Jenks, Metro, Cascia, and Bishop Kelley high school reunions on Brookside Tuesday and Wednesday night. (actually, Brookside sucks now. I move that we change the unofficial reunion location to the Blue Dome District. All in favor say “ayyyy-ohhh”).
- Your friends home from LA telling you at least six celeb-encounter stories (while acting totally blase about it).
- Beer pong tournaments with your extended family (you know, since we’re all grown up now).
- Running into that dramatic pansy who likes to pretend you ruined his life (oh wait, maybe that’s just me).
- Acting completely surprised when bumping into acquaintances at Dickinson Starworld 20 or Lights On Utica Square Thanksgiving night (um, duh).
- The dreaded “So what have you been doing with your life?” question from well, anyone you don’t speak to on the reg.
Well, I might not be able to convince everyone in Tulsa who graduated between 2005 and 2010 to congregate at Fassler Hall. I don’t have the power to teach you beer pong skills, tell people that not smiling in pictures make them look stupid, or sneak a very large chill pill in a select few’s beverages. I’m not even fully confident I can fake excitement the next time I run into the chick from my geometry class that now has three children and no husband.
However my specialty is people skills, and for your benefit I’m going to offer up my consultation services to you–absolutely free of charge! Want to rehabilitate your image, and keep from looking like a failure/asshole/slob/pretentious prick in front of your oldest and once dearest friends? Read on fair minions.
For those of you on the success train:
You know, the lucky few that are making 50k or above right out of graduation, have a company cell phone, chauffeur, craft services, an expense account, and just made a down payment on a posh condo. It might be tempting to roll up to your old best friend’s parent’s house in your new Range Rover, fish your personal iPhone out of your Fall 2011 Balenciaga bag, and tell Siri to deliver you a vintage bottle of Dom–but for the sake of your less fortunate friends, try to refrain.
For you, it’s all about subtly touting your promising future. Show off your financial stability by buying
people in your immediate vicinity your friends a round of Patron shots. Demonstrate your cultured and refined pool of knowledge by expressing your moderate opinion on the Occupy Wall Street movement, or by reciting an anecdote from a Malcolm Gladwell book. Imply that you have an important job by noting how stressed out you are. Share crazy boss stories, but throw in a “Silly Skip, always up to his tricks” to show that you and your boss are actually on a nickname basis.
The hardest part of being successful at such a young age is keeping your face neutral when others tell you how they’ve spent their time. If your sorority sister tells you their trying to “break into party planning,” tilt your head and nod, which implies that you’re thinking “how fascinating!” If you encounter someone who still lives at home (and it’s far past the 8-month grace period), congratulate them on “all of the rent money they must be saving!!!!” If your friend is unemployed, blame it on the economy and use it as an platform to share your new political outlook.
Note: the tips above also apply to those of you in med school, law school, or grad school at an Ivy League or in a foreign country. Yep, you know who I’m talking to.
Now, just because your friends have a promising career/significant others does not mean that you’re unsuccessful per se. More or less, it means that you just need to get better at well, framing your current state.
Take me for example. I’m not a single blogger that works for her parents and watches reality tv every night. I’m a freelance writer with an interest in pop culture who’s training to be the future CEO of a successful mid-sized company, and simply “hasn’t found the right one” yet. Kim Kardashian isn’t a money-grubbing whore, she’s an enterprising television personality. Lindsay Lohan isn’t a washed-up methhead, she’s a struggling artist.
Think about your current situation, and put a creative spin on it. Taking a victory lap? Actually, you’re right on time considering your double major, minor, and plan to graduate suma cum laude. Unemployed? Nah, you’re holding out for a fulfilling job where you can “really help people.” Pregnant? Eh, actually I can’t really help you out with that one.
Another way to soften the awkward “yeah, I hate my life right now” conversation is a few strategically placed jokes. Deadpan and say that you’re a professional kitten breeder. By telling friends you’ve been dumped for being a muggle, are considering joining a convent, or have taken up extreme couponing, it will distract them from the true messy state your life may or may not be in.
Other tips for catching up over the holidays…
- Don’t talk about friends from your job no one else knows, the celebrities you’ve slept with, your boyfriend or girlfriend if they aren’t in the immediate vicinity, or your pets. In fact, if you’re one of those people who devotes photo albums to your furry friends, your human friends probably aren’t going to be down for a chat.
- Do talk about any salacious gossip you might know about. This includes (but is not limited to) engagements, pregnancies, rehab stints, or Youtube diaries.
- Don’t be the drunkest person at the gathering. We’re out (or almost out) of college now…puking and passing out has lost its charm.
- Do look nice. I know it’s somewhat chilly outside and you’d rather be watching the Wonder Years on Netflix, but if there’s ever been a time to take a shower and shave, a friend reunion is it.
- Don’t be awkward. Awkward in a Zooey Deschanel way is fine I guess (I actually f&$#ing hate her new tv show), but it’s not cool to let break ups, falling outs, or inexplicable melt downs ruin the fun for your mutual friends. Do the mature thing, and give them the stink eye all night instead.
- Do be supportive. You’re going to want to roll your eyes if your friend tells you they’re moving to Toronto to be with the girl they met on eHarmony, or that they’re taking their shot in the adult film industry. Instead, smile and nod, and make fun of them once they leave.
- Don’t let gatherings with your friends stress you out. Your friends, after all, are there to love you and accept you for who you’ve become. Plus, you’ll all need a break after the brutal guilt trips and pressure-cooker of a family gathering you’re required to attend.